It’s never been easier to have a counselling session from the comfort of your own home. Matthew Sweet offers online counselling, as well as face-to-face counselling so you can choose what works best for you. Find out more about how online counselling can work for you here.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of online counselling?
We are currently living in some of the busiest times humans have ever known. Work, families, socialising, keeping fit, or hobbies are all time-consuming whether they are pleasurable or not. I believe that therapy should not be another time-consuming activity, the use of online therapy enables a greater world of convenience. There is no travelling to your session, finding a parking space or using public transport, you simply get comfortable and log into a remote therapy session. Likewise, if you are facing health, social anxiety or physical movement problems some therapy spaces can be inaccessible which can lead to difficulties obtaining face to face therapy.
The use of digital technology can be helpful for counselling as it enables the use of supplementing learning material. This can include diagrams, notes and visual aids that may benefit a clients understanding of their symptoms and diagnosis. I am a keen advocate of screen-sharing if you are comfortable with this.
Another consideration could be that of using a counsellor out of your local area. This may feel more comfortable for those who are concerned about confidentiality or the possibility of meeting your counsellor when out in the local community. I, like other well trained counselling professionals will contract for this possibility when starting to work with you.
As a professional who follows the ethical framework of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapists, (BACP), it is vital that I add that there are some disadvantages to look at. These include finding confidential environment where you can speak openly without being overheard, a place where you feel safe. It is also important to consider having a support service around you when the call ends. For some people, the end of a call can feel quite jarring and abrupt compared to walking out of a therapy room. There is also the consideration that – for some people – a reliable internet connection is not guaranteed.
What platform do you use for online counselling?
I use Zoom for remote therapy sessions. This allows you to access the sessions from desktops, mobile devices and tablets, in any convenient private space. I will create a private meeting room for you and this will be protected by a password.
What is the difference between counselling online and in-person counselling?
When there is a healthy counselling relationship, I feel that communication can be just as effective online as if we were physically sat opposite each other in a room. Online counselling gives you the opportunity to use my services from anywhere in the country. As a qualified and accredited practitioner with a BA (Hons), I can assure you that your assessment and counselling will be of the same high quality whether were are face to face or online.
I feel that it is important to add that during our engagement I will monitor your psychological and emotional wellbeing, either online or face to face. I shall assess the impact of our work and ensure that the service I provide stays as bespoke to your needs as possible. In particular, I risk assess and plan for potential emergencies in our initial contract and paperwork, this may vary between online and face to face clients.
I can also assure you that your privacy and data will be protected to the best of my ability at all times. Where possible my administration tasks are kept offline to help protect your confidentiality from third parties.
Can online therapy sessions deliver cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and trauma counselling?
There are many techniques which can be used online to help you with difficulties that you are facing. Previous clients that have used CBT online have been able to develop coping strategies to help them deal with problem behaviours, address their defence mechanisms and improve their mental health. By looking at behaviours in small chunks (rather than as one big problem), it is far easier to change negative thought patterns and improve how you feel. The use of online technology in a home or office environment allows easy access to diaries and note-taking material. As all this happens live I can use the online camera as a tool to observe your actions and reactions.
When someone has survived a traumatic event being in a known safe place, such as at home, can actually enable greater connection. The heightened state of stress involved in travelling to a counselling room in a new place, or in a town could be just too overwhelming. Encountering people or places which trigger unwelcome and hard-to-manage feelings and emotions can exacerbate trauma symptoms. In some circumstances working in an online space can help to remove these barriers.
Why I advocate online therapy
Over time I have found that as a professional I prefer to have online communication and relationships with other practitioners. I undertake my own counselling online and also have an online supervisor. My supervisor enables me to give you the best possible quality of counselling.
Despite my preference for working online, I am aware of the risks it can bring and the fact that some clients would prefer to have face to face contact. If you feel that you already spend too much time online, and need a break, perhaps face to face counselling with myself would better suit to your needs. I can also refer prospective clients to male and female practitioners who work predominantly face to face.
Bespoke Counselling Package
50-minute Integrative Counselling sessions (weekly or fortnightly).
Online, telephone or face to face appointments in Gandy Street, Exeter.
Only £49 per session
“Through the mindfulness practice with Matt, complemented with Yoga the transformation I feel in me is just outstanding. Having readjusted my approach to me and my life as a whole, I can honestly confess to loving the ‘new’ me. Being calmer, patient, receptive and therefore realising that I achieve so much more from my day to day living is possibly the most valuable tool we can give ourself”
Kerry Godley-McAvoy, Event & Account Management, Team Army Sports Foundation
“You will not find a more professional individual than this man. Incredible listener and responder. Thoroughly trained with an immense calmness and inviting warm personality. You will meet humanity personified head on! You will feel elated when you receive help and a listening ear. Recommend thoroughly.”
Rasvinder Virdee, Torquay Photo Centre
“Matthew is kind, non judgemental and holds a level of wisdom and observance not often seen in the field of therapy. He will give you the tools you need to change your life, you just need to take the leap of faith.”
Jack Howard, Weston Super Mare