Therapeutic Online Counsellor
Reg. Member MBACP (Accred.)
Member of ACTO
Ethics and confidentiality
I adhere to the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions and I always aim to promote safe and professional counselling. More information about professional conduct and complaints procedure can be found on the BACP website.
For online counselling I ask that we use Vsee or Zoom, both free software systems for video, voice or instant messaging that are safe to use.
Zoom (www.zoom.uswww.zoom.us) is a secure application that is fully encrypted to a high standard. and is HIPAA compliant, which is an additional protection that is required by law in the US (but not in the UK). This means that it is very difficult for a third party to hack into the communication and all stored data remains fully encrypted.
VSee (www.vsee.com) is a secure application that is fully encrypted to a high standard and is HIPAA compliant, which is an additional protection that is required by law in the US (but not in the UK). This means that it is very difficult for a third party to hack into the communication and all stored data remains fully encrypted.
There is no guarantee that online counselling is 100% safe, but provided care and consideration is used, the risk that a third party can hack in to the communication is minimal.
Original client records are kept in accordance with General Data Protection Regualation (GDPR) and BACP guidelines and are the property of the therapist. I use BacPac, a secure and encrypted online cloud system to store client details and notes. Any other paperwork related to my work is locked in a secure cabinet or password protected if in electronic format. A copy of clinicial notes can be requested in writing at any time. After five years client records are destroyed. I am also registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) adhering to the GDPR in the UK.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to do to maintain the privacy of my online exchange?
I ask that clients ensure they secure their computer and emails against unauthorised viewing by third parties. This may include adopting the use of password protection for all personal email accounts and documents etc. I also recommend that a client does not engage in online counselling using a public computer, or use a computer in a public place, where the content of exchanges could be viewed by others in the close proximity.
Is online counselling suitable for everyone?
During the course of online counselling, it may become clear that a different type of counselling, approach or type of help would be more suitable for you. In this case it would be appropriate to refer you to a different counsellor or other healthcare professional. This would be discussed with you at the time.
What happens if I have to cancel the appointment?
If you have made payment for a session but are unable to meet at the appointed time due to unexpected or other personal commitments, please let me know as soon as possible. I will do my best to find an alternative slot in the same week to accommodate you, although this might not always be possible. I reserve the right to charge for unattended or cancelled sessions wih less than 24 hour notice.
What happens if I have computer/connection problems which prevent me from keeping the appointment?
Where either party experiences a technological breakdown which prevents us meeting online or exchanging emails, we would discuss how to re-arrange the scheduled appointment. If this is not possible, you will receive a refund for the appointment.
How long will counselling last?
I would always aim to offer counselling for a duration that suits my client. I believe it is important to regularly review the work together and we will incorporate this into the work as it progresses. It can be difficult to know how many sessions are needed or wanted, but this is something we can discuss during our first meeting and in our reviews. We may agree a set number of sessions, usually up to six, followed by a review. Alternatively, a more open ended arrangement with regular reviews might be more suitable.
Do I have to pay for holidays and breaks?
If I am due to be away on holiday, I will give as much notice as possible. You will not be charged if I am unable to attend our session due to holiday or illness. If you are not available due to holidays or breaks, please give more than 24 hour notice to avoid being charged.
Can we have contact between scheduled appointments?
I am generally unable to communicate with clients outside of scheduled appointments, other than to re-schedule appointment times, to discuss payment issues, or to communicate briefly about technical issues. I will also not befriend current or previous clients on social media, and I will not respond to comments if you follow my professional Facebook page, or my twitter feed. This is to respect the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship.
How do you work?
I will provide, to the best of my ability, online counselling opportunities that endeavor to create a supportive, non-judgmental environment in which you will be given time and space to understand and gain insight into your situation. This process can foster growth and lead to positive change in your life. I will not be in a position to offer advice. There may be occasions where I ask questions about what you have written to me. This may be to seek a clearer view of your difficulty or to clarify a misunderstanding in our communication. You are free to ignore my questions and responses, or alternatively spend time between email exchanges reflecting on them.
There may also be occasions where I may misunderstand something which you have tried to convey to me. I might therefore ask if you could clarify this for me. I hope you will feel comfortable in being able to do the same if you have misunderstood anything which I have said or that you feel I have implied.
Online counselling using the written word is different to face-to-face work, as misunderstandings may occur due to a lack of facial expressions and tone of voice. We should agree to think the best of each other and then try to express how we are feeling.
©Talking It Over Counselling - Cecilie Sasu - 2016 - 2019