Due to COVID-19, sessions are currently held online until further notice. Please consider the following to prepare for your online session:
Setting up your space
1. Find a quiet place where you can talk freely and won’t be overheard. If there isn’t anywhere at home like this, you might consider sitting in your parked car or going for a walk in an area where there aren’t a lot of other people, and you can maintain at least 2 metres distance from others. If you remain indoors and there are other people in nearby rooms, let them know you won’t be available during that time period and should not be interrupted. You might ask them to wear earphones and listen to music or watch a show.
2. If possible, designate one area as the place you will sit for all your therapy sessions. If possible, find a place that is different from the place you sleep or work. Even sitting in a different chair at your kitchen table than you usually do can help you differentiate work time, family time, and therapy time.
3. Make a ritual out of entering this area and creating a comfortable place for your session. Collect everything you will need and have it nearby:
- A glass of water, a cup of tea or coffee
- Blankets or pillows
- Sensory objects or fidget toys that help you to ground
4. You may want to dedicate 5 minutes to being in mindful awareness before the start of the session. This can help you take stock of where you are now, and find a focus for your therapeutic time.
5. Take another 5 minutes at the end of your session, before getting pulled back into the rest of your day, in order to slow down and process what has happened. Jot down important aspects of the session you want to remember later.
Setting up your technology
1. Check that your phone, tablet, or computer is fully charged before the session begins, or that you are comfortably plugged in.
2. Ensure your internet connection is stable. Be near your wifi router, or plug in with an old-fashioned ethernet cable, if possible. If you plan to use your mobile data, check to make sure you won’t go over your monthly data allowance.
3. Ensure that your internet connection is password protected. Do not use a public internet connection or a network that you can join without a password.
4. Close other programs on your device that use the internet as they may slow down the connection. This includes closing all other internet tabs. I also recommend taking your other devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc.) off the internet while we have our session; this can free up the bandwidth and contribute to better audio and video for us both.
5. If you are using your phone or tablet, please ensure the “do not disturb” or “silent” setting is on. You don’t want distracting notifications popping up during the session. I suggest turning off the vibration function as well.
6. If there are voice-activated speakers or other devices in the room (such as Google Home or Alexa), unplug them. If you use an iPhone or other apple product, turn Siri off on each device within earshot of your counselling session.
7. Use headphones or earbuds if you have them. You will be able to hear more clearly and this helps the experience be a little more private.
Is online counselling secure? Can my confidentiality be assured?
This is a really important question, and the answer is: we all have a responsibility to make this process secure and confidential. Please follow the guidelines above to ensure that you are doing your part to maintain confidentiality during our sessions.
On my end, I can assure you that:
- I will use a private internet connection that is password protected.
- No one else will be in earshot when I am having my session with you.
- The platform I use does not collect any data. It is also compliant with Canadian Privacy standards, meaning that it is PIPA/PIPEDA compliant.