Online therapy provides a viable option to meeting face-to-face, but the digital space it opens out is different to seeing a therapist in the counselling room. There is the absence of the ritual of making a journey from one’s home to the therapist’s premises, the loss of the therapist's room as a safe and stable container for the work of therapy, and the reduced sense of immediacy because the screen image takes the place of a living person.
It is the therapist's responsibility to help you to feel as comfortable as possible in that space, but you will also be expected to give some thought and care to preparing for the session yourself, as you would in real time. It is crucial that the space from which you are conferencing with me is safe, secure, and private.
You may have reservations around confidentiality, privacy and complicated or unreliable technology, or other questions about meeting in this way.
Please feel free to raise your concerns when making contact by email or phone and I will be very happy to talk them through with you.
How does online therapy work?
My therapeutic workspace is private and confidential. I use a full-size monitor.
I make use of Zoom - a secure, reliable conferencing tool, available for Windows, Mac, iOS or Android, which can be used either on a computer or a mobile phone. Unlike Skype, Zoom has no contacts list and I simply send you a link each time. Each conversation is protected by a unique password that is unavailable to anyone but yourself. When the conversation ends the password and the link expire, so there is no means of tracing your use of the service.
You do not have to have a Zoom account to have a conversation on Zoom.
A few minutes before our scheduled appointment,I will send in invitation to your email address, which includes a link, meeting id and password.
Click on the link for the Zoom meeting (highlighted in blue)
When prompted, add your designated Meeting ID and/or password.
The meeting automatically begins in Speaker View and you can see yourself and myself on the screen in front of you.
If you do not want to see yourself on the screen, right-click your video to display the menu, then choose “Hide Myself.”
If you want to download and install the Zoom Application (which is free of charge), go to Zoom's website and click on the Download button under “Zoom Client For Meetings”. This application will automatically download when you have your first zoom conversation.
When engaging via video conferencing, we both agree not to record sessions.
If our connection fails during the course of the session, we can attempt to reconnect, transfer to a telephone conversation or reschedule for a later date.
I can also use Skype, FaceTime or Teams if you would prefer.
How to make best use of online therapy
You can help yourself to make the most of online therapy by going through this checklist:
- Give yourself 10 -15 minutes before a session to relax and clear your head, so that you feel relaxed and focused (and maybe 10-15 minutes afterwards before plunging back into activity)
- Find a safe, private and peaceful place where you will not be observed, distracted or interrupted
- Give yourself time to get comfortable and open up the computer. Have a (non-alcoholic) drink, a box of tissues and whatever else you need within arm’s length
- Turn off any other devices such as your mobile phone which could distract you
- Therapeutic conversations are unlike normal interactions on your phone or screen. You should not be engaged in any other activities during the session to avoid any distraction from our conversation
- Trust the therapist to manage the timing of the session and any technical glitches which may arise.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Counselling is usually short-term (between 6 and 12 sessions) and can be very useful in developing strategies to manage problems better or to deal more effectively with an immediate crisis. Psychotherapy is longer term work (usually months rather than years), because it involves a deeper exploration of your issues, as well as a gradual process of self-knowledge, healing and growth. If you are unsure which approach would work best for you, we can discuss the number of sessions together as we go along, depending on what you want to achieve through therapy.
After making initial contact, our first appointment takes the form of an assessment, allowing you to say what has brought you to therapy and what you would like to achieve. It also allows us to see if we are happy to work together. If we do, then we would meet together weekly for a 50-minute face-to-face session. I also work on the telephone and online.
My style is friendly and relaxed. There is no couch for you to lie on and no brick wall to face, though sometimes silence has its place alongside conversation in deepening insight. I also make use of non-verbal techniques, such as artwork or inviting you to become aware of what you are feeling in your body. Many clients comment at the close of a session that the time has flown!
In common with most therapists, I have a very clear policy on missed or cancelled sessions, charging in full if a session is missed without prior notice.
Research has demonstrated that a strong, mutually supportive and satisfying relationship is one of the most significant factors in the health and well-being of partners and families. And yet most couples have difficulties with their relationships. In many cases the 'problems' they experience are essential for healthy development and greater understanding of what is happening can help to solve them.
Couple counselling offers you a space in which you and your partner can talk without arguing and discuss how you are feeling about each other and about your life together.
Typically, I begin couple counselling by asking each partner to describe what they are experiencing right now in their relationship (good and bad), then explore what each partner has in mind as a preferred scenario for the future . Each partner is challenged to work through whatever obstacles and/or levers seem to lie in their path. An important part of sounding out the conflicts which arise is to explore the legacy of previous experiences of relationship, both in the family of origin and with previous partners. If it becomes apparent that there is no shared, preferred scenario, then counselling addresses how best to forward from that point. Throughout the work, each partner is encouraged and supported in how to communicate assertively, particularly around areas of conflict.
Couple counselling sessions last for one hour and are usually between 6- 12 sessions in duration.
Among the many issues that couple counselling can address are:
- Communication problems
- Managing conflict
- Impact of our own parenting and family of origin
- Feeling distant or estranged
- Cheating and affairs
- Sex and intimacy
- The impact of sex/Internet 'addiction'
- Growing older and retirement
- Low self-image /self-confidence
- Impact of workplace stress
- Addictions or compulsive behaviours
- Cultural or religious differences
- Separation and divorce
Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity
Sexual diversity counselling provides a confidential, non-judgemental and friendly space in which in which you can feel safe and secure when discussing gender and sexual diversity.
I have worked extensively with sexual diversity clients, including five years as HIV/Gay Men's Sexual Health Counsellor at PACE and I am a Member of the Directory of Pink Therapy.
I have a particular interest in helping lgbt people to explore the role spirituality plays in their identity, especially if they have experienced a lack of understanding, whether from from organised religions or from society in general, in their quest for personal or spiritual growth.
- Sexual diversity and identity
- Coming out
- Relationships and intimacy
- Cheating and affairs
- Out of Control Sexual Behaviour
- Spiritual and religious conflicts
- Family life
- Growing older
The BACP suggests a minimum recommendation for counsellors of 1.5 hours of supervision per month, depending on the number of clients seen.
I owe a huge debt to all the supervisors I have worked with, before and after qualification and the good practice I learned from them informs the way I practice both as supervised and supervisor. I trained and qualified with a Diploma in Supervision from CCPE, London in 2003 and have worked with individual and group supervision ever since.
I offer 50 or 1.5 hour sessions of supervision, mostly using a process model, in which both the therapy session and the here-and-now experience of supervision inform your awareness of the work, as well as taking account of your theoretical model, developmental needs and training/organisational requirements. Inevitably I bring my own theoretical background and experience to bear on the work, but, as you will have gathered from this website, my approach is broadly eclectic and integrative.
I like supervision to be fun, focussed, honest and open. I really enjoy working with training or newly-qualified counsellors, as well as those who have been working for some time. I want you to accept that I do not know all the answers, though I am not afraid to ask some searching questions!
If you would like to arrange an exploratory meeting, free of charge, at which we can discuss your needs and see if we can work together, please contact me by email or by call 07939 393567.