April 18, 2024

Online Counselling: How to Get Started

I'm Ash montgomery
Counsellor & Therapy Dog Handler
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Telehealth Counselling on the Sunshine Coast

Here at Golden Thread Therapy, we aim to deliver high quality mental health care through both in-person and online counselling. I’m Ash Montgomery, a solo practitioner who works with my therapy dog, Beanie. (If you join us online, you’ll notice Beanie often snoozing away in the background!)

Online counselling makes therapy more accessible and convenient. In today’s busy world, it’s never been more helpful to have the option accessing therapy remotely. Rapidly advancing technology means that the days of tech glitches are almost over. It’s like we’re in the same room, but with the convenience of being able to jump online without disrupting your day.

I get it: Life happens, stuff gets in the way. When you’re already feeling depressed or anxious, motivation can take a dip. Navigating to a new place and contending with things like parking and waiting rooms might feel like too much. Your schedule might not let you duck out for hours at a time. If you’re in this bucket, now’s the time to invest in online therapy so you can start feeling better sooner. It’s never been a better time to invest in online therapy.

What does Telehealth Counselling look like?

Telehealth counselling, or online therapy, is a virtual therapy option that connects clients with professional counsellors via video or phone. You can choose which option suits you best. Some people prefer chatting away on the phone without video, while others prefer the face-to-face aspect of video therapy sessions.

All you need is an internet or phone connection, a smartphone or laptop, and some comfort and privacy. Choose a comfortable space in your home where it’s unlikely that other people will overhear you.

From there, you’ve just got to make yourself a cuppa, get comfortable, and click ‘start’.

Is Telehealth Counselling secure?

Great question! Here at Golden Thread Therapy, we use online Telehealth platforms that meet legal standards of privacy and security. We process your data with due care, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, including Australia’s Privacy Act 1988.

The same consideration that we put into making sure your sessions are confidential in person has extended to making sure they’re confidential online. Your data is managed only for the purpose of providing you with counselling and kept secure to the highest standard. We make use of a variety of additional security measures to ensure your confidentiality is protected.

What are the benefits of online counselling?

Whether you choose to book in for online counselling or online psychology, you will experience a high level of convenience and comfort. If you’ve ever struggled to book in health care sessions among a busy calendar, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief at being able to eliminate travel time and stop fussing with things like transport and parking. Therapy can be easily scheduled into your day around your other obligations. You no longer have to worry about what to rearrange or how to ask your boss to let you duck out for a couple of hours. Parents can easily care for young children in their own comfortable environments while being able to attend online therapy. You can also continue session regularity no matter where you might be located, which is an excellent option for people who regularly travel for work or leisure.

Some clients find that attending therapy from home lends an additional emotional comfort, enjoying being able to provide creature comforts while accessing mental health care online.

In addition to these benefits, Telehealth counselling services enable us to reach people located in remote and rural areas who may otherwise be unable to book in for therapy. This can be especially helpful in small towns, where residents already all know too much about each other! Rural or remote residents can rest assured knowing that online therapy enables complete privacy and eliminates any risk to confidentiality.

Additional Telehealth Therapy Benefits

Online therapy also provides an expansion in services and modalities available. If you want to try a specific service like EMDR therapy but haven’t been able to book in locally or otherwise don’t have the time for in person services, you can schedule EMDR specialist sessions with a psychologist or counsellor online. Likewise, if you enjoy the therapeutic relationship with a particular therapist who isn’t located near by, Telehealth counselling means you can continue to work with that practitioner. This also comes in handy when you or your therapist relocates. If you find online therapy suitable, there’s no need to disrupt your therapy relationship and you can keep going with what works best for you.

If you’ve ever been worried about attending therapy due to feeling stigmatised, online therapy can offer additional privacy. It’s our aim to help make therapy as accessible as possible for every individual. If this helps you feel more comfortable, online therapy might be the path for you.

Evidence-Based Efficacy of Telehealth Counselling

We value offering a high quality of evidence-based care. Online therapy, also known as telehealth counselling, has demonstrated considerable efficacy, validated through extensive research and positive client feedback. Studies published in journals like National Library of Medicine have demonstrated that online therapy can be as effective as traditional face-to-face sessions (Giovanetti et al, 2022) for treating a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and stress. Major mental health organisations endorse online counselling, recognising it as a legitimate and effective form of mental health care. This mode of therapy provides clients with the flexibility to receive care from the comfort of their own homes, ensuring continuity of care for those who travel frequently or have relocated. By leveraging technology, online therapy breaks down geographical barriers, making mental health support accessible to a broader audience regardless of their location.

How to Book Online Counselling at Golden Thread Therapy

We’ve made booking online therapy at Golden Thread as easy as possible. All you need to do is head to the online booking calendar and choose a time that works for you. No need to worry about any back and forth availability checking – it’s all there in the online calendar, and we’ll immediately confirm your booking.

From here, if you are a new client we’ll email you a link to complete your intake forms. In these forms, you can share as much or as little as you like about what’s prompting you to book in and your background so far. You’ll also find a detailed consent form to sign and submit online.

We’ll send your custom link for online therapy sessions, and all you need to do is click on the link at your online therapy appointment time to connect with your counsellor. You’ll find the platform user-friendly and accessible. We’ve taken time to ensure that it meets high standards of security to protect your confidentiality. If you prefer phone only, simply let us know and we’ll give you a call at your session time.

In summary, all you’ve gotta do is book your time online, submit your intake forms, and click the link to log on or pick up the phone. It’s that easy!

Am I eligible to access Telehealth Counselling?

In Australia, Medicare provides therapy rebates for a limited number of sessions with Medicare-registered professionals such as psychologists or social workers using a Mental Health Care Plan referral from your GP. Unfortunately, at this stage Medicare does not cover mental health counselling with counsellors. (We’re hoping this changes in future to help make health care much more accessible.)

Because of this, you’ll find that counselling services are usually priced much lower in order to keep therapy accessible. The Australian Psychological Society’s recommend rate with a psychologist is $300 per 50 minutes, and Medicare rebates are currently $93.35. This leaves psychology clients approximately $206 out of pocket.

At Golden Thread Therapy, 60 minute online counselling sessions are $150. Valid government concession card holders can access reduced rate counselling for $110.

Fortunately, there are a heap of amazing practitioners in Australia offering mental health care online, and you have the opportunity to try out one or a few to find what suits you best. It’s important that during online therapy you feel a positive rapport with your counsellor or psychologist, and we encourage you to check in with yourself to ensure therapy is meeting your needs and feels like the right therapeutic match.

Do I need a GP referral or Mental Health Care Plan for Online Counselling?

If you’re interested in booking in for online counselling with a counsellor, you don’t require a GP referral or mental health care plan. However, we are available to work within your care team and communicate with your GP as much as you choose in order to provide a high quality of care.

We’re also registered with a number of private health insurance funds. This is another way therapy can be more accessible for some clients. Check out our Pricing page for more information.

What equipment do I need for attending therapy online?

Thankfully, very little equipment is required to attend telehealth counselling. You only need a smartphone or computer with a camera and microphone and a stable internet connection. If your internet connection isn’t stable, you can choose to attend via phone instead to prevent lagging.

It’s also ideal for your space to be as private as possible. This can be tough with roommates or family around. If you’re having trouble, consider other parts of your home or jump in the car for additional privacy in your contained space.

Online Therapy Bookings and Contact Details

To book your telehealth therapy session, simply click here to access our online booking calendar and reserve your appointment.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or thoughts at hello@goldenthread.com.au or text us on 0435 160 577.

It’s totally normal to have questions before booking in for your first online counselling session. Please feel free to get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Online Therapy Fees

Click here to find out more information about telehealth counselling costs and our private health insurance registrations.

Your Online Counsellor

Click here to find out more information about your online therapist, Ashleigh Montgomery. Bonus info about our gorgeous therapy dog Beanie, who you’ll see popping up in the background during telehealth therapy sessions!

Get Started with Telehealth Counselling Today

Since you’re reading this, I want you to know I’m so glad you’ve made your way here! Whether you book online counselling with us at Golden Thread Therapy or elsewhere, take a moment to thank yourself for caring enough to find out more information and consider getting started with online therapy.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, or other mental health concerns, I encourage you to get started today. Take the first step: book an online therapy session with us or keep looking to find a great alternative. All that matters is that you’re moving forward and valuing your mental health.

Head to our online calendar to book your initial online counselling session or in-person session with us on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. I look forward to meeting you!

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