How It Works
Here is some more information on how the service works practically and some guidance on using the service for when it comes to preparing for and receiving a counselling call. Being able to book a call online takes away some of the stress and effort required in approaching a service or a counsellor to make an arrangement. And, being online counselling, you don’t have the bother of having to travel somewhere for your appointment, which is conveniently taken in your own home or whichever location is suitable for you. This section also contains details of my cancellation policy.
Booking a Call
If you decide to go ahead and access my service then simply click on “Book A Call”. You will be taken to a calendar that shows you my availability. You can then select the type of call you prefer (video or telephone) and choose a time and day that is convenient for you.
You will then be asked to provide a few details including your name, your date of birth, and your contact details (a telephone number to call you on and an email address).
The cost of a call is 50 Euro.
Preparing for a Call
This is about ensuring that you get the most out of your call while feeling as safe and at ease during the call as is possible. Counselling involves talking about thoughts and feelings which are often difficult and painful. It is common for clients to become upset and emotional during a call, so it is important to bear this in mind prior to taking a call. Given this can be the case, it is advisable to be prepared by having a box of tissues and a glass of water nearby for during the call itself.
As you will not be coming to my location to have the counselling, I recommend that you give it some thought as to where you have your call. Try to ensure that you have access to a space that is comfortable and private for you to talk in. It is likely to be inhibiting if you know you may be overheard or disturbed. It is worth considering the use of earphones or a headset to increase the privacy of a call and to block out background noises that may be distracting. Background noises can be easily heard on the recipient's end so try to find a quiet location in which to have the call.
Other things to consider specifically with video calls include the positioning of your computer or mobile device. Try to make sure that I will be able to clearly see your face and that the camera is at eye level. There needs to be adequate lighting in the room you are in to ensure a clear video image. Also. it is best if you do not have your back to a window or a light as this will make it hard for me to see you. If you are using your computer for the video call it is a good idea to leave your mobile phone out of reach and on silent so it doesn't become a distraction.
If it is possible, I would also suggest that you give yourself some time before and after the call so that you have some mental space to prepare and process how you are feeling. You may feel sensitive or vulnerable, particularly after a call, so giving yourself some time and space before you carry on your day is about taking care of yourself. This is also the way that I approach a call in order to ensure I have time before and after to reflect upon the counselling work with a client.
Taking a Call (Telephone Counselling)
When it comes to having your call it is me who makes the call to you on the contact number you have provided. The protocol I follow is to call you at the time that has been booked and, if I do not receive an answer, I will make two further attempts to call after a further five and ten minutes.
If I am unable to contact you I will not leave a message saying I have called, for confidentiality purposes. If you become available after my third attempt to call then simply contact me through my contact page or email provided and I will call immediately for the time remaining.
In order to ensure the call is made I have several means of calling through different service providers. This ensures the call can still go ahead even if one of my systems goes down or stops working. No calls are recorded.
In the event of not being able to connect, or not being able to re-connect after connection has failed, I will send an email confirming this and either offer or invite you to book another appointment.
The length of the call is 50 minutes unless you decide to end the call earlier.
Taking a Call (Video Counselling)
Video calls are made through Zoom, which is an encrypted secure video conferencing platform, and which is used by many online therapists. More information can be found on the website, www.zoom.us, and the software is free to use. You can set up an account with Zoom prior to your first video counselling call if you wish, but this is not a requirement, as you can download the software required to attend a meeting from a link I send in an email prior to the call. Zoom can also be used on mobile phones and tablets by downloading the app from the App Store. Whatever device you choose to use, it must have a webcam, microphone and speakers for the video call to work. Zoom recommends a broadband (wired or wireless) Internet connection with a minimum bandwidth speed of 600kbps (up/down speed).
On the evening before your appointment I will send you an email with a link to join the Zoom meeting. Prior to the start of the appointment, simply click on the link for the meeting. If you don't already have it set up and you are taking a call for the first time, Zoom will automatically open up and start downloading the software required for it to run, which will appear in your browser (if this does not happen automatically, click on the link saying “download and run Zoom”). Open the download and the software will automatically install. It will then ask you to enter your name, as you want it to appear in the meeting, and then you can click on “Join Meeting”. Click on the link “Join with Video”, which will take you into the meeting room, and then click on “Join with Computer Audio”, which will enable you to be heard. The microphone and camera icons in the bottom left of the screen will inform you both are working. To check these on a mobile phone or tablet, tap your device, then tap the icon if it needs changing.
Once you join the meeting, you will be taken into a virtual waiting room until the time of the video call is due to start. Zoom will tell me that you are waiting and I will start the meeting at the agreed appointment time, from when we will both be able to see and talk to each other. If you are running late I will have the meeting room available for the full 50 minutes for you to enter at any time. I will send you an invitation link by email for every new video counselling call you book. This ensures that the space remains secure and confidential, and is never available to any other client.
Video calls require a stable Internet connection to work effectively. Even with this, calls can be interrupted by signal dropouts or power cuts. If we lose connection during a video call then you will need to go back to the link in my email and click on this again. This should take you back into Zoom and the meeting room automatically. If not, then click on “click here to launch the meeting” on the Zoom page. I will have the meeting room available as soon as I can to restart the video call. If we are unable to restore connection within ten minutes, or I have lost my Internet connection, I will call on the telephone number provided when you booked the call. We may also have to resort to a telephone call if the connection is not strong enough to provide good enough quality on the video call.
Please note, recording of video calls through Zoom is not permitted. Any recording of calls or taking screen shots during the call without prior consent will be deemed to be in breach of Confidentiality and Data Protection recommendations.
The length of the call is 50 minutes unless you decide to end the call earlier.
If you are unable to make a counselling call that you have booked I would appreciate being informed by email as soon as possible. Unfortunately, cancellation of appointments with less than 24 hours notice will incur the full fee, unless the cancellation is due to an emergency or other exceptional circumstances. This is so the appointment can be made available for another booking.
When you cancel with 24 hours notice there is the option to re-arrange the counselling call or to receive a full refund if you have changed your mind about having counselling. If you wish to re-arrange then it would be useful to let me know your availability in your e-mail, and I will look to match it with available appointments in my calendar.
Alternatively, it is possible to cancel or reschedule a counselling call directly through my booking system without contacting me. On the confirmatory email you receive on booking a counselling call there is a link that enables you to cancel or reschedule an appointment. This is a much quicker and convenient way to manage your appointments yourself.
If I have to cancel the counselling call myself due to unforeseen circumstances I will provide as much notice as possible by email and I will endeavour to re-arrange the session with you as soon as it is possible to do so.