Mental Health Bites

Safer Counselling Online

Counselling online is becoming increasingly common. Computers and the internet are completely ingrained in most people’s lives and so naturally, for many, this is where the search for support begins. In fact, 1627 people search online using the term ‘depression’ every hour!

My own journey in supporting those with mental health struggles actually began online about 10 years ago, supporting young people who self-harmed via a direct chat platform. Since then, interest in this modality of support has increased, services have expanded and this has become a rapidly growing method of service provision.

I have been offering Counselling online via Skype for some time. However, as with just about everything, as systems develop we learn better, more effective and safer ways to practice and as such, in the couple of years there has been chatter about the security – and therefore confidentiality – that Skype can offer.

Skype does encrypt any data which it stores (this means that your data is coded, and needs to be un-coded in order to be read) which is a good starting point, but is that enough for Counselling online? Perhaps not.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that more protection needs to be in place when dealing with the type of sensitive data we might be handling as online Counsellors. If we wish to ensure our clients confidentiality, we really need to be looking to use a platform that is HIPAA compliant. From this point on this blog could get really technical, and that’s not the purpose of this post, so let’s say that HIPAA compliance basically means medical grade confidentiality protection. In America being HIPAA compliant has now become the law for this type of service.

As a Counsellor who wants the absolute best for my client – which I’m sure any Counsellor reading this also wants – this lead me into seeking out more appropriate platform to offer online counselling, a search which brought me to the company PlusGuidance.

plusguidance

PlusGuidance is an online platform specifically tailored to counselling and therapy online and is a safe and secure system, following all the professional standards for confidentiality and data protection. If you’ve used Skype for online Counselling before, you’ll get the hang of this easily. I’m not getting paid to write this post, I’m sharing this company because I want all individuals seeking counselling online to get the best, most secure service, that is available to them.

You can access counselling with me via PlusGuidance by visiting my profile HERE, and if you are a counsellor wanting to learn more you can head over to the main page and chat with a member of the team directly.

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