FAQ

If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to email Donna

What is online therapy?

Online therapy is similar to conventional therapy but instead of the therapist and the client sitting together in an office, it takes place online. We will use the webcam on your phone or computer to see one another as we talk.

This is very similar to a skype conversation, but instead of using Skype we will use Zoom. Zoom is free to download and easy to work.

After booking an online therapy session, you will get an automated e-mail 24 hours before our session. This e-mail will give you a URL. When it comes to the time of our session simply click the URL and it will take you to my Zoom waiting room where we can begin our session.

Before deciding whether or not online therapy could work for you, it’s a good idea to be familiar with some of the main differences between online therapy and traditional face-to-face therapy. Here are some of the main pros and cons of online therapy.

 

Pros

  • One of the biggest pros is that online therapy is convenient. You can be anywhere (as long as you have privacy). Having therapy online is great if you travel a lot .  Having therapy online accommodates people who have busy schedules by eliminating the time spent getting to  a therapist’s office.
  • Online therapy may be cheaper than face-to-face therapy. This is because you will not have to pay  for petrol, bus fare or parking in order to get to your session.
  • By having therapy sessions online you don’t have to worry about bumping into anybody in the waiting room. This ensures a higher level of confidentiality than face to face therapy.
  • If you are unable to leave your house due to physical illness or for any other reason, online therapy makes it possible for you to access a therapist.
  • You may find that by speaking to a therapist from the comfort of your own couch, you are able to feel more relaxed and open with the therapist. You can have your therapy session on your own couch with a cup of homemade coffee or even with your cat sitting on your lap.
  • Couples who live far away from one another are still able to work through relationship difficulties by meeting online with the therapist. We can all meet together online and have a session even if one person lives in a different time-zone.
  • If you live in an area where your access to a therapist is limited, online therapy provides you with a psychological services.
  • “The treatment outcome of online therapy is at least equal to traditional in office settings”  Online Counselling, Reviewing the Literature from a  Counselling Psychology Framework                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

    Cons

  • Some people may find it more difficult to connect with a therapist who is not in the same physical room with them.
  • Online therapy relies on the use of technology such as a computer and the internet . So if there is a problem with the technology, the session will be affected. For example, if your computer or cellphone breaks you may have to make an alternative plan to access the therapy service. While this is a large difficulty to deal with, there may be similar difficulties preventing you from accessing face-to-face therapy such as your car breaking down on your way to a session.
  • You need to have access to a stable internet connection as well as a computer or smartphone in order to access online therapy.
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Why does Donna work ONLINE?

The simple reason is that I wanted to make therapy more accessible, with online therapy I can bring the therapy to you.

There are so many busy people who simply can’t afford to spend time getting to and from a therapist’s office each week. And with an increasingly globalised world more and more couples are having to go through periods of long-distance. There is little, if any, support that couples in this position can receive together during these trying times.

So I decided to create a therapy practice that facilitates therapy for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access it.  My therapy practice is for individuals, couples as well as couples in long-distance relationships.  By meeting online we can have a therapy session in which we are all in different cities or even different countries.

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Is Donna the right therapist for me?

I hope that you can get a sense of who I am and how I work as a therapist from this website.  I get how important the relationship between a client and a therapist is, after all I have been a client in therapy myself. While it takes times to build a solid relationship, it is important that you feel that I am someone who you can open up to and connect with.

You simply won’t know whether you and I will have a good therapeutic relationship until we have our first session together. If you do not feel that we will work together then you should feel free to find a therapist who you do work well with.

A good way to get to know me and understand more of how I see the world is to check out my vlog. This may give you some insight into whether you and I will work well together.

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What are the differences between talking to a therapist vs. talking to a friend?

If you are reading this then you are probably already aware of the benefits of personal/individual therapy. However, I’ve spoken to many people who tell me that they speak to their friends about any difficulties that they have and so they don’t need therapy. While I think that speaking to your friends can be very helpful and not everyone necessarily needs therapy, it important to understand that there is a big difference between speaking to a friend and a therapist.

Talking to a friend and a therapist are similar in that they are both conversations in which you may be vulnerable, but they are very different types of conversations.Understanding this difference properly puts you in the position where you can decide for yourself whether or not therapy is worth trying.

I’d like to clear up how individual therapy is different from talking to your friends. Here are some points to consider:

  • Firstly, treating your friend like a therapist can be detrimental to your friendship. Friendships are different from the therapeutic relationship as they require reciprocity, give-and-take and your friend may feel drained by having to listen to you speak about your problems and your life without also focusing on them.
  • The therapeutic relationship is very different, as a therapist I don’t expect you to ask me about my day. All my attention will be focused on you. Part of my therapeutic training involved supervisors and professors pointing out my biases and teaching me to be self-aware of these. This training has helped me to recognize and stop my biases from interrupting the focus being on you.
  • If you focus on reflecting on you and your life in a friendship you might feel guilty or feel like a burden. You should not feel guilty for focusing on yourself in a therapeutic relationship, that’s what it’s all about- focusing on YOU.
  • It is easier for me to work with you if I understand your point of view, this means that I am not going to be judgement as that just gets in the way of helping you. Friendships are different as the point of a friendship isn’t necessarily to focus on and help you.
  • As a therapist I have years of training on mental health and different theoretical understandings of human behavior. This theory underpins many of the questions that I ask you. These questions are often very different from what a friend might ask you.
  • The types of questions that I ask in therapy are often much more challenging than questions that I could ask a friend in a social space. Again, this is because the therapeutic relationship is different from that of a friendship. In a friendship we often expect our friends to tell us what we want to hear; and even in strong friendships we can struggle to challenge our friends. By asking you challenging questions we can work together to find alternative ways of perceiving/ dealing with a situation.
  • I can also ask you more challenging questions because I have a strong understanding of mental health and your emotional well-being. I have been trained in how to help you to deal with and contain your emotions. Untrained friends on the other hand might be afraid of asking such questions because they are scared that you will break down and that they won’t know what to say to you.
  • Again friends may ask very different questions from what I ask because I am not listening as a friend, I am listening as  a therapist. This means that I will be listening to understand your beliefs about yourself and about your life. I need to do this in order to challenge your negative self-beliefs and help you to feel better about yourself.
  • I will also be listening for negative patterns in your life and I will help you to identify and stop these. I’ll also encourage you to build upon the healthier more helpful patterns in your life. These are very different conversations from those typically held between friends.
  •  Another very important aspect of the therapeutic relationship is that it is confidential. You will not have to worry about me going and blabbing to your other friends. Unlike a friend, if I am found to break your confidentiality, I would have to face serious legal consequences.
  • Finally, contrary to popular belief, I do not give advice. While I may be trained in mental health I am not the expert on your life, you are. I cannot tell you do anything or tell you which decision to make. I believe it is unethical to take your decision-making power away from you. Rather we can use the therapeutic space to reflect on your choices and discuss them from different perspectives. While I may encourage you to try something new or challenge a perspective, I will not make any decisions for you. Friends may give advice, therapists should not.
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Do I have to be living in the UK?

The simple answer is no, you do not have to live in the UK to have online therapy sessions with me. The main reasons why I direct my practice towards people living in the UK are:

  • I am currently living in the UK and if you live in a country with very different time-zones it may be difficult to arrange a time for therapy.
  • Because I live in the UK the internet connection will be more stable if I am speaking to someone else within the UK.

I have adapted my practice to accommodate couples in long-distance relationships. This will often entail one partner living within the UK and the other living in another country. In such cases it’s important to be aware of the time-difference between the two places to ensure that we will all meet up online at the same time.

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How is my confidentiality protected?

During our sessions I will make some notes mainly to remind myself about what we spoke about and important facts about your life. These are called process notes and act as a record of our sessions.

None of your personal information will be shared with a third party without your consent unless legally required, or I have reason to believe that you are being harmed or harming someone else.

I will always conduct the therapy sessions from a private room where nobody can overhear our conversation. It is your responsibility to do the same thing.

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How do I know that the session isn’t being recorded?

One of my first questions when I started this online therapy practice was “how can I ensure that my sessions are really private and that nobody else is able to view them?” After some research I found that zoom is a secure and good quality platform to use.

I like it because it works a lot like skype but unlike skype it has peer-to-peer encryption. This means that there is no recorded information, absolutely no way for anyone to trace your information even if the site is hacked!

What’s more, it’s FREE for you the client (as the therapist I can pay for the professional version).

You can simply create a free account and then sign in when it is time for our session.

If you have more questions about how to use zoom for our therapy sessions please feel free to contact me.

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What difficulties does Donna work with?

Here are some of the difficulties that I commonly work with:

In One-on-One therapy sessions we focus on:

  • Self-Growth
  • Perfectionism
  • Self-Confidence
  • Building up a Healthy Body Image
  • Assertiveness
  • Stress/Coping
  • Depression
  • Procrastination

Therapy for couples including those in long-distance relationships focuses on:

  • Building You as Complete Individuals
  • Confidence in Yourself and Your Relationship
  • Fear and Mistrust
  • Forgiveness, Guilt and Trust
  • Being Assertive about Your Needs
  • Fostering Honest Communication
  • Prioritizing your Relationship

My experience is not limited to the above mentioned difficulties and if you are experiencing a difficulty that is not mentioned above please feel free to contact me and we can see whether I am able to work with you.

Here is a list of difficulties that I am unable to help with through online therapy as they require conventional face-to-face therapy:

  • severe crisis situations (such as domestic violence or suicidal ideation)
  • if you have been diagnosed with sever psychopathology such as Schizophrenia
  • if you require a therapist to provide evidence in a court of law
  • if you are a minor (under the age of 18) I will need written consent from a parent or guardian before we can begin therapy

 If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger – don’t use this site. These resources can provide you with immediate help.

*Please be aware that as a Counselling Psychologist it is beyond my scope of practice to prescribe medication to clients.

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What if the internet connection drops during the session?

During face-to-face therapy you may have to miss a session because you get stuck in traffic or you miss your bus or the weather is too bad etc. With online therapy you don’t have to get to a specific place and so it’s much easier to make sure that you see your therapist. However, there may be occasions where the internet connection may fail during the therapy session.

I understand how important it is that therapy takes place at our agreed upon time. I have therefor made a back-up plan:

If the internet fails during the time of the session I will phone you on your cell-phone and we can continue the session without video. Because I understand how frustrating it can be to experience technical difficulties during therapy, I will pay for the cell-phone call. Even if the internet problem is from your side, I will still call you on your phone at no extra charge to you.

*Note: I can only call you on your phone as long as you are in the UK. If you use your computer for our therapy sessions, please make sure that you have your phone with you in case the internet connection fails.

If the internet fails and you are unable to receive my phone call or  you are not living in the UK then you can write down what you wanted to talk to me about. You can send this to me in an e-mail (no longer than 5 A4 pages) and I will send you a detailed e-mail back. Then we will resume video talking from the next session.

Not only does this ensure that you keep this time as your time to focus on you, but many people have found it helpful to to engage in a different form of expression by writing their thoughts and feelings out from time to time.

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What happens in the first session?

Of course every therapy session is different but this is a broad outline of the general structure that I use for couples and individual clients:

During the first session of therapy I often focus on on getting to know you and understanding your reason(s) for therapy.

My first question to you is usually around informed consent and whether you have any questions regarding the informed consent form. I will reinstate the importance of confidentiality and its limitations.

I may then ask you whether you have been in therapy before and if so, what you found helpful or unhelpful about your previous therapist(s). My reason for asking this is that it gives me insight into what works for you and how I can be most helpful for you in the future ( ie. by trying to avoid replicating aspects that you did not appreciate about your previous therapist(s).

Then we can speak about why you have decided to begin therapy. I aim to get on the same page as you and understand the difficulties that you are facing.

Within the first couple of sessions together we can clarify the difficulties that you would like to change as well as create your own personal goals about what you would like to change or get out of therapy.

We will discuss what we can realistically achieve together through therapy. My aim in therapy is to help you to stop needing therapy, I don’t want to create dependence on therapy. Therefore we will establish how you will know when you have achieved these goals.

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