Online and telephone therapy FAQ
I most frequently see people on a face-to-face basis however some people may prefer online or telephone consultation which I am happy to provide even once social distancing guidelines relax. In these trying times of social distance and isolation we may find that we need the support more than ever, but how good really is a therapy session under those conditions? Well, there’s actually a growing evidence base demonstrating that, not only do online treatments work well but they are also generally more accessible, save time on travelling, and can help to reduce the sense of stigma we feel walking into a therapy room.
Can online therapy help with anxiety and depression during the current pandemic?
Yes! All the key ingredients of a face to face session can be replicated with an online or telephone therapy session. Many sources such as the British Psychological Society and the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma (OxCADAT) have already developed guidance for therapists adapting therapy for a wide range of difficulties including depression, anxiety, social anxiety, trauma and more. There might be different challenges associated with sharing a virtual therapy space – we might miss out on some of those non-verbal messages we can pick upon in-person, we might find it more difficult to express certain thoughts or ideas without an in person demonstration or by putting pen to paper together in session. I am confident that with openness, compassion, and a dash of creativity we can adapt to overcome any challenges we might face, just like we would in an in-person session.
Which online or telephone therapy works best?
Which therapy will work best for you will depend on your needs. I am trained in both counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy, so it might be that we go for one, or the other, or a combination of the two. For more information on the similarities and differences between counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy please see my therapy page.
How should I prepare for a telephone or online therapy session?
The first step to a good distance-based therapy session is to establish your set up, for telephone appointments this could be as simple as a good phone connection, a cup of tea, and somewhere comfy and quiet to sit. A video call can take a little more planning. To get you started, I’d recommend finding a comfortable, well-lit, private place, and setting up your equipment so that I can see and hear you clearly. This could include your laptop or PC with a webcam and microphone, or maybe your phone and headphones, and it might be a good idea to test it out first e.g. by calling a friend or family member if you have one available. For a video call you will also need access to Skype, as this is the platform I use for my online sessions. Here’s Skype Support for guidance on how to get started: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA11098/how-do-i-get-started-with-skype
You might find it helpful to talk through any concerns you might have over the phone before our first session - particularly if you have any learning requirements, problems accessing or using technology, or other barriers like having noisy kids running around!
Will my insurer cover online or telephone therapy sessions?
Currently the majority of insurers that I work with cover online and telephone therapy sessions exactly the same way as they would a face-to-face appointments. I would recommend discussing this with your insurance provider if you’re unsure.