How do online video sessions work?

Updated: Apr 20

📷 You will need a webcam and a microphone – most laptops and smartphones come with these as standard now though.

Steps for video sessions

Set up Skype on your device – whether you’re a Windows, Mac or Android user, download or login to Skype and set up your profile. Get familiar with the platform. Feel comfortable. Skype also has a ‘test’ function to check your video, audio and microphone work properly. You may prefer to use headphones, especially if there is background noise - see what works best for you.

Set up the appointment – pick a time when you will be undisturbed and available to truly focus on the session. Ideally, be alone in the house/office or car. Contact me with your avaliability stating that you'd like Skype appointments. Read through the therapeutic contract once that is sent to you. A benefit to using headphones as well is that what I say cannot be heard by anyone else.

Sort out payment – PayPal processes this and you can add any discount code you may have received from me for concession or another reason or BACS. You will then receive an email to confirm your purchase if requested.

Get set up early – a few minutes before the appointment itself, ensure you are logged onto Skype and ready to go. This gives you one more opportunity to test your video, audio and microphone before the meeting to ensure that everything is working smoothly. Skype has a function where it can test call you to check these things.

Relax – get into an open frame of mind. Have a drink with you, tissues and a notepad is often helpful in case you wish to jot anything down. Sometimes, particularly when you first start out, video meetings can feel a little unusual and put you on edge, practising a few minutes of mindfulness and reminding yourself that the session is for you, can help.

Await the therapist– once Sophie logs on, she can activate the call and begin the session at the time it is scheduled to start.

Potential issues of video sessions

  • Whilst research shows you do not get anything less for your time with video-sessions compared with in-person sessions (read more here); microphone, sound and video issues are the most likely culprits. Ensure your settings are optimised.

  • The internet is pretty stable now, but loss of service is still a potential problem. If needs be, Sophie can always guide you via a traditional phone call via Whatsapp. To minimise issues, ensure you have any other devices connected to your wifi turned off or turn off their wifi if you are able to. Also, if you are connecting via smartphone then set it to do not disturb so that an incoming call does not cut off your connection as that can sometimes happen.

  • Whilst we can still see each other via webcam, our ability to read body language may still be a little lacking depending on how far you sit away from the camera or how good your internet connection is (speed and bandwidth).

  • Disturbances are more likely. Ensure you have a quiet place for the session, and also set your phone status to ‘do not disturb’ or silent - you will need to create your safe therapeutic space. You may also like to consider that during an in-person, face-to-face session, you can't see yourself on a screen - you have the option to make your screen pop out as small as possible so that it feels more "natural".

  • "Feel": You may wish to sit the camera back from you a little, as much as your headphones allow and is comfortable. If you think about the normal therapeutic space, we would be able to see each others torso, not just our heads. This can be another thing that helps the online experience of therapy feel similar to in-person, face-to-face sessions.

  • Security: You are responsible for your security using online mediums. Sophie uses a WiFi secured with a password and VPN and cannot be overheard or seen when in session with you as her office is safe and private. Her software has up to date virus protection. Skype is also a secured platform but Sophie is currently investigating other options to see which works best both for security, ease and user experience. Sophie's chosen email host uses double end encryption which is the safest method of email, and she is GDPR compliant and registered with ICO.

If you have any further questions or are unsure about any part of the booking process - feel free to drop me an email or telephone message and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I have been using video-counselling since 2018 and text-based since 2015.

Best regards, Sophie

Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, UK

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