Frequently Asked Questions About Online Therapeutic Play:
Q: How can I tell if a therapist is OK to work with online? Is there anything that tells me you've done the right training for this work?
Yes. I am a Certified Cyber Therapist. All therapists now working online as a result of COVID-19 and social distancing should complete a minimum level of training covering the very basics of ethics and safety. You’ll find that certified online therapists like me, who are members of ACTO have completed a more comprehensive level of training. Working online requires specific skills, awareness and competencies that take time and commitment to develop.
Q: How much does it cost?
My Therapy Services page gives details of my current pricing and the services you get in addition to the therapy sessions, but this can also vary depending on the source of funding. Do get in touch with me for more information.
Q: Why do you still charge 50% of your fee if you have to cancel a session? That seems unfair.
When I offer my services for psychotherapy, families have access to my support during an entire week, not just or the 45 minutes I see children for a session; so my fee covers all the work I do to support you and your child. I have made the decision to allow parents to contact me outside of sessions using emails, text messages and telephone calls. Many therapists and professionals do not offer this flexibility, and often, their pricing and cancellation policy reflects this.
If something happens where I need to cancel a session at very short notice, I will do my best to reschedule the session that week, but, if that is not possible, I reduce my fee to 50%. I will still need to be paid for the work that has already taken place that week for your child, and cover the costs of even more work that could need to be prioritized for the remainder of that week.
Q: Can’t you simply carry forwards any work you have done until the next week?
I offer on-going support, so it’s neither practical or ethical to delay valuable, time-sensitive work until the week after a cancelled session. I would not want to choose whether or not to answer calls and emails or decline a request for support, simply because it will mean engaging in work for which I will not be paid.
If you’re unhappy with the level of service I provide in any given week, let’s talk and see if there is something else which will be of value. Maybe a supportive telephone call or some help to find resources on an ongoing issue. I’m here to ensure that you feel supported not disadvantaged by the service I offer.
Q: What counts as a cancellation and what about school holidays?
Cancellations include situations where either you or I are unable to give sufficient notice that we need to miss a session. Sudden internet failure could lead to a cancellation; a pre-booked holiday would not. I don’t charge for sessions you miss because of holidays (either mine or yours), you just need to let me know and I will always let you know the dates when I am on holiday. Don’t forget, online sessions don’t rely on school being open, so if you want, I can also run sessions during school holidays, or you can treat school holidays as a holiday. Just let me know in advance.
Q: Do you use WhatsApp or Facetime?
I usually use a video platform called Zoom, although if it is not possible to use this on your device, I will consider using an encrypted platform such as WhatsApp. For online sessions at school I use Microsoft Teams or Google Meet.
Q: Do you work with adults?
I only work with clients under the age of 18 years. It's normal for me to provide feedback and a brief check-in with parents and carers supporting their children. Occasionally I offer a session or two with parents to discuss specific ways that they can reflect on their individual needs and support the work their children are doing in therapy.
Q: Is online therapeutic play suitable for any child?
It depends on the therapist, and also on childrens' needs and circumstances; that's why I ask for a range of in-depth information and assessments before we agree a treatment plan. Working online with me probably isn’t the best option for children who are very young (under 4 years old) or need a high degree of regulation in order to stay safe during their session. I work with online clients on a weekly basis, usually at their home, and occasionally at school. If you feel you would struggle to support a child for a regular online session at home over a number of weeks, then I’m not the right online therapist for you. I can sometimes offer face-to-face therapy as an alternative, subect to availability, but if you're set on working online, it's worthwhile looking at the ACTO website for a list of other online therapists who might be able to offer what you need.
Q What do I do next if I'm interested in online therapeutic play?
Take a look at my pages covering Online Therapy - there's more information about the actual sessions, in a format that you can also share with your child or young person. When you're ready, complete the registration / referral form and let me know about your concerns. When I get back to you, we can have a chat about working online and the other stages of the referrals process.