Online Counselling Form

If you wish to refer yourself to our team for online counselling, please read the following information and then fill in the form at the bottom of the page.

Sessions

One of our team will contact you soon to start the process. In the meantime we want to give you some information and get some more information from you. First of all we need to check out whether or not you want to work in real time (Instant Messaging/Video Conferencing) or you would prefer the reflective space of email sessions. We are wondering if you have already thought about this?

How online counselling works

E-mail

Email gives you the opportunity to reflect on the pertinent issues that you need to bring to counselling. You can write up to 1,000 words, or for the length of time you would be in a face-to-face counselling session, i.e. up to 50 minutes.  When your counsellor replies to you they will also work a set session time. If your counsellor can’t address everything in one session, they will write to what seems to be the most pressing issues, and highlight the ones that you might want to pick up in the next session.

You can send your email on whatever day of the week suits you, however your counsellor will respond to you at a set time and day, called session time. Your counsellor will read your emails in their session time and will respond to you. Therefore you will need to send your email prior to the session so that you will get a response by the end of the session. You will then be able to read your counsellor’s email whenever you like and send your next email back any time before the next session.

Please bear in mind that your counsellor will read and answer your counselling email only during your session time. If you feel you need urgent attention in between sessions we recommend you contact your GP, out of hours, or the Samaritans on 116 123 or on jo@samaritans.org

When you send an email you will receive a short email to tell you that your counsellor has received it. It would be helpful if you could also do this so we all know the technology is working. Your counsellor will then respond to you in full at the agreed session time, usually at the same time each week. Your counsellor will let you know if there may be a delay for any reason.

Instant Messaging

With Instant Messaging you will be able to have a real time, text based conversation with your counsellor, similarly to when you enter a chat room and talk with your friends by typing your messages in a live conversation.

You will have agreed a session time with your counsellor and will enter the Sight Loss Counselling Team chat room by clicking the link you will find in the invite email your counsellor has sent you. The first time you have a session, depending on your computer specifications, you might need to download some free software. If you are asked to do so please accept the download.

You will have agreed a session time with your counsellor and will enter the Sight Loss Counselling Team video conference site by clicking the link you will find in the invite email your counsellor has sent you. The first time you have a session, depending on your computer specifications, you might need to download some free software. If you are asked to do so please accept the download.

If you are a speech user we recommend you download the App version of the same software as this is more accessible.

Sessions will last up to 50 minutes.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing gives you the opportunity to engage in real time counselling via your computer or smart phone and see your counsellor/be seen by them. It is similar to using Skype, but it offers a more confidential platform than Skype.

You will have agreed a session time with your counsellor and will enter the Sight Loss Counselling Team video conference site by clicking the link you will find in the invite email your counsellor has sent you. The first time you have a session, depending on your computer specifications, you might need to download some free software. If you are asked to do so please accept the download.

You will have agreed a session time with your counsellor and will enter the Sight Loss Counselling Team video conference site by clicking the link you will find in the invite email your counsellor has sent you. The first time you have a session, depending on your computer specifications, you might need to download some free software. If you are asked to do so please accept the download.

If you are a speech user we recommend you download the App version of the same software as this is more accessible.

Sessions will last up to 50 minutes.

Technology

Sometimes technology fails. If you cannot get online for your session then you can call your counsellor. When we confirm the first session, your counsellor will give you their phone number.  It would be great if you would share your telephone number for the same reason. By sharing our numbers we hope we can try to mitigate technology failure.

As part of RNIBs Technology Support services, Technology Support volunteers are providing one-to-one support to people with sight loss in their homes, to help them to use their technology. If you are having trouble using your computer, device or getting online you can request a home visit by calling the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or emailing Online Today at onlinetoday@rnib.org.uk

Cancellations and missed appointments

Please let us know 48 hours in advance if you need to cancel or rearrange a session by emailing your counsellor on the email address that they give you.  Your counsellor will contact you as soon as they are able to re arrange the session, usually for the following week. 

Likewise, if your counsellor has to cancel a session for any reason you will be given as much notice as possible, but the email may come from an administrative person who has your contact details only. You will be asked later which address you would prefer to be contacted on should this happen.

If you miss a session without letting us know in advance, your counsellor will contact you to offer another appointment.  However, the missed appointment will count as one of the total number of sessions available. If you miss two appointments in a row without contacting us we will assume you no longer wish to use our service and will close your case. You will be welcome to come back to our service at a later stage should you wish so.

Confidentiality

Anything that you mention to us in sessions is treated as confidential to our service.  There are limits to this confidentiality if we feel there is a serious risk of harm to you or to someone else.  If this happened, we would try to ensure a person’s safety.  As far as possible we would try to do this in co-operation with you and with your consent.  For instance, we might help you to get the support you need.

Confidentiality works both ways so we ask you not to share transcripts or recordings of sessions with external parties. The Sight Loss Counselling Team legally owns all transcripts and materials related to the counselling we provide.

Security

The computers we use for online work are password protected and only used by your counsellor. If we work by email you will need to make privacy arrangements for the emails we exchange. Word documents can be encrypted and sent as an email attachment with a password sent separately by email. You might want to ask your counsellor how to do this.

Your counsellor will keep your counselling emails in a folder on their computer for the time you work together and for 6 months following. After that they will be deleted.

For live sessions with text and video we use Blue Jeans, which has a high level of encryption. It can be downloaded free to your computer.

All our computers have firewalls and reliable virus protection.

Data Protection

To run the service properly we keep client records in accordance with the Data Protection Act. 

Comments, Feedback & Complaints

We value feedback on our work as we aim to offer a high quality service and deal with any problems as quickly and sensitively as possible. It is also helpful for us to know if you have benefited from our service and in what way, if you wish to share this with us.

After completing a course of counselling with us you will receive an email inviting you to evaluate our service. We do appreciate your participation in this process. Also, you can send us your comments or complaints in any way that suits you: by telephone, in writing, in braille, via email, on tape, in person or through someone acting with your permission.

If it is not possible to resolve a problem informally with your counsellor you can send a formal complaint to Amanda Hawkins, Senior Manager of the Sight Loss Counselling Team at the following address:

Sight Loss Counselling Team, 105 Judd Street,London, WC1H 9NE

Telephone: 020 7391 2275

Email: amanda.hawkins@rnib.org.uk

Client Section

We now need you to tell us a bit about you to get started.

Confirmation * required
Contact details
(For emergency in case of computer or internet failure)
Please indicate how you would like to know if there needs to be a cancellation?: * required
Personal details

Counselling Communication

I would like us to initially communicate in the following way (tick the option you prefer- you can change it later if another method seems more suitable)

Communication options: * required

GP Contact Details

We need to have your GP contact details in order to comply with good practice standards. If you have any queries you can discuss them in your first session.

Important Information

Some of this information may feel difficult to share, please try and fill in as much as possible. If there are some things that feel difficult these could be discussed in the first session.

4. What other support do you feel you have at the moment?
6. Do you now or have you felt like harming yourself or taking your life? * required

Your Availability 

Finally, please let us know which days of the week you are available for Instant Messaging and Video Conferencing sessions.  Our service is open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm. There is some very limited availability of earlier or later sessions (from 8.00am to 6.00 pm)

Please bear in mind that the greater your availability the earlier we will be able to offer you our service.

The following days of the week:

It would be great if you could (electronically) sign this form, signalling agreement to what is written here. All this requires if for you to type your name in the box below. A counsellor will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Sight Loss Counselling Team counsellors are members of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). We adhere to their ethical guidelines for good practice.

There is information about our service on the RNIB website