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What is Online Counselling and Life Coaching?

Online counselling, psychotherapy or life-coaching takes place on the internet. It is counselling, therapy and coaching that happens via Skype, secure chat rooms, secure email and even via telephone.

Who is it for?

Research suggests that the benefits of online counselling are:

Continuity:
For individuals wishing to continue their counselling sessions with the same therapist or coach when:

  • Living temporarily overseas
  • About to move
  • Frequently travelling for business or pleasure
  • Working in the travel and tourism industry and are constantly on the move: Tour guides, staff on airlines, super-yachts, cruise ships, etc.
  • In fact anyone who for any other reason cannot continue with their regular counselling sessions.

Access:
For individuals who have difficulty accessing a face-to-face therapist or coach:

  • Ex-Pats - looking for counselling from someone who speaks their language and understands their culture (someone ‘from home’).
  • People with mobility issues
  • People who are too busy to commute to a therapist's office
  • People  whose schedule varies from week to week so that they need scheduling flexibility in order to commit to therapy or coaching
  • People  living in areas where finding a counsellor is difficult
  • People  who are uncomfortable around other people, but think they might be able to open up in a chat room with a caring therapist
  • Couples separated geographically (live in different towns or countries) but who want to work as a couple on their marriage or relationship.

Privacy:
For individuals who:

  • Live in a community or work in a field in which it may be important not to reveal that they are in therapy or the issues that they need to talk about
  • Find it difficult to leave work without explaining where they are going.

How Does it Work?

How do we get in Touch With Each Other?

I use the following methods to communicate with clients:

  • Skype - voice or video (not text)
  • WhatsApp - voice only (not text)
  • Telephone - call in to a local number (you won't be paying international rates)

What Does it Cost?

  • Payment per 55 minute session: R910.00 | £100.00 | €130.00
  • Please note: Consultations are for 55 minutes. If terminated by you prior to this time, the full charge is nevertheless payable.

How do I pay?

Clear and simple instructions will be provided to you once we have agreed on which option you prefer. All payments are made upfront and paid via EFT.

How do I get Started?

Step 1: Make Contact

  • Please use the online form to get in touch with me.
  • Please be aware that all consultations take place in English.

Step 2: Set up appointment

  • I’ll contact you to set a date and time for the first session (which is confirmed when you return the signed contract and make payment).

Step 3: Sign up

  • You complete and return the contract
  • You pay up front or make an advanced payment. Please see “What Does it Cost?

Step 4: Begin our Sessions

  • At the agreed upon date and time of our session we will connect using your preferred method of communication. Please see “How do we get in Touch With Each Other?
  • If there is a technical problem, we will follow ‘Plan B’ for connecting (see Frequently Asked Questions).
  • Sessions are of 55 minutes duration.
  • At the end of our session we will take a few extra minutes to set the date & time of our next session. We will continue in this way until we agree to end our sessions.

FAQ

About online counselling, therapy and coaching

Is online ok?

Whilst using the internet as a mode of communication may have seemed somewhat unconventional a few years ago, online counselling is an effective, confidential and convenient alternative to face-to-face sessions and is quickly becoming an alternative source of therapy. Online counselling is not a replacement for traditional therapy, and it is not the most suitable or appropriate approach for some people and/or issues. It is, however, a useful medium in which to gain support and tease out issues that are holding us back or causing difficulties in our lives.

Online counselling offers the same support that you would receive when talking to a therapist in person. It allows you to feel safe and to explore your thoughts freely in a supportive and non-judgmental way and work out how to move forward.

What are the advantages of online therapy, counselling and life-coaching?

  • Online Counselling provides greater accessibility to, and choice of, professional therapists and coaches worldwide (they are no more than a few clicks away!)
  • You can receive online counselling from anywhere in the world – as long as you have access to the internet – using mobile devices
  • You can arrange your online counselling session to fit in with your busy schedule. A 50-60 minute gap, such as a lunch break, is sufficient for an online session
  • No travelling, with wasted travel time, is necessary
  • You can access online counselling conveniently from your own home or work place
  • Online counselling is more confidential because you will not be seen entering or leaving a counsellor’s premises.

What are the disadvantages of online counselling, therapy and coaching?

  • A fast enough internet connection is not always available
  • You may not develop the same level of rapport with the counsellor/therapist as you could when having face-to-face counselling
  • Valuable ‘process’ opportunities are lost. Travelling to a session often provides the time and space to think about the sessions – what you are going to say/what was said – which is more useful than most people realise
  • Some people and issues will respond better to face-to-face counselling.

About Claire

Full details are available here.  In summary...

My qualifications & experience

  • As a psychologist I have been in private practice since 2000.
  • As a life, career and executive coach I have been in practice since 2009.

My approach

I use an eclectic approach in my work - using the best approach for a particular client, based on their particular challenge and set of circumstances.

I draw mostly from Psychodynamic, Humanistic and Existential approaches. I also draw on the theory of Transactional Analysis and Attachment Theory. I sometimes combine this with practical life-coaching techniques. This combination means that counselling and therapy with me is generally faster than a lot of the other therapy models allow.

I work successfully with individuals, couples and groups.

What age group do I work with?

I work with adults over the age of 18 years. 

What sorts of issues can you contact me about for online counselling?

I have experience and an interest in working in the following areas: 

  • Anger management
  • Depression and low mood
  • Grief and bereavement
  • Interpersonal skills development – EQ skills, communication skills, assertiveness, conflict and negotiation
  • Low self-esteem and lack of assertiveness
  • Personal growth – helping people live more effectively; gain confidence
  • Relationship building – giving couples the communication and interpersonal skills to enhance and strengthen their relationships
  • Relationship breakup, separation or divorce (for individuals but not for couples)
  • Retirement – planning retirement from a psychological perspective
  • Retrenchment – helping individuals adapt to retrenchment and view the future as a new opportunity
  • Self-esteem counselling – helping individuals improve the way they see themselves
  • Sleep difficulties and insomnia
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Trauma counselling (Acute Anxiety Disorder and PTSD)

Logistics/Arrangements for sessions

Cancelling a session

You may of course cancel a session that we have scheduled. If you give me more than 24-hours’ notice you will not be charged for the cancelled session, and you will be credited for a future session.

Rescheduling a session

If something comes up and you need to change the time and date of our session, please give me at least 24-hours’ notice. If you cancel within less than 24-hours of a session you will be charged for the session.

Using Skype

I use Skype for my online sessions. Skype is really easy to download and to use and provided you have a relatively fast internet service and a webcam and microphone. Skype counselling, therapy or coaching can be conducted on any type of compatible mobile device – computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone etc. To find out more about Skype just click on the following link http://about.skype.com.

Using WhatsApp

If you prefer to use WhatsApp to talk to me you can. WhatsApp is really easy to download and to use provided you have a relatively fast internet service. WhatsApp counselling, therapy or coaching can be conducted on any type of compatible mobile device – tablet or mobile phone. To find out more about WhatsApp just click on the following link https://www.whatsapp.com/  

Dialling-in to a local number

For those who may not have an internet connection, or have a connection which is too slow for Skype and/or WhatsApp, I also offer counselling sessions using the telephone. Telephone counselling offers most of the benefits of online counselling.

The good news is that you don’t have to make expensive international calls, instead you can dial-in to a local number and be charged local rates.  The number will be provided to you before our first session.

What happens if I cannot connect to the internet?

We use ‘Plan B’ …

If you experience a problem with your internet connection and cannot connect with me using our agreed upon method, at our agreed time, please call me on the local dial-in number, so that we can continue the session via telephone.
If I cannot get online, I will call your mobile number to reschedule.
If you fail to show online and don’t make contact to let me know what's happening, you will be charged for the session.  See Cancelling a Session (above).

Invoicing

Please note that if you wish to claim back from your medical aid (South African’s only) you will need an invoice from me completed with certain medical codes. (ICD-10 codes). Please request this.

Medical aid cover

South Africa - Psychotherapy and counselling are both covered by medical aid. I charge under the rate that most medical aids will cover.
You must deal directly with your medical aid by submitting my invoice together with your proof of payment in order to claim a benefit that they offer. Please note that not all medical aid schemes pay psychologists fees in full.
Please see the “Medical Aid Rates for Psychologists” information on my website.

Other countries - As I am only registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and no other psychologist professional body, it is unlikely that you will be able to claim from medical aid for our sessions.

About PROFESSIONAL counselling, therapy and coaching

Why use a Professional?

Many people who contact me, ask me why they should pay for a professional when they “just need advice” or are “just looking for someone to talk to.”

There are a number of reasons why a professional might be a better option than a friend or volunteer counsellor.

  • Professional counselling or therapy offers a lot more than just an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. A professional is trained to help you understand why you are thinking, feeling and behaving as you are and to help you make or bring about the changes that you want to make.
  • There are plenty of people out there who will tell you what to do.  You only need to talk to friends or colleagues and they will all have their advice and opinions. Or you can just click on a site where someone will tell you instantly whether to leave your spouse, quit your job, or skip the operation. But do you really think it’s wise to have a stranger - who doesn’t know you and whose qualifications are unknown - to make major decisions in your life?

A professional is trained to really get to know you, to help you make the most of your strengths and to guide you to make the choices that only you can make. A professional will empower you to take control of your own life.

  • Many people worry that they are “crazy” or that “there is something wrong with me”. A professional in a recognized discipline like psychology or social work is trained to know the difference between health and pathology and to help effectively whether your trouble is mild or severe.
  • A professional is bound by a professional code of ethics. All personal information shared during consultations is strictly confidential and in accordance with the code of ethics. You cannot trust anyone else to take confidentiality as seriously. Volunteer counsellors often don’t!

If you can afford it, good, competent, professional help is well worth the cost.

Why do I have to pay?

Therapy or counselling by a registered psychologist, counsellor or social worker is a skilled service like those offered by other professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and dentists. When you become a client of such a professional, you are paying for their training, experience and professional ethics.

How do I know if I need counselling, therapy or coaching?

When emotions or problems start to interfere with your relationships, career or life in general, it is advisable to seek help.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work to try to cope on our own - and it is not necessary to worry and struggle when help is so readily available. Often, all it takes is to work with a professional who can help you stand back from the situation and see the way forward again.

My role will be to help you look at your life with a new perspective, and to help you develop the necessary thinking, strategies and coping skills to overcome the difficulties you face.

What if I need medication?

Psychologists are not qualified to prescribe medication, but if I think that medication would be of benefit to you, and you are comfortable with taking it, I will encourage you to see your Homeopath, GP or a psychiatrist. They will make their own diagnosis and prescribe a remedy or medication for you.

If you are already on medication, I would be happy for you to continue to take it. Again, I will encourage you to be monitored by a medical professional.

This is exactly what would happen if you were seeing me face-to-face.

Which is the best approach - counselling, coaching or therapy?

It depends on the issues you are struggling with. Generally, therapy looks at issues in a more complex, deeper way than counselling or coaching.

As a registered psychologist and certified coach I am able to offer you the full range of services and will be able to make recommendations to you. We will decide together which approach is most suitable and appropriate for you. 

Is counselling and therapy private and confidential?

Yes it is…. but only if you are using a professional bound by a professional code of ethics.

As I am a psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) all personal information shared during consultations is strictly confidential and in accordance with the ethics of the HPCSA. There are however three exceptions which are:

  • In the event that you have signed a release of information (Given me permission to tell a third party a specific piece of information).
  • In the event that you are considered to be at risk of harming yourself or others.
  • In the event that you reveal sexual abuse of a child.

Your case may be discussed with a supervising psychologist, but all personal particulars will be withheld.

Online privacy and the use of cookies

Like most websites, this website uses cookies set by Google Analytics, which are used to collect information about how visitors use the site. The cookies collect information anonymously, such as the number of site visitors, from where they came to the site and the pages they visited etc. None of this information enables identification of individuals.

Should you wish to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites that you visit and which use Google Analytics, you can do so by visiting this part of Google’s website http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.

How many sessions will I need?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. Of course you want to know what you are letting yourself in for, in terms of time and money, but it really depends on your issues and your willingness to work on them.

I do not offer ‘advice’ or a quick solution to your problem. My job is to empower you to make life decisions that are right for you and to give you some tools for doing so. How long we work together will depend to a great extent on what we decide our goals are and what other issues come up in the course of treatment.

As a general guide, 6 sessions is considered to be extremely brief, but may be all you need to feel a lot better. 12-18 sessions is a more probable timeframe, but a complex or chronic (long-term) condition may require more time.

Usually after an initial consultation, I am able to estimate how many sessions may be required. We reassess when we get to the end of them and if we see the need to continue, we can. Usually it becomes clear to both therapist and client when it is time to stop therapy or counselling, so you don’t need to worry about paying for more sessions than you need.

What should I expect from the sessions?

Generally the first session involves my gathering some routine information and getting a general overview of the ‘presenting problem’ - the reason you wanted to see a therapist or coach.

I believe that we are all individuals and so I do not use just one approach when working with clients, but rather use what is known as an ‘Eclectic approach”. That is, I use the best approach for a particular client, based on their particular challenge and set of circumstances.

I allow the sessions to be led by what you the client wants to bring to the sessions, but may suggest a different agenda if I feel it is in your best interests to do so. 

I do offer a free, no obligation, 15 minute session on Skype for you to experience how an online counselling session might feel for you.  It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go into any therapeutic work with you at that time, but it will give us an opportunity to talk about and experience how we might work together to bring about the changes you want.

If you want to take up this offer, just fill in the form and I will respond to set up a time with you.

Free resources

Download my worksheets and posters

Test yourself:

I have a growing list of articles… read them here

Testimonials

“Before working with Claire I was cynical about seeking professional help from a psychologist.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.
She was an incredible support for me through some very difficult and life changing decisions.
I’m very sure that I would have not got through what was a difficult period in my life without her.
She bought clarity and structure to my thinking and kept me firmly on track whenever my confidence or self-belief waivered - even after I left South Africa and we continued our consultations via Skype video.
3 years on, I’m in a massively different (and infinitely happier!) personal space and Claire played a huge role in that.
I would not hesitate for a second in recommending her.
She is an incredibly talented psychologist, with a true gift for a profession that she is clearly very passionate about.”
Kellie

“Claire had been very helpful from a guidance and mentorship perspective through many challenging situations I have found myself in.
I desperately wanted to continue my sessions with Claire, but was not sure how we could make it work with moving to Australia. We trialled this by using Skype, as Claire had success with clients in the UK, and even with the 8-hour time difference, it worked.
Using Skype can take some getting used too initially, but it really is the way of the world now in terms of communication. It was just as beneficial as a face-to-face session and I always came away feeling like I could overcome and conquer anything.
If it wasn't for my Skype sessions with Claire I would not have been as successful in dealing with my relocation to Australia and taking on a whole new life… with a "step" son. Claire is good at making me see situations from different angles and perspectives and is very honest and objective and made me remove myself from the clutter and noise I was surrounding myself with. My confidence has definitely grown and I have managed to be far more decisive and objective in my day to day feats.
Claire has been remarkably supportive, gentle, compassionate yet skilfully adept on helping me focus on what is really important to me, what stands in my way and what the next steps are to accomplish my goals. She is a great listener and I always feel heard.
I highly recommend Skype or face-to-face sessions for therapy, life coaching and mentorship. It is well worth dedicating to the process and investing in yourself.”
Catherine

Feeling suicidal?

Please note that this service is not suitable for suicide emergencies.  If you, or someone you know, is feeling suicidal, please visit the SOS page for a list of organisations to contact.

SOS contacts