We offer Skype for clients locally, when travelling and for those who live at a distance.
Using Skype has some great advantages in that we can meet at a scheduled time and/or at unconventional times that work for you and our counsellors.
Skype is more than convenient. It offers the benefit of a therapeutic intervention that is relevant to the moment. You can strategically schedule a session for before or after a significant event in your week, while you are at home or out of town. We can assist you to prepare or deescalate from your identified concern, whether it be anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties or work related issues.
As is the case with face to face counselling, ethical and professional practice considerations require that we sign a confidentiality agreement that allows your counsellor to notify local health authorities if we believe that you are a risk to yourself or others.
Some benefits of utilizing Skype include:
- The session rate is less than meeting in the office.
- It can save you the drive time.
- If you are away from home from time to time, you don’t have to miss your session.
- Some people feel more comfortable working with a counsellor who is not local to them – no chance of bumping into them at the post office!
- Greater flexibility in terms of scheduling session times.
- If leaving home is an emotional or physical challenge right now, Skype can help until you are more mobile and able to meet face to face.
- Some clients may find it is easier to be open and more comfortable talking over Skype as opposed to face to face. Some research has shown that counselling via Skype can help people feel less inhibited and more forthright during their sessions.
Challenges / potential issues and cautions
- Isolation can become an issue for some when dealing with emotional difficulties. Skype can offer an opportunity for those finding it difficult to go out. However, it is important for us to discuss a timeline and the value of developing a strategic plan to conquer your fears of leaving home.
- Please ensure that you are in a confidential setting for your sessions. You must feel free to talk and be open.
- Technology can, and occasionally will fail us. We must have a back up plan, such as a telephone number to at least check in with each other to ensure that you are safe if Skype connection is interrupted.
- Skype is not appropriate for clients who are experiencing profound mental health issues and/or clients who are suicidal. If you or someone you know is in crisis, a face to face session with a crisis counsellor or local hospital will be able to help.
Technological Security (For your information)
All the same rules of confidentiality apply to on-line counselling but there is one additional element that speaks to the security of the connection.
One of Skype’s main goals is to protect you from malicious attackers eavesdropping on your communications. In addition, we want to prevent the kind of impersonation that fraudsters often use over email (for instance phishing) to trick users into giving up valuable personal information. To achieve these goals, Skype issues everyone a “digital certificate” which is used to establish and confirm both the identity of the person placing and receiving a Skype call or chat.
What is a Digital Certificate?
A digital certificate is an electronic credential that can be used to establish the identity of a Skype user, wherever that user may be located. Just like a physical identity document, such as a driving license, a digital certificate must have certain properties in order to be used as a form of identification. In particular, it must:
- Name the specific account being identified.
- Be issued by an authority that can revoke the certificate at any time.
- Be difficult to counterfeit.
- Contain the countersignature of the issuing authority, which, in this case, is Skype.
As each Skype user possesses a digital credential, it is possible for any Skype user to verify the identity of any other Skype user. This process is called authentication, the proving of each party’s identity to the other. In order to gain access to this digital certificate your Skype Name and password is confirmed. It is therefore imperative that you follow our guidelines for keeping your Skype Name and password secure.
For Skype’s complete security policy, follow this link. http://www.skype.com/en/security/#encryption