A Guide to Using Skype for Therapy

A Guide to using Skype for Therapy:

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.

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  1. Consider 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 to maximise image clarity.
    2. Clean your camera lens so that you can be easily and clearly seen
    3. 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.
    4. 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
    5. 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.
  2. Ensure that your device is fully charged or plugged into power
  3. Ensure that you have a good broadband connection and that other members of your household are not using large amounts of bandwith e.g. watching online videos or gaming, to prevent the picture or audio stalling or freezing (for health reasons consider using alternatives to wireless wifi and mobile phone connections e.g. an ethernet cable plugged into your router, with an ethernet to USB adapter to your device if required.  However, in the event of a last minute landline failure, mobile phone data can support SKYPE to help you avoid a cancellation)
  4. Try to set your camera up so that the field of view is fairly wide (ideally head to waist or wider).  For more complex, in-depth psychotherapy work you may need to create an even wider view of your room (this will be explained during your sessions).
  5. 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.
  6. Turn off ALL distractions from:
    1. Phones (including vibrating mode)
    2. Alarms
    3. Email and social media notifications
    4. Doorbells
    5. Shut off ambient noise from open windows, music etc
  7. Ensure that your session isn’t going to be interrupted by anyone entering the room (including pets) or knocking on the door, or overheard by anyone, so that we can fully concentrate on your needs.
  8. Use a soft chair like an armchair, rather than a hard office chair and desk.  It’s important to make your environment as peaceful and comfortable as possble, 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 can make sessions feel tense and counter-productive.  Walking around or being in a vehicle or public place are inappropriate for therapy work.
  9. Keep your notebook and pen to hand, and your diary for appointments
  10. Ensure that your Skype audio and video are working properly at least a few minutes prior to your session to avoid delays and loss of your session time.
  11. Keep a clock or watch in front of you to help you keep track of time in order to pace your session.
  12. Finally, at the 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 immediately.

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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