Instant Messaging Therapy

How does instant messaging counselling at Ashwood Therapy work?

Will I be able to access instant messaging therapy on my smartphone?

Read on for the answers to questions you might have about instant messaging counselling

Counselling on the go

If we have a query, a comment or a question, many more of us are choosing nowadays to log on to the Internet and communicate with companies and local services via ‘IM’ (or ‘instant messaging’) facilities.  This style of communication is quick, allows us to compose our thoughts before we type them, and connects us directly with the person we need to speak to without us even having to leave our living room.  Instant messaging therapy is a popular and effective way of accessing counselling in the digital age.  We may type out thousands of words each week on our smartphone; why not access support for your wellbeing or mental health challenges in the same way?  No need to travel, find your therapist’s office or book time off work to attend a session – your therapy can be carried out when and where you want it, and many people are choosing instant messaging therapy over other types of support.  There is no need for a webcam, as all communication is done through instant messaging text chat.  Visit Why Online Counselling? for more reasons to choose online counselling over traditional in-person therapy.

Vsee Messenger

At Ashwood Therapy | Online Counselling, Rob uses the secure VSee Messenger app to stay in touch with clients from around the globe.  VSee is used by hundreds of companies worldwide, and is widely regarded as one of the most secure telehealth apps on the market today.  This makes it well-suited to being used for online therapy where privacy is of course a must.  The app is available for Windows and Mac computers, along with iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets.  A ‘how to connect’ guide is emailed to all Ashwood Therapy clients on booking their therapy session to ensure that getting connected with the software is straight-forward and stress-free.

What happens in a VSee Messenger instant messaging therapy session?

Using the VSee Messenger app, you will be able to meet with Rob for an hour at a time and will instantly see what Rob has typed to you on your screen.  What you type back will be instantly sent to Rob and will appear on his screen.  At the agreed session start time, Rob will send a brief welcome message from his computer to your computer / mobile device.  This will pop up in a window on your screen, with a space for you to type your reply.  The conversation will continue like this, and Rob will give you plenty of time to compose your thoughts so that you can express just what’s going on for you and how you’re feeling about things.  One advantage of instant messaging therapy is that you can save a copy of the chat text, to review at a later date.  This is particularly helpful as it allows you to look back over your conversation with Rob at what was discussed during the session, allowing you to revisit your thoughts and how you were feeling as you talked through your situation.

Many counsellors advertise their sessions as lasting for 50 minutes.  Why does Ashwood Therapy offer 60-minute sessions?

Many therapists offer counselling sessions which last for 50 minutes.  This approach is known as ‘working to the therapeutic hour', and leaves 10 minutes between one client and the next in which the therapist can prepare for the following session.  As you may appreciate, there is a certain amount of 'getting into' a therapy session, and also an element of 'winding down' at the end of the session.  This period of gearing up as the session begins is of course a natural one, and as your therapist Rob has a responsibility to ensure that you are in a place at the end of the meeting to feel comfortable in logging off from the session, as you may have shared some difficult or challenging information.  By extending the session time from 50 to 60 minutes, this allows for more therapeutic time at 'relational depth', or - to use plainer language - a larger middle part of the session in which to work on what you have brought to that session to discuss.  Instant messaging therapy sessions at Ashwood Therapy last for a full 60 minutes, and you will be able to text chat privately with Rob for the whole of that time.  The online session booking system Rob uses ensures that there is always ample time between the clients he sees so that he can offer his full focus to the session at hand.

Does Ashwood Therapy offer unlimited instant messaging plans?

Can I pay my fees securely?

I feel I would like to know more about IM therapy.  What’s the next step?

Does Ashwood Therapy | Online Counselling offer ‘unlimited messaging therapy’?

Some online therapy services offer ‘unlimited messaging therapy’, where a counsellor responds to your comments and thoughts each day.  The sessions provided by Ashwood Therapy usually happen weekly, and are ‘live’ (you and Rob are online at the same, scheduled time).  This means that you can communicate with him in real-time with the dialogue taking place between you as if you were having a conversation in the same room.  There is a saying in the counselling profession that “the real therapeutic work happens between sessions”.  Rob doesn’t offer unlimited messaging therapy, as he feels that it is beneficial for you to have time between one session and the next to reflect on what has been discussed.  This gives you the opportunity to put any new ways of thinking or behaving into practice, and then to assess how these changes have impacted your wellbeing in the next session.  Therapy is a place where change can be talked through and explored, yet there needs to be time for that change to be lived out, experienced and then reflected upon.  Rob doesn’t feel that it is helpful to have instant, 24/7 access to a counsellor, as this may encourage dependency on the therapeutic relationship.  This can actually undermine progress, and can prevent the client from coming to an appreciation of their own ability to face and deal with any challenges that may present themselves between sessions.

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Cost and payment

Instant messaging therapy sessions are currently charged at £56 (GBP) for a full hour (60 minutes), and a 10% discount is available when a block of six sessions are purchased at one time.  Payment is made when you book your session slot though the Ashwood Therapy online booking facility.  Your payment is processed using the secure payment processor Stripe, this system allows you to pay for your therapy using a U.K. or international credit or debit bank card.  The 10% discount available on bookings of six sessions means that six instant messaging therapy sessions are currently charged at £302 (GBP).

The next step

A free, no obligation initial consultation can be booked so you can chat to Rob live about your current situation.  This 20-minute instant messaging consultation takes place using VSee Messenger, so is an opportunity for you to experience connecting online at first-hand.  Ashwood Therapy can also be contacted via the website secure contact form.  Rob will be happy to respond to any questions you may have as you decide whether accessing online counselling with Ashwood Therapy is right for you.  If, having made contact with Rob you would like to take things further, he will explain the induction process and how to apply for a full course of instant messaging therapy.