During the Covid-19 pandemic, I have made the decision to pause face-to-face counselling. This is to ensure our physical safety, as well as to maintain a regular, consistent space for your therapy, minimising the need for breaks due to self-isolation or further lockdowns. During this time, I am able to offer both online and telephone counselling. I am a certified online and telephone counsellor and have the skills, training and experience to foster an effective therapeutic relationship both online and by telephone.
Zoom is a way for you to see me face-to-face from your computer or phone whilst engaging in therapy. I can guide you through setting up your own encrypted Zoom account and will send details for your appointment at the time we have arranged. You will enter a ‘waiting room’, where I can then welcome you in. This gives you the autonomy of choosing to attend a session. One of the benefits of online counselling over telephone counselling is that we will be able to see each other’s nonverbal communications.
This is similar to online counselling, but without the visual aspects. You may want to consider whether you would like to call me, or for me to call you. There are both advantages and disadvantages to not being able to see each other. Telephone counselling provides you with a level of anonymity and there will be no fear of accidentally meeting each other outside of our sessions. This may help you to be more open during our work. Nonverbal communication will be more difficult to interpret and we will both need to be mindful that it may take a little while to attune to one another.
For both online or telephone counselling you will need a private space where you will not be overheard. It is important for you to feel that you are safe and able to speak freely. Online and telephone counselling can have significant advantages over the more traditional face-to-face therapy – there will be more flexibility to find a regular time that suits you when you do not need to travel to my office. There is a level of privacy afforded by working online or by phone: no one will see you coming to my practice. You have the choice of how we communicate - either by Zoom or phone. Of course, if we find that something isn’t working, we can always look at finding a different approach.
It is also important to be aware of some other factors that may affect the therapy, or your feelings towards it. How comfortable are you with using technology? How will it feel not seeing me face-to-face? Might you feel hesitant to share thoughts and feelings with someone you can’t see, or could there be a temptation to overshare? We will have the opportunity to talk about all of these things and work out the best way forward for you.
There will come a time when working face-to-face will be possible. I will continue to monitor this and act in accordance with government Covid-19 guidelines. We can discuss whether meeting face-to-face is right for you, or if you would prefer for your sessions to remain online/telephone. My office is in Downside, near Cobham in Surrey. It is a comfortable space, with off-road parking, and affords a great amount of privacy.