Frequently asked questions about Online Christian Counselling
What can I expect from counselling with you?
During our work together you can expect to increase your self-awareness e.g. in terms of your thinking and behaviour as well as impacts on you physically and emotionally and if you wish spiritually. We will explore changes you want to make which are within your control. Your goals may change during the work and I will be led by what you believe is right for you. I will support you to make those changes through helping you to use the resources within you as well as offering some techniques or insights which might help you. Work can be based in the “here and now” or looking at what you can learn from your past to help you to move forward into the future.
You offer counselling and coaching or a mix of both. How will I know which is best for me?
If you have had previous experience of counselling or coaching you may know which you would benefit from. I have trained to integrate elements of coaching within the counselling process. During our initial communication I will be able to help you to decide which approach might be best based on what you would like to achieve. If we begin with counselling and at any point I sense that coaching would be helpful then I will either integrate coaching into our counselling work or I can discuss moving to coaching with you if that is in your best interests. The same can work if we start with coaching and I sense that counselling may be helpful.
You offer Christian counselling and coaching. Do I have to be a Christian to come to you?
Absolutely not. The service is open to all of all faiths and none. There is an option to integrate Christian spirituality into our work for those who wish to include that.
What exactly is online counselling?
Online counselling involves communicating with me as your Counsellor over the Internet. There are many ways you can engage with me online and I would be happy to discuss what might be the best fit for you. Here are some examples:
Email – where we send each other one email or a series of emails over a pre-agreed time period. You would share your concerns and how the challenge in your life is impacting you. I will reply within an agreed time including asking questions and offering support and ideas to help you to cope as I would in a live counselling session.
Video conferencing e.g. Vsee (which is like Skype but more secure) – This can include where we see each other online using Webcam or it can be audio only or it can be live chat by typing responses to each other. These are all live and for a pre-arranged time period, usually 60 minutes.
Do I need to have advanced computer skills for online counselling?
You will need to have basic skills in the kind of online counselling you are going to work with e.g. email or Vsee (which is like Skype but more secure). If you have basic skills then it should be possible for this to work for you. During our initial session I will check out what seems possible for you and if there are any difficulties I will do my best to help you, if that is possible. We can review options as we go.
What if someone sees or hears what I say in my online counselling?
As with any technology and use of the Internet external factors beyond our control mean we cannot guarantee 100% security or privacy when working online, but I will work with you to try to minimise risks of breech of security as far as is reasonable possible. Here are some tips to assist in your privacy:
When having counselling online ensure that you are in a private place where you will not be interrupted or overlooked or heard. Have a comfort break before the session. Find a position where you will be comfortable for an hour e.g. a suitable chair and a desk if you wish. You may want to have some paper to capture anything you want to come back to during or after the session.If possible do not use a computer which you share with anyone else. Do not leave passwords for your online accounts where others can see them and do not leave your accounts open when you leave the PC. It may be helpful to clear your Internet history if you do not want others to see the history of what you have viewed on your computer. I can provide guidance on how to do this if you wish.
For my part I take confidentiality very seriously and I will always act in your best interests. I will comply with the Data Protection Act UK for all online and hard copy records I keep of our sessions. I work within the guidance of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists to ensure high standards within my online counselling. Further information on confidentiality and record keeping is available in the counselling agreement which I will give you.
Emails – If you select email as the form of counselling then we can exchange our emails via a free and secure email provider where emails will be encrypted which makes them more secure e.g. www.hushmail.com which is very quick and easy to sign up to. You can arrange to set up password protection for any document you wish to email to me.
Video conferencing – If you wish to work via a service like Skype there are an increasing number service providers. Some are more secure than others e.g. I use VSee. I will offer you the option of using a Webcam service provider which is most recommended at the time of our work together.
Will online counselling be as good as face to face?
There is a growing volume of evidence based research that shows that online counselling is at least as beneficial as face to face counselling. In my experience those I’ve worked with in online and telephone counselling have found it really helpful and it has led to significant long term change. They often have more time and energy for the counselling as they haven’t had to travel. They have found it particularly helpful with issues like anxiety and shame, where it can be difficult to share face to face.
If I don’t meet you in person how will I pay?
Payment is usually by means of secure Online Banking and should be paid 48 hours ahead of our session. I will provide details of the Bank Account if we agree to an initial session. Other payment options may be possible, but may incur additional charges.
What happens if the technology doesn’t work on the day?
We will arrange to communicate another way to decide when to reschedule or whether we can continue our session via another means.
I don’t live in the UK. Can you help me?
Technology allows the potential for worldwide coverage, however there are legal and insurance requirements which prevent me offering online counselling in some countries e.g. USA and Canada. If you live outside the UK please contact me to check if I can offer online counselling to you.
How do I know if your service can help me?
If you would like to have an initial free no-obligation online or telephone conversation for up to 30 minutes to check it we are suited to working together or if you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of counselling please do not hesitate to contact me, Elaine Arthur, by email to email@example.com or by phone on +44 7948 388266.