Online counselling

I offer the option of face-to-face or online counselling. All counselling is conducted Tuesdays to Sundays, from midday and finishing at 9pm.

As a PACFA registered Counsellor, my practice is grounded within the PACFA Ethical Framework. Online counselling requires specific practices and takes some preparation by the client for client safety.

For many people, online counselling fits in with their busy lifestyle and is a useful way to receive support for a variety of problems and issues.

It is important to note that this form of counselling is not for everyone. It is not exactly the same as face-to-face counselling or therapy. It is not suitable if you are already working face-to-face with another counsellor or therapist. This service is not a crisis service so cannot be used without at least a 2 day lead up to the appointment. If you live outside Australia, particular laws may apply in your country regarding receiving counselling services. For example, in the USA counsellors must be licensed separately with each state.

Online therapy is not intended for individuals with severe and enduring mental health difficulties or for those who are actively suicidal. It is also not for individuals who are in crisis, or who need an immediate appointment. If you feel you are in danger of harming yourself click here for emergency support contact details

If you are under 18 years of age and based in South Australia, Online Counselling is available via this service.

Advantages of online counselling

You may find that you are able to speak more freely about sensitive or embarrassing issues. You can engage in counselling in the comfort of your own home or in a location where you have access to a computer and are able to ensure your privacy. It is easily accessible, especially for those who cannot, or choose not to leave their home to seek counselling. It also opens up your choice if you live in an area where there aren’t counsellors readily available. In Australia, distance and lack of availability of counselling in rural areas make online counselling a useful option.

Online counselling can offer you several options:

There are three types of Online counselling:

  • Email counselling
  • Secure live Sessions using encrypted chat facilities (IM – instant messaging)
  • Voice, (audio only) or voice and webcam using the video link platform Zoom, Skype, etc.

My service only offers video link sessions with or without video (audio only), however, all of these mediums can be beneficial for counselling exchanges and other online counsellors do offer the email and chat (IM) services.

Important points to note about confidentiality and privacy

The counsellor-client relationship is one that should remain private. This means that your name, other personal information or issues discussed during the counselling session cannot be shared with other people without your consent. By law, however, there is certain information shared during the counselling session that the counsellor cannot keep confidential. This includes information regarding harming yourself or making serious threats against other people.  As well, information regarding child abuse issues cannot be kept confidential. The client, then, has the power to decide what information they will share with the counsellor. The client is aware that certain information will not be kept confidential. The client needs to be aware that there are limitations to the security of any activity in the online environment. However, the counsellor will use best endeavours to make the online environment as secure as possible. The client and I are strictly forbidden to record their online sessions without consent from both parties and the guaranteed security of the recording is clear.

The Skype and Zoom sessions are encrypted for your security.

Supervision

I engage in supervision, seeking the wisdom of more senior counsellors to help me deliver better value for my clients. In the course of supervision, I may bring up your case. In all such instances, your identity is kept hidden.

What equipment would I need to be able to do online counselling?

You will need a fully charged or plugged in computer, or another device (iPad, tablet or smart phone) with Internet access for online counselling. It is helpful to have NBN, or a fairly fast connection, such as cable. You will also need to be in a private space when in a session with me. Your device will need a camera, or a webcam.

What you need to prepare for your session

The online space is different to face to face counselling in that you are not meeting at my office or rooms. You will need to have a few things prepared before you have your counselling session:

  1. Have filled in the intake questionnaire and the counselling contract (this will be emailed to you once you have made your first booking)
  2. Have returned the forms via email to me
  3. Have paid the agreed counselling fee (this is handled when making the booking)
  4. Have access to a device (phone, tablet, computer) which has good internet connectivity and reliability. If using WIFI make sure it is secure––cafes and businesses offering free wifi are usually not secure. Using mobile data such as 3G, 4G or 5G is not always secure on your phone.
  5. Are aware that you may have good connectivity with your internet connection during daytime hours, but once evening comes and children, housemates, family, etc., all hop on Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, etc., connectivity can be impacted
  6. Your device must be plugged into power, or fully charged
  7. The device you use must have a camera, or a webcam
  8. Have tested your audio before the session so you know your mic is working
  9. Clean the camera lens so it is clear
  10. Have your headphones or ear buds ready to use so others cannot overhear what I am saying to you. This also creates a much clearer and consistent audio for me. I spend less of my time asking you to repeat yourself
  11. Have a private space which is well lit and where you can guarantee that you will not be disturbed. This cannot be in a public area, such as a café or park, (wind noise can interfere with clear audio if you are outside)
  12. Have created a full hour for the session, so make sure you have put that time aside.
  13. Have asked a family member or a friend to be available if you need further support at any time (you will have nominated a support person on your intake questionnaire form)
  14. Have arranged with your housemates or family to be undisturbed during the session
  15. You yourself are prepared to commit to the success of the session by ensuring that no distractions are present wherever possible (e.g. no watching television, or watching YouTube videos or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram while the session is on).

How the counselling session starts

You will be sent a Zoom link via an email. You just need to click on the link at the time of your appointment, then click on the button ‘open link’. You will then be taken into a ‘virtual waiting room’. When the counsellor is ready you will be ‘admitted’ to the session and your video and audio will automatically be on. At the end of the session, you can leave the session yourself or the counsellor will end the ‘Zoom meeting/session’ and the Zoom platform will close on your device.

I will finish the session at the scheduled end time, regardless of the client’s lateness, as other clients also have scheduled appointments after yours.

Technical assistance

If you are not 100% confident with technology, I strongly suggest engaging with a technology specialist as soon as possible to get your equipment set up. I recommend Richard Pascoe, the Adelaide Tech Guy. His website is at https://adelaidetechguy.com.au/, tel: 0419 829 145. Money invested in having Richard set up your equipment will more than pay for lost session fees due to technical difficulties at your end, for which there is no reimbursement.  

Can I contact you between my appointments?

I encourage my clients to discuss all therapeutic issues during their online consultations. I don’t offer to counsel via email or chat/text, therefore I cannot respond to emails asking for advice. Email may be used for admin purposes such as adjusting or making appointments.

What documentation can I provide?

This service specialises in counselling and is not authorised to provide any letters or reports, as they are often used for legal or Centrelink purposes.

If you require supporting letters or reports for court / Centrelink / WorkCover / disability support / work / sick leave / university / etc., then please arrange to see a therapist who does such work in person.

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