Ethical Considerations in Online Counselling: Social Media

Hi, and welcome to this blog post where I’ll be discussing a few topics that might come up when working online.

If you’ve missed any of my other posts on online counselling, you can read them here.

When a counselling client is working with me face to face, it is usually because they live in the same town as myself, or in a nearby town.

This might lead to us bumping into one another on the street, at a shop, sometimes even at a pub or party.

There have been many conversations about how to deal with this when it happens.

One of the best moments to deal with this is at the start of therapy, or in the therapist’s written contract.

BACP has guidance on this for practitioners, as well as information for the general public. Their ethical framework is also helpful to make decisions about how to deal with this in private practice.

Different practitioners and clients alike might be more or less comfortable with the possibility of meeting outside the sessions in this manner. It is just something that might become a reality at any point.

We can agree to acknowledge each other with a nod and carry on.

Some of us might be comfortable with saying hello to our clients and even having a short conversation about general stuff – the weather for example.

Generally, we would be with others, so the nature of our counselling relationship is bound by confidentiality – on the therapist’s side. The client can disclose this if they so wish.

I personally wouldn’t see this as a major issue, and more importantly, it could give important information for following sessions.

How was that for you, seeing me outside of the therapy room?

What did it bring up for you?

What could either of us have done differently?

What shall we do next time we see each other in public?

Let’s now tackle the same topic but from an online perspective.

More and more counsellors are offering online counselling, and this is becoming a popular way for people to get access to counselling, whether it is because they live in rural areas, are not able to travel to a therapist’s office, or for convenience in other ways.

Social media is a great way to work and market our practices online. It’s one of the main ways I do networking and give out information about my services, about counselling topics and other topics I’m passionate about (just like this blog!)

Rather than see Social Media as a hindrance, I see it as a great opportunity to offer information and support to more people than the ones I can see in my private practice.

Resources on mental health, self-care, and realted topics are important as they might be a source of solace and support for those considering counselling but not quite ready to take that step just yet.

Having online profiles on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and others means that anyone can find us and follow us.

Just like we did with meeting in town, we must decide what is OK, and ethical, for us as therapists when it comes to our clients finding us online.

There’s also the possibility that Facebook might “suggest friends” to us that just happen to be our clients.

The most strict thing to do in this case would be to block the client, but I’d like to offer some other options.

I’ll give the example of my own facebook use. My personal profile is private, I check settings often and limit posts every few months.

The only things public on my profile are my cover photo, my profile pic, and public posts which are mainly business related. I’ve got the “followers” mode on because colleagues or people interested in my content might want to catch up on that platform.

Some of those might be clients.

All the content that I share that is public, including my cover photo, relate to my business. Nothing that is shared for friends and family is public.

This keeps the boundaries clear, and keeps me safe from feeling like I’m inadvertently self-disclosing to clients or potential clients.

If a previous or current client wants to follow me on my other social media platforms, I won’t worry as they are business profiles.

If I had a personal profile on instagram, for example, I’d have the option of making that profile private and people would need to request access to it.

There are many ways to keep our private lives confidential online. They don’t have to be too strict or too lenient.

The key is that we want our counselling relationships with clients to be safe and contained.

Keeping up to date with encryption, GDPR legislation, security of each social media platform, and having conversations with clients about this topic will keep everyone safe. Also, reading up on guidance from our membership bodies can also be helpful.

Have you got any further suggestions, or questions regarding finding your client or therapist in public or online?

Drop me a line in the comments and I’ll be happy to add it to this post.

Until next week…

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Would chronic illness benefit from online counselling? – By Olivia Djoudadi

Hi and welcome to this blog post collab with Olivia Djoudadi.

I’ve had a couple of collaborations through the years from people living with chronic illnesses or therapists that work with these.

You can read these here:

Self Care When Living With a Chronic Illness

Living with a Chronic Illness and Working as a Therapist

In this post, Olivia answers the question of whether online counselling can help people with chronic illness.

I think you know my answer will be a resounding “yes!”

Over to you, Olivia

When first diagnosed with a chronic condition it can be quite a shock for some people.

It may need medications, a newer type focus on the foods people eat and a shift on how life is lived.

This isn’t always realised until later as obvious affects on the person or family take time to realise.

Lets take a look at a fairly common condition like diabetes; the statistics show 63% of people with it may have either anxiety or depression.

That statistic can have quite an affect on how someone with diabetes looks after their medical care needs.

One might feel a doctor is the person that deals with the medical needs however psychotherapy or counselling can really help as well.

Dealing with a chronic illness and going out even to weekly therapy appointments can take its toll however there are options such as online counselling.

You can see your therapist online by either email, IM or video sessions.

Some therapists work online because they also have a chronic condition just like you.

Some conditions may be painful or cause a lot of fatigue making getting out to counselling much harder.

Research on the person you may see to see if they have worked with chronic illness before as that can help with trust.

How many medical conditions are there in the population of the UK? Do all conditions need therapy?

In the UK according to over 15 million people in the UK live with a chronic condition yet not all need emotional support.

Some may have family support or don’t go through shock that accompanies some conditions.

Not every illness is obvious so people may assume that someone is completely fine when they actually have a condition that raises their likelihood of say a medical crisis.

If medication is not used then people can get incredibly unwell or even die and that can have quite a big effect on one’s mental wellbeing.

They may go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance; some reading may realise that these are actually the 5 points to the Kübler-Ross grief model.

People may lean towards one of those or have a mixture of all or as one clinician noted as a Munchian Scream which is a painting depicting a screaming man by Edvard Munch.

It may seem like its awful to get any kind of condition but the truth is that many people cope very well living with a diagnosis.

So, one may ask why that is the case.

According to Harvard Medical School dealing with a chronic condition can improve by:

  • Beware of depression or anxiety. These can occur when someone is newly diagnosed or when they have lived with a condition for a long time and see the ongoing effects on self or family.
  • Build a team. This can be medical as well as psychological to help keep you at your best, keep in mind to include yourself as part of the team.
  • Coordinate your care. You may need to be cared for by a number of medical staff and access to each other’s notes may not always happen. You may need to highlight what has changed so your doctor is aware. Yes, they may have the notes from other departments but a five-minute appointment with a GP may not have realised changes.
  • Get a prescription for information. It can help to know what side effects medication may cause so you know what is normal. Use information from a site that has a medical reputation so you don’t get scared by other information then discuss with your doctor what is your normal on that medication. It can be useful to discuss in therapy how to handle these changes or the effect it has on you or others.
  • Make a healthy investment in yourself. Treatment for almost any chronic condition involves changes to lifestyle. A doctor may ask you to eat healthier, stop smoking or drinking, exercise more or seek counselling if you are having trouble coping. As well as taking care of your medical needs it may help to have selfcare times such as walking in the park or having tea with a friend, some people find support groups helpful.
  • Make it a family affair. When learning about your own condition it can be helpful to include family members as they may need to assist at times even if it’s to pick up a prescription or adjust to a healthier way of eating meals. Some maybe quite active and others maybe distressed so talking with a therapist may help them as well as the person with the condition.
  • Make your doctor a partner in care. When you leave the doctor’s office you are the one who needs to track changes such as symptoms or medical input. You may also need to assist the doctor by saying your finding it hard to cope.
  • Manage your medications. One may need an adjusted eating plan, pills, injections or medical devices so one can function well. Knowing about the drugs you take can be helpful as they may cause other noticeable issues such as tiredness and that’s important for your medical team to know.
  • Reach out. Medical input can be really helpful but so can therapy and support groups so it may help to seek online or face to face counselling.

I’ve learned quite a lot from reading this post by Olivia.

If you’d like to contact her for therapy sessions, or read more of her great blog posts, do follow her blog at this site.

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Advantages of Online Counselling – No Commute and Free Resources

Hi, and welcome to this week’s post about online counselling and the advantages this brings.

Before we begin, we’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, from Natalia at Chat2Us and Karin at KB Bilingual.

Today we’ll be talking about a couple more advantages we can get from online counselling: saving on travel and additional resources that online therapists provide to their audiences on social media and through their websites.

We’ve had some comments and conversations in social media about our posts already on social media.

Most have been positive, some have been giving us more ideas for blog posts on things we might have missed.

For example, the fact that accessibility relates to the client, but also to the therapist.

There are great therapists out there that have mobility or accessibility issues, or need specific locations to be able to work comfortably and see their clients.

This shouldn’t stop a client from seeing them, as it might be the perfect match to work through their current situations with!

Choosing an online therapist opens up unlimited options as well as advantages!

Embarking on the journey of becoming a therapist is varied and requires patience, perseverance and dedication.

Therapists promote their practices in different ways, and providing valuable resources to their audience is one of the ways we do this.

Therapists nowadays write blog posts to reveal what their interests are, which is important as it might lead the right client to the right therapist (for example, Karin writes about Autism because she works with this client group, and sometimes clients find her through these posts when searching on google).

Blog posts and social media posts also show a bit more about the therapist’s personality, and more importantly, what their therapy approach is.

This certainly gives potential clients out there a rich idea of what they are going to be getting with a particular therapist, and who they are talking to.

Some people could think this is impersonal or cold.

Far from that!

Social media these days is one of the best ways to show your community what you are about, and how you can help potential clients.

Potential clients might like to find some common ground with their therapists before they book a first session.

Feeling like they connect with their potential therapist’s blog post will help them make the decision to contact.

It can be terrifying to make that first contact with an online (or face to face) therapist, so having as much information as possible about what to expect will be reassuring and helpful!

This is also why we’re writing this series: to “de-mystify online counselling”, how it works, and to tell you a bit more about what Chat2Us and KB Bilingual are about, without any expectations on you to contact us.

Just knowing about us might help you or your friends and family in the future, whether through counselling or sharing these blog posts and others that we’ve published on our blog pages.

Although face to face offers many more options in regards to having the therapist in front of the client, and there’s more than verbal language to work with, it can also work against those clients with a shy character, or those that want to keep quiet about attending therapy.

A face to face appointment could make them freeze at the thought of opening up to an unknown person for the first time.

The anonymity and diverse types of online therapy (from text based to video) will provide solace to those that don’t want to talk about in person.

Also, the comfort of your home will create the right environment to let you open up and have a productive therapy process.

You can find out more about accessibility advantages when doing online counselling by reading our post on this very matter.

Another important advantage to consider when you go online is saving in both time and travel expenses.

In these fast times, where we have to juggle between work and family…saving time is a priority.

Take also into account the privacy that booking therapists online gives us.

Bumping into someone you know on your way to therapy, while trying to keep it a private and safe space might not be ideal.

In future messages we will be writing about the different types of online therapy.

For this post, we will just mention other advantages in regards to time: online counselling offers the choice of synchronous or asynchronous sessions.

This means you can have “live” sessions with your therapist via text, audio or video sessions, but that there’s also the alternative of sending text based messages from the bus, the office, the supermarket, or anywhere else, at that moment when you need it, and expect a reply from your therapist within an agreed time frame.

We think it’s wonderful that we live in an age where we can have a variety of options to look after our mental health and wellbeing.

What do you think?

Again, Natalia and Karin would like to wish you all the best during the Christmas break, whether you celebrate or not, and however you celebrate!

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Advantages of Online Counselling – Accessibility

Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post, where Natalia from Chat2Us and myself will be talking about the accessibility advantage of online counselling.

For the next few months, on on a fortnightly basis, we’ll be sharing a number of advantages that comes with Online Counselling.

You might want to check out Natalia’s online counselling service, to sign up as a therapist or to search for therapists for yourself.

Accessibility in this post will refer to both people living in rural areas, where the population might be small, and therefore they might not be able to find a therapist nearby.

The town might be so small that the person accessing counselling might be self-conscious of people knowing they’re going to therapy, for whatever reason that might be.

Therapy needs to be a safe space, so if keeping it to themselves helps, then online therapy is a good solution.

The issue of accessibility also applies to people with physical disabilities or difficulties accessing transport to a face-to-face therapist.

Some of us work on a first or second floor, without lifts or accessibility, so cilents that need support with their wheelchairs or other support might not be able to reach us, unless they do it online.

What an option, to be able to meet with your chosen therapist, through encrypted, secure online platforms like Zoom, VSee and others!

Natalia will now talk to us about empathy in the online environment, as it relates to accessibility.

Like everything in life, we are only able to empathise as far as we have experienced a similar situation.

And this is human, by the way.

Our abilities to empathise depend on whether we are sensitive to what’s in front of us.

Empathy is important as an online counsellor.

Being aware of the practical issues of accessing counselling will allow the therapist to come up with the best solution for their clients.

Online therapy is one way of paying attention and providing an alternative therapy service.

Let me discuss a bit further what people with physical disabilities or logistic issues (living in rural areas or small towns, like Karin mentioned above) could benefit from online counselling.

Imagine a person going to a session in the centre of London.

They might be from a rural area or use a wheelchair and the closest therapist might be 50miles away!

The burden of going from point A (this person home) to point B (therapist location in central London) is massively inconvenient!

What to do? Online counselling.


“Logistical Convenience”.

It simply covers the whole spectrum of people’s travel logistic difficulties.

What was once impossible – accessing therapy with our chosen therapist – is now made possible through the medium of the internet and the wonderful platforms available to do so safely.

Sadly, this simple issue can get in the way of the individual acquiring the much-needed, long-term, sustainable engagement that would give them the therapeutic support that they so desperately require.

This could be anything from an extra 30 minutes of travel after a hard day’s work, to living in the country and possibly having some kind of physical disability, which is why this technology can now really serve as a convenience to the client.

What is best is that the client can also feel more comfortable in their own home.

So, going back to the topic of empathy, the fact that more and more therapists are offering online therapy, tells us that counsellors are thinking about how to reach those clients that would otherwise never find their way to them.

Understanding people’s needs and living situations in an empathetic way, allows us to support more and more people than we could have imagined even 20 years ago!

Are you living in a rural area or have a disability that keeps you from accessing therapy freely and comfortably?

Have you considered online therapy?

Visit Chat2us or contact me to book an online session today!


Online Counselling Blog Series (with Natalia from Chat2Us.Online)

Hi everyone, and welcome to this blog post series where we will be talking about online counselling.

It’s been a few decades now since the first online therapy session took place. Things have moved quite a lot since then.

The internet has become a hub for many businesses and services, and counselling has not been left behind.

There are many aspects to take into account for therapists working face to face, and these are also included when doing online counselling.

As you can imagine, there are more variables to take into account when working online, which is what we want to bring to you in this series.

We will be discussing the ethical, practical and other issues and advantages of online counselling.

You can find out more about me via my About Me page.

For now, I’ll let Natalia from Chat2Us introduce herself and tell us a bit about why she’s collaborating with me in these posts, and also having me on board her page as resident blogger.

Hi everybody , I’m Natalia Obregon from Chat2Us.

I’m a bilingual counsellor living in Spain but with a close link to the UK, which is why I’m offering a platform for English and Spanish speakers.

I’m hoping to add more therapists that speak even more languages so we can reach more people living in the UK and all over the world.

We have started this blog collaboration with Karin to provide value to our readers, regarding online counselling.

Also visit Chat2Us blogsite for more interesting blogs about psychology, well being, benefits of therapy, healthy habits.

Chat2us is born after realising the limited time we reserve to take care of ourselves.

A good chunk of time, is dedicated to our main job and another good portion to our personal and family time.

Why not take care of our mental health using the great technology at our disposal?

Of course, there are pros and cons to consider, but the end result is achieved: supply a live service from the comfort of your home.

The options for support are broadened this way: you can start only by telephone if you feel more comfortable than showing up with video, as in a face to face therapy…

…later on, once you gained some trust with your therapist, you can unveil yourself and do a video therapy instead…

Regardless, of what option you go for, it must be chosen wisely and with some previous research about who is to going to be your trusted therapist…

Karin is being a great support these days and she has opened unlimited options to help me grow Chat2us.

For it, I have to thank her and continue our growth together collaborating with each other’s blogs.

What a fantastic way to show your public who you are!

I am open to suggestions and requests anytime, so drop us a line through our web with all your contributions…

Also, you can sign up with us and become a member!

You would be able to create your profile and publish your posts!

Is it not the best way to get to know each other?

Check out our website now and find out more about us!

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