Caroline Le VineOnline Counselling & Psychotherapy

Working online or on the phone

Most of us think about therapy and we imagine working together in the same room. You might assume that we can't form a close and therapeutic relationship if we never meet in person. I thought the same but I've discovered that it really is possible. Of course, it's not the same as meeting face to face but that doesn't mean it isn't as good. I'm still able to attend closely to what you're saying and experiencing as we work together. I might need to ask more questions about what's going on for you because I can't see you in the same way but this allows you the opportunity to tune in to yourself more acutely so you get to know and connect with yourself more deeply.

Working online using a webcam or on the phone has many advantages:

1. It's convenient - you don't have to travel to work with me. Not having a car or the time spare for travelling no longer stand in our way.
2. You no longer live too far away - it doesn't matter where you are in the UK or beyond, if you think I might be the right therapist for you, we can work together
3. Safety - you don't need to worry about exposure to Covid (or any other disease) and, if you struggle with social anxiety, you can remain in the comfort of your home and still access therapy.
4. Environmental concerns - if neither of us is driving in order to meet, we're reducing our impact on the planet
5. Flexibility - if you go away for work or to visit another location - maybe on holiday - we can keep our appointments going if you'd like to.

Other considerations - I am aware, though, that extra care is necessary to ensure, for example, your confidentiality. You need to be in a place that's secure, where you won't be disturbed or distracted and where you won't be overheard. If any of this might be problematic, talk to me - we might be able to come up with a workable solution between us. Some people have access to private outside space or sit in their car, for example.

You also need a strong and stable enough mobile signal/WiFi to engage with online work and, even then, sometimes there will be a technical glitch so patience is useful. Occasionally, I'll suggest that we switch to using the phone if the tech just isn't working.

Why I don't use Zoom - everyone knows how to use Zoom, right? When I made the (very quick and very reluctant) move to online working as a result of Covid, I needed something really simple to use. A therapist colleague suggested Whereby: no bells and whistles - just a straightforward secure web meeting place. It worked for me and I've stuck with it. I'm not techie and very much sign up to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" vibe. Zoom to me seems complicated by comparison so Whereby it is. (Having said all that, I do have a Zoom account as a back up, having discovered that Whereby doesn't seem to work in every country.)

If you're not sure if working online or on the phone is for you, I'm happy to explore the options with you. For some people, the phone works better, others prefer visual contact via the webcam. I'm practised in both media and you're welcome to try each one and see which you're more comfortable with. I know that I was really resistant to the idea until lockdown forced my hand. I'm a convert now, though!

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