Most frequent questions and answers
Online therapy is the delivery of therapy services via video chat, and sometimes telephone.
Some Benefits to Online Therapy Include:
- Convenience: commuting can be time consuming and difficult in the winter, limited mobility issues or physical disabilities will not be a problem, and appointments can be fit with ease into your busy schedule
- Comfort: you will feel less vulnerable surrounded by your familiar environment, and the worry of stigma around others knowing you are seeing a therapist will become less of a concern.
- Accessibility: therapists that specialize in the vast spectrum of eating disorders, body positivity/neutrality, and self-esteem can be difficult to find. Online therapy allows therapists to provide services provincially instead of just in their immediate area.
- Suitability: moderate to severe mental health concerns cannot be addressed properly in an online therapy setting. I will help you determine this during the introductory assessment session, but some examples might be those going through domestic violence, those at serious risk of harming themselves or others, or those that experience psychosis or dissociation.
- Technology: you must have regular and consistent access to a private computer, tablet, or telephone, although user friendly – you must have enough knowledge of technology to operate the secure communication platform, and sometimes there may be connection issues or lost signals.
- Interruptions: because I have less control over the external environment that surrounds you, interruptions may be more common than if you worked with a therapist in-office. It is important to allot private time free from childcare or pet care responsibilities if you would like to get the most out of your online session.
When preparing for an online session you should approach it in the same way you would an in-office appointment. Find a private, preferably sound-proof, area to set yourself up comfortably without distractions – turn off the tv, music, and phone (if you are using your cell phone for the session it is recommended to place it on a ‘do not disturb’ setting so text messages and phone calls will be silenced). To minimize interruptions, it is helpful to have childcare and petcare in place for the duration of your session.
Before the start of your first appointment, you will need to register with NousTalk – a secure platform that protects your privacy that I will be using for our sessions. Once registered you will have access to my online calendar to book your appointments. Follow this link to complete the registration: https://lifealignedwellness.noustalk.com
Some Helpful Tips:
- You can use headphones with a microphone for further privacy from anyone that may be in the surrounding area.
- Using a hardwired computer to the internet (using an ethernet cord) may provide a more stable connection and better privacy protection if this is possible. It is important to only use a secure connection to the internet if you are using Wi-Fi (if your router requires a password to access the internet, it is secure!).
- Check to ensure your internet browser is up to date so you do not have any connection issues to NousTalk. First time users will be prompted to “Allow” their camera and microphone on their device to connect with NousTalk – ensure you click “Allow” and not “Block” otherwise you will not be able to connect to your session.
- Close all open programs on the internet network you are using for your online session – programs such as Netflix, YouTube, FaceTime, Skype, and any other streaming applications may affect the quality of your video and audio stream by slowing down your internet connection.
- Remember that what is in the frame of your camera will be seen by me, your counsellor. Some people prefer to set themselves up against a wall so there will be a blank canvas behind them. Also try to face a light source instead of having one behind you so your face can be clearly seen.
- Giving yourself 5-10 minutes both at the beginning of the session to prepare yourself for the discussion ahead, and on the end of the session to decompress before continuing on with your day can be very helpful when working on difficult topics.
Privacy is one of our utmost concerns when working with clients online and for this reason we provide services via an online security encrypted platform called NousTalk that is compliant with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) legislation in Canada. You can read more about how your privacy is protected by NousTalk by clicking on the following link: https://noustalk.com/frequently-asked-questions/. *Please note that video apps such as Skype and Facetime do not have the required security features needed to protect your information and therefore it will not be an option for service delivery.
To further protect your privacy some steps you can take include: using a private sound-proof area and earbuds/headphones for video or phone sessions; you can use a privacy protector screen on your electronic device to help shield your texting or email session from potential on-lookers; logout of your account after each session, use a unique password for coaching that is different from your other accounts, and have a passcode set up that is needed to unlock your electronic device.
As registered social workers, we are only able to provide services where we are regulated. The regulatory body for social workers in Alberta is the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW).
We are working on offering virtual group sessions in the future: one for Mindful Eating Strategies for Binge Eating, as well as a yoga related body-love program. We may also look at offering a guided meditation group if the interest is there.