Please read this entire page to get an understanding about receiving counseling therapy.
Who Can Benefit from Online Counseling?
- People with disabilities who lack mobility to physically attend face to face counseling sessions and are able to work a keyboard or assistive technology.
- Those who live in isolated areas or have no access to mental health therapists.
- People who are socially or politically active and prefer to seek therapy outside of their community. (please refer to client confidentiality)
- Clients who are caretakers and unable to attend therapy sessions outside of the home.
- People who have varied work schedules and are unable to plan for appointments.
- Those with trust or safety issues. (please refer to client confidentiality)
- People with anxiety disorders or agoraphobia, which means they are afraid to leave the house.
- Adolescents with the written consent of their parent or guardian.
- Those who lack transportation to attend face to face counseling sessions.
- Those who want to send or receive messages during specific times of the day or night.
- Clients who do not like playing ‘telephone tag’ with their therapist. (I will respond to your request within 24-48 hours.)
- People can take their time with their email message, and concentrate on getting their thoughts and words just right. At the same time, I as the counselor will have time to put a lot of thought into my response.
- You will have a written record of our correspondence. please refer to client confidentiality)
- Some people feel less inhibited via online counseling than face to face, and tend to feel more comfortable being more open with the counselor.
Reasons Not to Use My Site at This Time:
- If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else. This can include cutting or other forms of self-mutilation, suicidal or homicidal thinking.
- If you are in a severe state of panic or anxiety or are in an imminent crisis.
- You are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- You have been diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disorder and are experiencing hallucinations:
- Either visual, (seeing things that only you can see) auditory (hearing voices), or tactile (feeling things on your skin that really are not there.)
- If you are in need of immediate counseling and your situation is so tenuous that you cannot wait 24-48 hours for a response from me.
Your Safety and the Safety of Those Around You are Very Important.
If you meet any of these conditions, please exit this web site immediately and:
- Contact your local emergency room or call 911.
- Call a local crisis phone number or 1-800-SUICIDE.
- Make an appointment at a local mental health clinic or counseling center to schedule an office visit. Please inform them that you have urgent needs and many times you will be seen much faster.
- Contact a trusted minister, friend or family member.
- Send an email to contact a trained volunteer crisis counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are currently under the care of a therapist, psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist, it would be better to continue seeing them. Ethically I should not be providing counseling to clients who are being followed by another mental health professional.
Information Regarding Online Counseling:
This web site offers online counseling with a Master’s prepared Pennsylvania licensed mental health therapist via secure chat and email.
Chat room counseling occurs in real time. This is similar to face to face counseling; however we speak to each other via text instead of in person. In chat room counseling you and I schedule a session and it lasts for either 25 minutes or 50 minutes. Online chat counseling will occur at Counseling and Trauma Services encrypted chat site.
Email counseling offers another medium for accessing counseling services when you cannot be available for online chat. Once your email is received, an email reply will go out within 48 hours of receiving your message. Again, your message to Counseling and Trauma Services and the reply to you will be encrypted to protect your confidentiality.
How to Get Started with Email or Chat Counseling:
After you’ve acquainted yourself with our website and services, if you feel that online counseling with Counseling & Trauma Services is right for you, please click the “Get Started” link below. You will be guided through an easy, step-by-step process that will help you to get started with your email or chat online counseling.
Just to give you an idea of how the process works, after clicking on “Get Started,” I’ll first ask you to choose your method of counseling and provide some information about yourself. The information, along with your copy of an agreed upon “informed consent” will be submitted directly to me, your therapist, through a secure, encrypted form. After I receive this information from you, I will respond to you within 24-48 hours.
If you have decided to do email counseling, I will give you further instruction on how our first email counseling session will work and instruction on how to prepay for the service. After payment has been made, email counseling may begin immediately.
If you have decided to do chat counseling, I will first provide you with login and password information, some date/time options for our first chat counseling session (according to the information you provide to me beforehand, regarding your availability), and instructions for prepayment of services. You will then email me back to confirm an appointment. After pre-paying for your first session, you will go to the “Chat Counseling” page of this website at our scheduled time and login to meet me for our first chat counseling session.
To get started with chat counseling, click here to go to our General Contact web page in order to contact us and select “Schedule a Chat Session” from the “Subject” dropdown list.
Requirements for Online Counseling:
People who can benefit from online counseling need to be comfortable working with computers and on the internet. It is not necessary to be a “techie” but you need to be somewhat proficient in working with email and chat rooms. You should be able to read type and be comfortable using written words in order to express your ideas. It is not necessary to be a great speller or to always be grammatically correct.
It is very important that you read the Confidentiality information. Counseling and Trauma Services is placing a reminder here because you are responsible for the privacy of your messages on your own computer. This cannot be stressed enough that you should block, secure, or otherwise limit others from having access to our chat and email conversations. This is not for the benefit of Counseling and Trauma Services; but to benefit you. Please use a password or have any of our information saved in a safe, secure place.
Online Counseling is using the written word without the benefit of being face to face, with no body language cues. Occasionally this can result in misunderstanding by either the therapist or client. It is vital to inform the counselor of any problems during the therapy session.