Since the start of Covid 19, many counsellors have transferred to online or telephone consultations. Whilst some are slowly going back to seeing clients face to face, it would certainly seem that remote therapy is here to stay and might well play a bigger role in the future. Local counsellor Laura Sollis suggests some questions to ask when considering remote counselling.
Is your counsellor properly trained?
Counsellors who offer online and telephone counselling have to consider different things when working remotely, including client safety. The British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists recommend a minimum of eighty hours of training for a counsellor to work this way. Managing client safety and understanding how different the work can be is paramount.Many counsellors, like myself, who are trained in this way of working are familiar with online safety and the importance of having up-to-date security and can advise clients on their cybersecurity and end-to-end encryption software.
How comfortable are you with your mobile phone, tablet or PC?
Let's be honest, not all of us have techy brains. I can certainly remember a time where every time I touched a computer something would go wrong, it was like the thing hated me!
A counsellor should be familiar enough with the software to be able to support you to get to the sessions.
Also, as online counsellors we have to consider cybersecurity. So is your anti-virus software up to date? Do you have the bandwidth available with your internet provider to allow webcam counselling?
If at any point there are disconnection or signal issues, then the counsellor should have put a procedure in place for when this happens.
Do you have somewhere private in your home?
Unlike face-to-face counselling, where we have a private room, you need to be able to find somewhere you can talk freely that is comfortable for you. The safety and confidentiality of my clients are so important, so having a private space for an hour is essential.
How do you feel about what you are bringing to counselling?
The reasons people come to counselling are varied and you may feel that what brings you to counselling is just not appropriate for online or telephone work, and that's OK.
Online and telephone counselling are not suitable for everything. For example, those that have thoughts of suicide, addictions or disordered eating. However, some organisations can offer a more appropriate service with a wide range of support more suitable for your needs.
Where in the world are you?
You have to consider where you live. For example, if you have moved to Spain and would like to contact a counsellor back here in the UK that may be an issue. Counsellors who work remotely will be aware of jurisdiction issues and can talk this through with you. The counsellor will need to be familiar with the laws and qualifications needed for the country you are in.
How would you feel not seeing the person you are talking to?
It may feel a little challenging for some people, especially with telephone counselling, to not be able to see their therapist. There's no body language, so this may cause some to feel disconnected, although many others find a sense of freedom and find it easier to express how they are feeling. So this is a personal choice.
These are all important things to consider when looking for a counsellor to work with you remotely. Don't be afraid to ask them if they can help you with software to get you to the session or if they have a disconnection procedure. We are all happy to answer any questions you may have, and to make counselling a positive accessible experience for everyone.
Now let's take a look at when remote counselling can be really useful.
No need to travel
You can avoid the stress (and cost) of traffic and finding a parking place.
Being in your own space
There’s something comfortable and safe about snuggling up in your favourite chair, with a blanket and a cuppa whilst having therapy. Especially if you experience social anxiety, this allows you to access therapy whilst feeling secure. Also, many people love being able to have the support of their pets with them and, as long as they are not running amok, I find it can really help.
More suitable for the disabled
If you have an illness or disability then this may be for you. Mobility issues and fatigue can affect many people with certain health conditions and remote counselling will allow you to access therapy in a familiar comfortable space where you have an environment that suits your needs and, should you need it, your carer can be nearby.
Ideal for those with a busy lifestyle
Have you considered therapy but just don't seem to have the time?
Many counsellors, like myself, offer evening online or telephone appointments and, with not having to drive and find a parking space, it’s a better alternative.
Accessible for carers
As well as being convenient for people who are poorly, this type of counselling can be more accessible for their carers as well. Carers have very busy lives and a huge responsibility, so this enables them to access this type of service.
Considering counselling, but you’re not sure?
Email, phone or text me and we can arrange a time to have a chat and discuss your needs. Visit my website for contact details at
If you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself, it's important that you talk to someone. The Samaritans are available all day, every day. alternatively phone 116 123 All calls are free.