Online counselling is not suitable for everyone and sometimes in-person counselling would be advisable. If you any of the following applies to you then online counselling won't be possible
Online counselling won't be suitable if you are a vulnerable adult* or you have a history of severe mental illness.
*A Vulnerable Adult is a person aged 18 or over, 'who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is, or may be unable to take care of him or herself or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation'. (Law Commission Report 1997)
Is Online Counselling Suitable for You?
Are You In Crisis or Feeling Suicidal?
Online counselling is not suitable if you have a complex mental health issue or if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
If you feel you are at crisis point or contemplating ending your life then you should contact your doctor or go to your nearest accident and emergency department as soon as possible. Alternatively you can contact the Samaritans on 08457 909090 or your local crisis service which can be found on the internet.
If you have already begun online counselling and experience crisis or become suicidal, online counselling will be suspended and I will discuss with you the appropriate support that you could access. This will possibly involve referring you to another organisation within your area, such as to your doctor's surgery, your local hospital or local crisis team or arranging to see you in person for counselling.
Are You Suffering With Psychosis / Losing Touch With Reality?
If you are suffering from a mental illness where you are psychotic or feel like you are losing touch with reality, then online counselling will not be possible. You should seek help from your doctor as soon as possible.
Psychosis is when you are having difficulty telling the difference between real life and fantasy. This condition can appear very suddenly. Examples of psychotic behaviour (there are many others) can include, cutting yourself, speaking rapidly, irritability, strange behaviour, hallucinations, feeling as though you have super powers or laughing inappropriately.
Do You Have Access to Confidential, Private Space?
If you don't have a room or space where you can access counselling in private and confidentially then online counselling will not be possible.
Counselling involves speaking about private, personal information and it is therefore essential that you work from your own private computer (not a public one at an internet cafe or library for example) in order that no-one else is able to look at the screen or hear your counselling session.
If you share a computer, and don't want anyone to know that you are accessing counselling, then you may wish to password protect your personal desktop and clear your search history once a counselling session has ended or even consider preventing others from using your computer
Are You Able To Use A Computer?
If you are new to computing or using the internet, then online counselling may not be suitable for you. It is important that the use of technology doesn't get in the way of the counselling and so a basic understanding of using the internet, the ability to download the appropriate software and using a webcam is essential. It is also essential that you have good quality broadband to support the online connection.