When there is a limited opportunity to see someone, I consider Skype therapy as a possibility. A person can be housebound, have difficult weather, limited travel, live somewhere remote or even in a different country/timezone.
Update: Currently the Coronavirus pandemic is changing therapy options.
Please note this article was written a considerable time ago and technology constantly changes. It is my belief that Zoom is more confidential than Skype and so I currently offer ZOOM. I also offer secure email counselling using Hushmail.
Help with the technology is given before the sessions start. The rest of this article is the old article which is still valid, its just Zoom instead of Skype.
I will say from the outset that my preferred method of therapy is face to face, however, I realise that occasionally this may not be possible. This is when I look at the possibility of using Skype/voice/video/text. My skype email account is Paul@simplyemotion.com You can arrange a Skype/Zoom Therapy appointment with me using my contact page.
Pros & Cons of Skype Therapy
For someone who would like to meet the therapist before the first appointment, an online connection can be helpful. I can quickly get to talk with you about your requirements and can carry out an online assessment with you.
Prior to the first call, Information about online work, the therapy contract, and confidentiality forms can be seen online. This way of working allows you to fit the call into your day. You do not have to travel.
Online therapy is very different to face to face therapy, so some management of the experience is needed. Firstly, I can not be responsible for confidentiality at your end of the call, in your environment. My end of the call I am using a securely encrypted laptop and any stored data on my laptop is destroyed following the call.
You would need to be mindful of confidentiality at your end of the call, what data could be left on your device, who may have access to your device and its contents, is your connection private? Additionally, you need to consider where and when you make the call. Are you likely to be disturbed during the call and if there is a chance of disconnection?
Past Knowledge and Experience
I have studied online therapy issues within university studies. I have also had a lot of experience of text-based help in graphical platforms. There are interesting phenomena that occur in online text therapy and video link, some can be helpful, some not.
I have found people disclose more when they are not seen, text-based/graphical platforms. This has been confirmed in many pieces of research.
There are lots of other issues that can occur using online platforms, disconnections, equipment failure, low batteries etc. It is my experience that more boundaries are required, together with an understanding of how to proceed in certain situations. All of this is vitally important to working with you effectively and safely online.
Aside: Online Psychology Experience
Before becoming a fully qualified therapist, I worked with online platforms for 9 years. I originally came from a very technical background. One of the earliest platforms for me was ICQ and IRC. I was linking graphical platforms around 1999, early internet. My first pioneering adventure in using graphical and text platforms was over a 56k modem, very slow in those days. I became aware of the online possibilities over 18 years ago, some of my early encounters were with distressed people online who needed to talk.
How do I feel about this now? Online work has a place where there is a gap, where a person is struggling to make contact. Other problems develop where physically attending therapy becomes a problem.
Things changed considerably for me when I was given a University Psychology assignment investigating the use of virtual environments online. Looking at social interactive distances, ethical practice and image related issues.
I soon became interested in unconscious expression through object placement in virtual graphical environments. The problem with this type of work is that graphical virtual environments are difficult to learn. Starting therapy in such an environment would be a steep learning curve and not practical for the average online user. Some online environments are complex and can have many benefits.
This is very different to Skype Therapy, Skype is a platform that many people have experience of and is easy to use.
My online experiences without a doubt are one of the reasons I took interest in people experiencing video game addiction, social media addiction, and online identity issues.