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Things to consider before starting online counselling

Initial assessment and data privacy issues.

Before we can offer online counselling, we have to make an initial assessment about your suitability for online work where emergency support may not be as readily available.  We will do this free of charge during an initial 15 minute online video chat.  This is also a great opportunity for you to get a first impression of your therapist and decide it you too are happy to continue.  Whilst the video conferencing software is pretty straight forward, you can also use this free chat as an opportunity to get used to it and raise any questions (technical or otherwise).  

 

In our initial assessment we are looking to see if you have sufficient emotional support and resources in place for working remotely from your therapist.  Also we will ask about your historical mental health and current psychological state.  This is for your safety and wellbeing.  For example, online therapy is not recommended if you are actively suicidal, in a crisis or other imminent danger.   If we don't believe that online therapy is a good choice for you at this time, we will do our best to help you find an alternative service. 
(If you are currently in a state of  acute crisis or immediate danger please click the red "SOS" button in the title bar above for some crisis support advice. Alternatively  click here). 

Also, it is important that you understand and agree to the specific confidentiality and data privacy aspects of online work.  To explain these we have made an Online Counselling Privacy Notice which is a supplement to our main Privacy Policy document.  Both of these documents along with our Business Contract will be emailed to you before your initial online session when we will explain them to you. 

You will need to give your written approval by replying to our email after we have explained the documents to you.  This is known as giving your 'informed consent'. 

 

This may sound complicated but we will guide you through all of it and also explain it in an email after our 15 minute free chat.  Please be assured that this procedure is a necessary requirement for ethical online counselling.  If other counselling services offer online work without following a similar procedure they may not be meeting their ethical obligations.  Your safety, well-being and confidentiality are always our main concern. 

Online security considerations:

When considering online counselling you should know that complete security does not exist in the digital world.  Both the therapist and client have a responsibility to secure their own hardware from electronic intrusion by having up-to-date firewall & anti-virus software and protected Wi-Fi connections.  Other practical precautions include ensuring physical privacy during the session, e.g. not being overheard, shutting down the software afterwards and using password protection.  

Click here for general online safety tips from Microsoft.

Further details are provided in our Online Counselling Privacy Notice which will be emailed to you and explained before online counselling work starts.

We are always happy to answer any questions you may have so

please don't hesitate to get In touch

 

©2019 by mindfulsteps counselling & psychotherapy