A Guide to Using Skype for Therapy

A Guide to using Skype for Therapy:

I use SKYPE exclusively for psychotherapy sessions as it is encrypted and more private than other video call platforms. It’s important that your sessions via Skype are a good, peaceful space and a time that you look forward to each week and take seriously. Making your sessions physically comfortable, private and confidential both for yourself and your therapist is crucial, as it allows either side to feel at ease enough to speak freely and fully concentrate for an hour without distraction.

  • APPOINTMENT CONFIRMED?: First ensure that your SKYPE session has been properly booked!  Namely, that you have pre-paid well before your session starts.  You should also have sent confirmation of your payment well before 10pm on the day your SKYPE appointment was offered and received a confirmation of the booking from me.  Payment details can be found HERE.
  • COMFORT: Use a soft chair like an armchair, rather than a hard office chair and desk.  It’s important to make your environment comfortable as possible, and that you are in a relaxed posture during your session, much as you would be in a face-to-face session.  Sitting for an hour or longer on a hard seat or in a busy environment will make sessions feel tense and counter-productive.  Walking around or being in a vehicle or public place are inappropriate for therapy work.
  • NOTEBOOK: Keep your notebook and pen to hand, and your diary for appointment
  • CLOCK: Keep a clock or watch in front of you to help you keep track of time in order to pace your session.
  • EQUIPMENT CHECK: Ensure that your device is fully charged or plugged into power and that your SKYPE audio and video are working properly a few minutes before the session
  • LARGE SCREEN: Using a device with as large a screen as possible will improve your experience of the session.  By contrast, a small screen e.g. a phone, will impact upon your experience and diminish your sense of relationship with the therapist.
Keep your camera in a fixed, stable position with at least a head-to-waist view, if not wider, as you would be seen if attending a session in-person. Being able to see the whole you is important for the kind of psychotherapy I do.
  • WIDE ANGLE: Try to set your camera up so that the field of view is fairly wide as in the image above (ideally head to waist or wider).  For more in-depth experiential psychotherapy work you may need to create an even wider view of your room (this will be explained during your sessions).
  • ZERO INTERRUPTIONS:
    1. There should be no other people present in the room or coming in and out of the room
    2. Phones should be powered off to avoid signal interruption (including vibrating mode)
    3. Alarms should be turned off
    4. Email and social media notifications off
    5. Doorbells off if possible
    6. Shut off ambient noise from open windows, music etc
    7. Pets should be kept out of the room and quiet
Sessions should be free from interruptions of all kinds, including pets and other people
  • QUALITY of the other person’s experience:
    1. Use a well lit room free from visual distractions, with the strongest light illuminating your face, not the background.  Sitting facing a window is ideal for maximising image clarity.
    2. Use the best quality camera and microphone that you can obtain. Being heard and seen clearly will enhance the session quality.
    3. Clean your camera lens so that you can be easily and clearly seen
    4. Ensure that your audio is clear and loud enough to avoid you having to raise your voice or strain to hear your therapist. This will make communicating easier and more relaxed.
    5. Keep your camera in a fixed, stable position at eye level and avoid hand-held or lap-supported devices as movement of the device creates visual and audible distractions
    6. If you have a cluttered or messy room, consider using Skype backdrops that blur the background  (Images of people, animals etc are very distracting and thus not appropriate backgrounds for doing therapy on SKYPE) Go to Skype settings > audio and video > select Blur.
  • CALL ME ON TIME: Finally, at the exact appointment time (UK time – GMT) call me to start the session.  There is a yellow button below and on the ONLINE THERAPY page of the website that allows you to link to therapyglasgow.com via SKYPE. 
    • Don’t wait for me to contact you, and if you have problems starting, email or send me a SKYPE message right away.
Skype button

ONLINE THERAPY TERMS: You are responsible for ensuring that minimal working conditions for your SKYPE therapy sessions are in place prior to the session commencing.  I reserve the right to end a therapy session early where your environmental conditions render it impossible to conduct therapy within my professional boundaries, or where conditions are so distracting, uncomfortable or compromising of confidentiality, that they undermine the therapeutic process e.g. other persons coming in and out of the room, inappropriate location, extraneous noise, interruptions or noise from kids, pets etc.

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Using SKYPE for Couples, Family and Group Therapy

  • Above: video tutorial for SKYPE video conference call for MAC
  • Above: video tutorial for SKYPE video conference call for WINDOWS