There are so many things to think about that I have pulled all these here into an Information Sheet. I am so sorry it is so long, but the best is to scan it and pick out what seems important to you now, and return this page later when it makes a little more sense. I would ask you to read this page before completing your Client Agreement. I suggest you print this page out or book mark it so you can find it easily.
The security of your information is most important and I take all reasonable steps to ensure that we protect your confidentiality. We have a secure and confidential online platform that you will be able to access once you have signed up for counselling and psychotherapy with me. This complies with the requirements of the Information Commissioner's Office which is important for the protection of your privacy.
How do I work online:
Via the UK Counselling Online Clinic you can choose how you work, and you can change as often as you want. In all cases I'll send you instructions about the online clinic, and the link to it, before we start. You won't need to download any software.
The three ways that you can receive your help are as follows:
Once I know how would you prefer to work I can answer any other queries you have about working online through our Online Clinic.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Equally it's important for you to ensure the privacy of your sessions, and ensure there is no one coming in and out of the room during your sessions, or if you are using email, that you protect these especially if someone is sharing the computer with you.
To reassure you, my computers is password protected and not used by anyone else. To help you work out the best way for you to ensure your privacy I have a document on helping you protect your computer - if you'd like it please just ask me to send it to you.
The first thing we need to do is to make an agreement about how we are going to work together. I will send you this once we have agreed how we are going to work together. You'll need to complete this and email back to me at info@UKCounsellingOnline.net.
By completing the form, signing (by typing your name) and dating it you confirm that you agree to the Terms and Conditions within the FAQs (you may heard this called Informed Consent elsewhere), The FAQs set out everything you need to know before we start out on the counselling. If there is anything you think is missing, or you are unsure of, please do ask.
Number of sessions and availability
I'll need to have some information about you so that I can be sure that I am the right person to work with you. Usually you will have given me enough information in your first mail or the Client Agreement, but sometimes I might ask you for more before we commit to the counselling process.
Usually I would suggest that we start with an initial session, and if you are happy with the session then I usually suggest booking 4 sessions. We can extend this later on, if we need to.
For emails, I usually work in weeks that start on Friday. If you write me an email during the week, I will acknowledge your email, and will reply to you by the next Thursday. I suggest that you write around 500 words, or work on your email for around 50 minutes, and I will work on your email and write for around 50 minutes. It would be useful if you would also acknowledge my emails when they arrive. That way we will both know the technology is working.
When we start our email counselling I will number each of the emails “TE: 1” etc, TE being short for Therapeutic Email. There will be no other content - just the password protected Word document attached.
If we are going to work via video-conferencing (you’ll need a webcam and microphone for this) or chat, we will make appointments for 50 minute sessions. Providing you give me48 hours I am happy for you to reschedule these, even if you have paid for them up front.
Confidentiality and keeping your information safe
I would ask that you do not share information about your sessions that is private between you and me, your counsellor.
Equally I would ask that you do not use social media to discuss anything from the sessions or post anything on my social media sites .
As a rule the content of our work together is confidential between you and me, your counsellor. There are a few exceptions to this.
In most cases I would try to notify you of this first, although there are occasionally legal reasons why this might not be possible.
It may be that you need some support before we can start working together, and if you feel you need urgent help and are in crisis now please contact either www.befrienders.org or www.samaritans.org. I also have a resources page on this website with some specific links giving online support which you might find useful.
What happens if something goes wrong with our practical arrangements or the technology?
In the event of either of us being unable to attend or continue the counselling, we each undertake to let the other know in advance wherever possible. My emergency number to call is +44 (0)7880 501 116.
For email work, if I do not hear from you that you have received their email within 72 hours of sending it I will resend it, in case it somehow got lost. If I do not hear from you then, I will assume that you do not wish to continue working with me.
Sometimes things go wrong with technology, so it’s important for you and me to check: please feel to check with me if you feel either that I have not responded as I should have or that I have misunderstood something, or if you are unable to continue the counselling for some reason.
If the technology does not work for some reason or you and I get cut off during the session and are not able to reconnect I will call you on the emergency number that you give on your Client Agreement. You also have the emergency phone number that you can use, + 44 7880 501 116.
Contact and boundaries
It is important that we are clear about the boundaries. You have a phone number to contact me in case of emergency (+44 7880 501 116). When you sign the Client Agreement you agree not to use any other way of communicating except the way you have chosen and has been agreed between you and me.
Friendship is very different from a counselling relationship. When we work in a therapeutic way some of the work may be very deep. It’s important for all of us to respect these boundaries. Our therapeutic contact cannot become friendship. In the same way I would ask you to respect your my privacy and not contact them via any social networking sites, or any other way than the agreed routes to contact. Should you do so I will not respond but will raise the issue in our next session.
The role of silence in, and between, sessions
In the counselling room silence can play an important role. However, online it can be a sign that the technology has fails. So it is important for us to check this out. How we as counsellors check this out will depend on the format for the counselling:
EMAIL COUNSELLING: I usually say when you should expect to hear from me next. Likewise, it is useful if you could do the same. If I do not hear from you when we expect to, I will contact you to check everything is alright. If I do not hear from you then, I will assume that you do not wish to continue working with me.
VIDEO-CONFERENCING AND CHAT COUNSELLING: usually you will have made an appointment in the previous session. I will contact you at the agreed time via Zoom video-conferencing or text. If your counsellor does not hear from you when they expect to, they will contact you to check everything is alright. If they do not hear from you then, they will assume that you do not wish to continue working with them.
When you work face-to-face you can see the other person’s facial expression and body language. This is not always possible with video-conferencing, and not at all with texting. Silence is really important and we as counsellors would not wish to intrude on it, but sometimes silence may be because the technology has broken down, or perhaps because you’ve “got stuck”. With video-conferencing your counsellor will write a short message on the chat part of the software, if they are unsure whether you are there or not, and likewise for text-based work, something such as “Is the silence alright?”. All you need to reply is “OK” or even “….” Which will mean that they should leave you to work in silence but be there for you.
Fees and payments
For all real time (vdieo, audio, live text) counselling £70.00 per session.
Email, per exchange, 500 words and no more than 50 minutes' work £70.00.
All sessions are to be paid in advance. We suggest starting with one session to see whether you feel comfortable with what we offer and how we work. Once you are happy about the arrangements we suggest the booking of a block of 4 sessions.
You can pay online via PayPal, by UK cheque, or by bank transfer. In all cases the money must be received and cleared before the sessions take place.
If you need to cancel and you give us 48 hours’ notice we will be happy to move that payment forward to a future session and to rearrange the appointment. With less than 48 hours we reserve the right to retain the payment if we cannot fill the timeslot with another client.
If at any point during our work together you decide that you wish to end our contract, we would very much appreciate it if you would let me know this.
More about, me, Philippa Weitz and how I work
I am a Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and work to their 2018 Ethical Framework. You may be interested to know more about this and you can find it on their website. In addition I adhere to the BACP’s Guidelines for online counselling and psychotherapy, which have been especially written for practitioners working online.
I am qualified to work therapeutically online with a Diploma in Online Counselling, and to provide supervision, with a Diploma in Online Therapeutic Supervision.
I have professional indemnity insurance with Oxygen Insurance.
If you would like to read up more about me, and read the full details of how I work, you can look at her professional website www.philippaweitz.com.
I am Vice Chair and a Professional Member of ACTO, Association of COunselling and Therapy Online (http://www.acto-org.uk).
I may not always be present in the UK for your sessions, but I am UK resident and practise under English jurisdiction.
In addition, Philippa Weitz Training Ltd trading as UK Counselling Online is a registered UK company, Registered in England; Company No. 3477157; Registered Office: 85 Church Road, Hove BN3 2BB.
In the unlikely situation that you want to make a complaint, we would use the BACP complaints procedure, and in all cases any complaint or legal situation would be considered within the UK legal jurisdiction through the UK courts.
Do feel free ask us if there is anything you want to check out before you start your counselling. We're here to help and we know you may have some queries that you'll want to check out with us before starting out on your counselling journey.
Once you are happy about the arrangements in this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) please could I ask you to complete the Client Agreement. Once I receive this back we can begin your counselling.