COVID-19 and Remote Sessions Online and Telephone Counselling Online Counselling Working Together with Online Video This page summarises the main areas that we need to pay attention to before, during and after online sessions. The creation of a confidential space is especially important when we work online because we are in different locations with different challenges. Before your Session: Equipment You will need one of the following devices for the call, most of which have built-in cameras, though you may prefer a separate camera that sits on top of a desktop screen or laptop: • A desktop or laptop • A tablet or iPad • A smartphone – not ideal but a pragmatic compromise It can be helpful to use a personal headphone and microphone like the ones that you use with your phone. They are often known as ‘Skype headsets’. Getting started with the software At Wellspring counselling we use Zoom because the data being transferred between us is encrypted and, therefore, more secure. Zoom is free to download and very easy to install and setup. You can follow the instructions for setting up Zoom at their website at https://zoom.us Preparing your space It’s important that you are able to speak freely and confidentially so please ensure that you have: • A quiet space where you will not be disturbed o Unplug the landline o Ignore the door bell • You may need to negotiate time with people with whom you share your space • Position your computer on a steady surface, e.g. table or a tablet/iPad stand • It is preferable to be close to your wireless router (e.g. in the same room) rather than several rooms away. And for your comfort: • A place where you can sit comfortably • A glass of water • Tissues • Your diary for arranging our next appointment. During Your Session Receiving or Making the Call We will have agreed an appointment date and time, which is likely to be the same as your regular session at Wellspring. Be ready and ‘online’ with Zoom at your appointment time, when your counsellor will call you. On the first occasion they will send you a link inviting you to join the meeting. Pacing Even though you know each other, online sessions offer a different experience from meeting face-to-face. One of the main differences that you need to work with is the speed of the connection and how this affects the conversation. It is helpful to remember to take a breath and slow down. Dealing with problems Things can and do go wrong with broadband signals. If you get cut off for any reason then your counsellor will wait for two minutes and then try to connect again with Zoom. If the problem persists then your therapist will suggest a way going forward, which may be reverting to using a phone. All existing arrangements for confidentiality (risk of harm, supervision, record keeping, etc.), donations, cancellation policy and professional ethics still apply when working online.