Frequently asked questions
What can I expect from counselling with you?
During our work together you can expect to increase your self-awareness e.g. in terms of your thinking and behaviour as well as impacts on you physically and emotionally and if you wish spiritually. We will explore changes you want to make which are within your control. Your goals may change during the work and I will be led by what you believe is right for you. I will support you to make those changes through helping you to use the resources within you as well as offering some techniques or insights which might help you. Work can be based in the “here and now” or looking at what you can learn from your past to help you to move forward into the future.
You offer counselling and coaching or a mix of both. How will I know which is best for me?
If you have had previous experience of counselling or coaching you may know which you would benefit from. I have trained to integrate elements of coaching within the counselling process. During our initial communication I will be able to help you to decide which approach might be best based on what you would like to achieve. If we begin with counselling and at any point I sense that coaching would be helpful then I will either integrate coaching into our counselling work or I can discuss moving to coaching with you if that is in your best interests. The same can work if we start with coaching and I sense that counselling may be helpful.
You offer Christian counselling and coaching. Do I have to be a Christian to come to you?
Absolutely not. The service is open to all of all faiths and none. There is an option to integrate Christian spirituality into our work for those who wish to include that.
Can you tell me how walk and talk counselling and coaching works?
Walk and talk sessions are a way of combining counselling or coaching with an outdoor walk. Many of my clients have they find it more motivating than sitting in a room. Research has shown that walking helps mood, improves perspective and enables greater clarity of thinking. All of these lend themselves to making outdoor counselling and coaching experiences a really effective alternative. We are fortunate to have many beautiful parks and beaches in the area where we can meet for the session. We will make arrangements for what to do if the weather turns bad or if you meet someone you know. You don’t need to be super fit or to walk fast or too far. The type of issue you have and how far you feel you can walk will be taken into account in assessing whether walk and talk is right for you.
What exactly is online counselling?
Online counselling involves communicating with me as your Counsellor over the Internet. There are many ways you can engage with me online and I would be happy to discuss what might be the best fit for you. Here are some examples:
Email – where we send each other one email or a series of emails over a pre-agreed time period. You would share your concerns and how the challenge in your life is impacting you. I will reply within an agreed time including asking questions and offering support and ideas to help you to cope as I would in a live counselling session.
Video conferencing e.g. Skype – This can include where we see each other online using Webcam or it can be audio only or it can be live chat by typing responses to each other. These are all live and for a pre-arranged time period, usually 60 minutes.
Do I need to have advanced computer skills for online counselling?
You will need to have basic skills in the kind of online counselling you are going to work with e.g. email or Skype. If you have basic skills then it should be possible for this to work for you. During our initial session I will check out what seems possible for you and if there are any difficulties I will do my best to help you, if that is possible. We can review options as we go.
What if someone sees or hears what I say in my online counselling?
I take confidentiality very seriously and will always act in your best interests. I will comply with the Data Protection Act UK for all online and hard copy records I keep of our sessions. I work within the guidance of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists to ensure high standards within my online counselling. Further information on confidentiality and record keeping is available in the counselling agreement. When we use technology including the Internet whilst external factors beyond our control mean we cannot guarantee 100% security or privacy when working online, I will work with you to try to minimise risks of breech in security as far as is reasonably possible. Here are some tips to assist in your privacy:
When having counselling online ensure that you are in a private place where you will not be interrupted or overlooked or heard. If possible do not use a computer which you share with anyone else. Do not leave passwords for your online accounts where others can see them and do not leave your accounts open when you leave the PC. It may be helpful to clear your Internet history if you do not want others to see the history of what you have viewed on your computer. I can provide guidance on how to do this if you wish.
Emails – If you select email as the form of counselling then we can exchange our emails via a free and secure email provider where emails will be encrypted which makes them more secure e.g. www.hushmail.com which is very quick and easy to sign up to. You can arrange to set up password protection for any document you wish to email to me.
Video conferencing – If you wish to work via a service like Skype there are an increasing number service providers. Some are more secure than others. I will offer you the option of using whichever Webcam service providers is most recommended at the time of our work together.
Will online or telephone counselling be as good as face to face?
There is a growing volume of evidence based research that shows that online and telephone counselling is at least as beneficial as face to face counselling. In my experience those I’ve worked with in online and telephone counselling have found it really helpful and has led to significant and lasting change. They often have more time and energy for the counselling as they haven’t had to travel. They have found it particularly helpful with issues like anxiety and shame where it can be difficult to share face to face.
If I don’t meet you in person how will I pay?
Payment is usually by means of secure Online Banking or via a branch of your bank and should be paid 48 hours ahead of our session. I will provide details of the Bank Account if we agree to an initial session. Other payment options may be possible, but may incur additional charges.
What happens if the technology doesn’t work on the day?
We will arrange to communicate another way to decide when to reschedule or whether we can continue our session via another means.
I don’t live in the UK. Can you help me?
Technology allows the potential for worldwide coverage, however there are legal and insurance requirements which prevent me offering online counselling in some countries e.g. USA and Canada. If you live outside the UK please contact me to check if I can offer online counselling to you.
How do I know if your service can help me?
If you would like to have an initial free no-obligation online or telephone conversation of up to 30 minutes to check it we are suited to working together or if you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of counselling please do not hesitate to contact me, Elaine Arthur, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on +44 7948 388266.
What if someone hears what I say or sees notes about my telephone counselling?
As with any technology external factors beyond our control mean we cannot guarantee 100% security or privacy when working by telephone, but I will work with you to try to minimise risks of breech of security as far as is reasonable possible. Here are some tips to assist in your privacy:
When having counselling by telephone ensure that you are in a private place where you will not be interrupted, overlooked or heard. Have a comfort break before the session. Find a position where you will be comfortable for an hour e.g. a suitable chair and a desk if you wish. You may want to have some paper to capture anything you want to come back to during or after the session.
For my part I take confidentiality very seriously and I will always act in your best interests. I will comply with the Data Protection Act UK for all online and hard copy records I keep of our sessions. I work within the guidance of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists to ensure high standards within my telephone counselling. Further information on confidentiality and record keeping is available in the counselling agreement.
Who pays for the phone call in telephone counselling?
The fee quoted is based on you paying for the phone call to the number I will provide at an agreed appointment time. If this is difficult for you I may be able to arrange to call you, but I will need to quote you an additional charge for that. There is the possibility that use of audio only versions of video conferencing might be cheaper than a telephone call e.g. use of the audio version of Skype without a webcam. I am happy to discuss alternatives with you.