Clent Hills Counselling offers online counselling sessions using the Zoom platform. Choosing to see a counsellor online may be easier to fit in with your lifestyle, working hours or when we are experiencing the restrictions of a Covid lockdowns.
Although some elements will be different compared to face to face counselling, the important thing is that you can create a connection and build a therapeutic relationship. Your counsellor can still help you explore how you are feeling and support you.
The advantages of online counselling and being in your own environment?
Rather than stepping into a counsellor’s room with online counselling you will be in a space that is familiar to you. This may help you feel more comfortable, relaxed and able to express yourself.
The space you choose needs to be quiet and free from being over heard. It is important that it feels confidential for you. If you are in a busy household perhaps tell people you have an important meeting for 50 minutes and can’t be disturbed. Some clients even put a sign on their doors to remind partners and children. Headphones can also help the session feel more private.
When online counselling is not suitable
Online counselling is not suitable if you are particularly unwell, feeling desperate or currently experiencing suicidal thoughts. Face to face counselling would be more beneficial. There are organisations that can offer specialist support online and some of these are listed in the contact section of this website.
In case of emergency please do contact your GP, local Accident and Emergency service or local Mental Health Crisis Team.
I use the Zoom platform for online counselling meetings and once we have agreed a day and time for our session I will email a personal link to you. At the time of your session you can click on your link and that will bring you to our meeting.
If you don’t have the Zoom app you can download this for free and it works on PC’s, laptops, tablets and phones. You will need a stable internet connection and it is worth checking this before your session.
Prior to our session I will have asked for your phone number so if there are any technical problems we can get in touch with each other and try and sort them.
If you are new to Zoom I am happy to offer a free consultation so you can test out the platform and meet me in our virtual room before we start sessions together.
Top Tips for Online Counselling
Try to place your device on a flat surface rather than holding it because the wobbling can be a bit distracting. Ensure your device is fully charged or plugged-in as video calling is battery draining. Sitting with the light, such as a window, facing you also helps. If the light is behind you, you’ll end up in darkness and I won’t be able to see you.
With Zoom you will be able to see your own image, many people find this distracting so you can change the settings to reduce your picture video size to thumbnail size. If you are unsure how to do this I can help you.
It can helpful to have the following near by; a pen and paper, your diary, a glass of water or other drink and a box of tissues can come in handy too.
Keeping Safe and Grounded
If you have any concerns about online counselling we can talk about this. It is important that the process does not cause you discomfort. After trying it you may come to realise that it is not the right thing for you, and that’s OK.
Sometimes you may find a session is emotionally difficult and it can be helpful to have something in the room that you can focus on and that makes you feel safe. Holding something comforting can help, perhaps a cushion, a smooth stone or a soft toy. Alternatively you could focus on something outside of your window such as a tree.
After a face to face counselling session you have time travelling to wherever you are going next. This gives you the opportunity to ground yourself back in the now. With online counselling you are straight back into your normal surroundings and this may feel unsettling. To help with this allow a little bit of extra time after a session to reflect and ground yourself. Something as simple as the act of making a cup of tea can help you separate the counselling session from the rest of your day. Some clients choose to go for a walk and for others relaxation breathing exercises can be useful.
Before our first session I will email you a counselling contract and assessment paperwork and ideally this will be returned before our meeting because it can help me prepare. As with face to face counselling I will ask for an emergency name and contact number, as well as GP details.
The Zoom link I email is specific to you and your booked session, and for security reasons it should not be shared with others.
I am sorry I am unable to offer telephone counselling. This is a very specific skill and if you search the BACP, Find Me A Therapist website: https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists you will be able to filter for counsellors with this training.