Frequently asked questions about Online Counselling
Obviously, the online format has it’s glitches (did you like that pun?!). The Covid-19 pandemic has made it virtually impossible (I’m on a roll!) to do in-person sessions in a safe and healthy environment. Here are a few risks of online counselling, as well as, the steps that I’m taking to manage them:
- Is online counselling confidential? Sure, we are not in the same physical space and that can be awkward. I will always try my best to ensure your confidentiality as much as possible by: wearing a headset or earbuds at all times, having sessions in a closed space with a locked door and no one else present in the space, and using platforms that are encrypted for telehealth purposes. I also do not record or “screen shot” our session at any moment.
- “I don’t like to see myself on the screen”. If you want to have sessions over the telephone, that’s fine. If you want to see me but don’t want me to see you, simply turn off your camera. I won’t get offended.
- “My internet connection is unstable.” Yes, this can be a problem. If the session is being interrupted or freezing due to internet stability, I will reconnect with you. If it persists, we can continue the sessions on the telephone.
- “I’m not sure if I feel comfortable with video sessions”. That’s completely understandable! If you want to “try it out”, we can do a half session first, where we can navigate through the process and if you feel comfortable after that, we can book a full session. If, after this half session, you are still not comfortable, we can do telephone sessions or we can look for alternative counsellors/therapists that may be a better fit. No obligation or pressure at all!
- Possible benefits of online counselling: no travelling, more flexible with time, ability to wear comfortable clothing (a.k.a. pajamas!), in the comfort of your own home in your safe spaces, ability to watch interactive videos and activities. I’m sure there a lot more that I’m forgetting.
More frequently asked questions about counselling in general:
Why should I consider counselling?
Counselling is a partnership between the client and the counsellor, with a goal of exploring struggles or concerns and finding ways to manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. I am NOT a doctor and do not diagnose my clients. Rather, I listen to them, validate them, and provide different perspectives that may not have been presented to them before for the purpose of self-reflection and problem-solving.
People in my life keep telling me that I need help, but I am not sure that counselling will be helpful. Do I have to keep going to my sessions?
Counselling is completely voluntary and only helpful if the person who is receiving the service wants help. There is a lot of work involved in the counselling process, but all I ask of any potential client is to give it a try before making a final decision. Counsellors have different perspectives, styles, and ways of engaging their clients. If you attend a few sessions and then decide that it is not helpful, it is up to you if you want to continue. I take your lead.
Do I need to be diagnosed with a mental illness to seek counselling services?
Absolutely not. Counselling can help individuals who may be struggling with every day stressors or may be seeking support in developing effective coping strategies. Life can be stressful for everyone at any time and sometimes it can be beneficial to have the opportunity to problem-solve and set goals.
Is everything we talk about confidential?
Yes, with the exception to specific safety concerns shared in session. Confidentiality and limits to confidentiality will be explained to you at the beginning of service. Please keep in mind that nothing is done without your knowledge. The primary purpose of reporting is to ensure safety or to comply with court mandates.
Are services covered by OHIP?
Unfortunately, counselling services are not covered by OHIP. Counselling may be covered by your private insurance through your employment. I encourage you to check with your private insurance to check if you are covered for a Registered Social Worker. If you are, we can work with the amount that you are eligible for in order or make the most of the services available to you. Payment is due at each session, at which time you will be given a receipt with my registration number that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. For more information, refer to my Fees page.
I have tried calling and I keep getting the voicemail. But I don’t feel comfortable leaving a message. What should I do?
My voicemail is confidential and I am the only one who has access to my messages. Unfortunately, I cannot determine if you called if I don’t receive a voicemail message. Although I may have caller ID, I do not call numbers back unless I have permission from you. This is to protect your confidentiality. If you are still uncomfortable with leaving me a voicemail, you have the option of sending me an email by completing the Contact Form or email me at email@example.com.