How will it be to work on-line with me?
Online Counselling is an opportunity to reach out for help form the comfort of your own home at a time that really works for you. Sometimes life can be difficult and we can struggle to find the joy and enthusiasm to work, create and enjoy nourishing relationships, we can find it hard to feel good about ourselves and know what we need.
There can be times when online Counselling is not recommended and in these instances I will give you the resources and alternative sources of support that will best help you.
We will agree an initial appointment time using either email, IM, Voice only or webcam. If you want to work through email, then I will send you a link in order to ensure the platform is encrypted and safe.
If for any reason technical issues arise during our online sessions, then I will try to reconnect with you. If this is not possible, then together we will use an agreed upon alternative such as the phone or email.
Online Counselling is different to face to face in person work and misunderstandings can occur due to the lack of physical presence and information such as facial expressions and voice etc. For this reason it is important to be comfortable in asking for clarification if we are unsure of something we say so that the therapeutic relationship can be protected.
Moreover, working with me on-line will seem easier than you think and not as difficult as you might imagine. I promise my undivided attention and presence to guide your inner explorations and processes of change. Providing good, wholesome, solid, honest and warm care.
I am very concerned about your privacy and security and I am taking, to the best of my ability, all precautions to protect your information. I will not communicate the content of your emails or online appointments with a third party except for the purposes of supervision of my work.
About on-line conference meetings:
At this moment I am using the services of “Free Conference”. It allows me to protect your privacy and lock the conference in order to ensure that no one can interrupt us during the session. In addition, I can provide a secure One-Time Access code which means that before each appointment you will be sent the link for your session time.
With FreeConference, you do not need to create an account, just use the link I send you. No personal information such as emails is required and it will not reveal your identity.
I can also offer video conference alternatives such as Skype and Zoom ( though zoom is not recommendable at this time as they have suffered many hacks, but are very popular and if you feel comfortable working with Zoom I have an account with them).
If for any reason we experience technical issues during a conference appointment I will try to re-connect with you, but if this is not possible, we will make contact via an agreed alternative, such as by phone or email.
About E-mail sessions:
Although it is possible to conduct the sessions through standard email accounts, my suggestion is if you wish to increase the privacy of our communication, to encrypt the emails.
This can be done in two ways
1.- By using “Lockbin” to encrypt your emails. Lockbin secures messages in transit with the strongest Transport Layer Security (TLS), while FIPS 140-2 verified AES-256 bit encryption protects messages at rest. It is free to use and you also can do it with your Android phone, Outlook, Mac, Linux or Windows PC and web-based access: https://lockbin.com
2.- If your e-mail client support encryption you can use your normal account and I will send the encryption code.
About IM sessions:
IM (Instant Messaging) sessions will be managed by either mobile phone (SMS) or Skype (Text messages sessions only). I understand you may prefer this way of communication, but you must be aware they do not offer privacy and/or security. After the session, I will delete manually the conversation and I will suggest for you to do the same. Importantly, you need to understand that they can be retrieved easily.
Audio Only sessions:
Audio sessions can be via phone or through “Free Conference” (audio only). Sessions are safe as no record device/option will be used.
1. Regarding online counselling via email, SMS, and webcam the UK police force and other international government authorities can ask for access to an individual’s email account or synchronous messaging account where there is a suspicion of illegal activities. On this basis, I cannot guarantee confidentiality in circumstances that lead to access being granted.
2. At the end of our counselling agreement copies of our exchanges will be stored securely offline for 7 years and then destroyed after this time. I am a registered Data Controller and Data Processor and abide by the regulations imposed by such procedures. My registration number is: A8704775. – (ICO, Information Commissioner’s Office – ICO is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights – https://ico.org.uk/): Karen Woodley/Counselling Valleys has a policy for data processing and storage.
As a Data Controller and Data Processor, I maintain and store brief notes relating to your sessions. I will not share this data with someone other than yourself, unless required by a court of law. Under GDPR you have the right to request a copy of session records. Where requested by you these will be within 30 days in electronic format, Under GDPR you have the right to ask for records to be amended if you feel they are inaccurate. If you wish to ask for an amendment or if you raise objection to any data kept by me, it will store such objection with the original session notes. You can request your data deletion and/or records here.
3. IM or video sessions will NOT be conducted through any social media (Eg: Facebook, WhatsApp or others as they do not offer the level of security or privacy required)
4. The Client agreement /assessment form you completed on my website and any brief session notes will be stored on an external hard drive which is encrypted and password protected.
5. Any electronic contact we have during the process of assessment and ongoing sessions will be deleted at the end of our agreed work together.
6. The information you submit using the forms on my website is managed by SSL/HTTPS protocols and storage in an encrypted database.
As member of ACTO (Nº544) I also comply with all its procedures and regulations.
ACTO is the association for therapists and counselling working online therapeutically.