Online therapy provides an opportunity to access therapy without having to travel, sometimes it may help you to ease into therapy, it may also provide you with a wider choice of therapy due to location or specific experience required. There are 3 forms of online therapy which I will introduce below;
Therapy is started with one email from yourself which may become an electronic letter describing your thoughts and concerns, this often leads into opening up expressing your thoughts and feelings. The therapist then reads, reflects and takes time to construct a therapeutic response. This response is likely to contain a few questions to check understanding, as well as prompt further thought.
A secure email account with end-to-end encryption such as Protonmail is recommended for this form of therapy. Encryption means the content of the email is automatically turned into a code which protects privacy before it is received and read by the recipient.
Instant Messenger (IM)
Similar to a text message instant messenger allows two people to type a conversation from different locations, this is held in real time just like talking on the phone. During a set-appointment of usually 50 minutes you are invited to ‘chat’ your concerns with the therapist, as with email therapy the therapist will respond empathically, checking understanding, clarifying, reflecting and challenging when appropriate. It may be useful to think of this as a text-message conversation, or an instant email.
Many IM systems exist however in order to protect privacy during counselling it is recommended to use a medical grade secure software such as VSee or Zoom, both of which can be set up without any cost.
Webcam (Zoom, VSee or Skype)
You may already have heard of Skype however in order to protect and maintain privacy during therapy, systems using end-to-end encryption such as VSee or Zoom are recommended. Sometimes Skype is still the preferred option, in which case limitations to privacy must be accepted.