Zoom Meetings – A User’s Quick Guide
During these difficulties presented by the COVID-19 virus, where face-to-face therapy sessions are not advisable for a while, we want to provide you with some practical information to help you understand what to expect with online sessions and also provide some tips to make sure the process runs smoothly.
We know that it might feel unsettling or uncertain to have some sessions online, but they can be as effective as meeting face to face, so long as we each follow the tips below. Our goal is to create a safe and contained space to work with you.
This guide serves as a short introduction for the use of Zoom for your therapy session. Zoom is a platform for video calls, conference rooms, and phone calls. It is one of the highest recommended platforms for clinical work due to the privacy, as it is encrypted, allowing both Therapist and client to maintain the confidentiality of our work together.
The benefit of Zoom is that as a client you don’t have to have an account and details of how to join your session, which can be done from a computer or smartphone follow.
This written guide also demonstrates the steps in joining from your computer. The steps are the same from your phone, it will just look a little different.
Joining a session
We’ve tried to simplify the joining process for everyone and reduce the number of message that need to be exchanged for you to join a meeting.
So, here’s how it works:
· You arrange a time to ‘meet’ your therapist.
· Prior to the meeting you log onto our web site http://www.malahidecounselling.com and click on the “If you have arranged an online session please click here” link.
· You will be then asked to enter a pin number [which your therapist will provide]. You only need to enter this the first time you log in. Please note that by entering the code you are accepting our updated terms and conditions which specifically prohibit the recording of any part of your session.
· Once you have entered the code you will be taken to an ‘Online Sessions’ page on our web site. Find your therapist and click on the blue button beneath their picture.
· The first time you use this link you will be prompted to download Zoom onto your phone or computer. It takes a few clicks to accept their terms and conditions and then installation is fairly fast.
If you have clicked on your meeting link before your Therapist has started the meeting, you will see the following message (or a variation on this):
Once the host (your Therapist) starts the meeting, you will be asked to enter a display name. We’d normally suggest using your first name or initials.
You can choose to join the meeting with video and audio (i.e. picture and voice) or voice only. We’d like to encourage you to choose the “with Video” option, as it means we can see each other as we speak, but this is entirely up to you and we’ll respect your preference.
Zoom gives you the option to check your computer or phone’s inbuilt audio prior to starting the meeting. You might prefer to use a headset for clearer sound.
Once you’ve chosen the option that suits you, you’re in!
If using video, you will see yourself and your Therapist on the screen. At the bottom of the Zoom window is a meeting navigation toolbar.
From this toolbar you can turn your microphone and video on or off. You or your Therapist can “Share Screen”, which allows them to show you something they have on their screen (this is useful for referring to worksheets or other documents).
You can also choose to type responses if you feel unable to talk by using the Chat button.
There is an option to record the session, but your Therapist will have this TURNED OFF. If you wish to record the session, you MUST inform your Therapist and get their agreement for this, as failure to do so is in breach of Confidentiality and Data Protection recommendations. We would also ask that you DO NOT post any recording/screen shots to social media for the same reasons.
When your session comes to an end, simply click “Leave Meeting” on the right-hand side of the toolbar to exit the meeting.
Please make sure that:
1. You have your computer or mobile set up with Zoom before the session commences. This includes having your microphone and video turned on – It can be useful to test your audio and video before your session, as you don’t want to spend valuable session time trying to sort any difficulties.
2. You consider where you will be at the time of your session. Practicalities like good connection to the internet is important, but it is also important you have the time and privacy to engage in your session. Your Therapist takes every precaution to protect the privacy of your session, and it is important you do your best to ensure you will not be disturbed during your session.
3. If you are having technical difficulties prior to or during your session, please advise your Therapist as soon as possible so you can move to one of your alternative choices to minimise session disruption.
4. Consider using earphones or a headset to enhance the privacy of the session and to block out other sounds that may be distracting.
5. Your computer or mobile is positioned at a sensible height so that I can clearly see your face and that the camera is at eye level. If several people will be participating, please make sure that I can see everyone clearly
6. If being disturbed is likely (e.g. due to children at home), please advise your Therapist of this at the start of your session – it can be helpful for them to be aware of you trying to manage these different things during your session time.
7. It is very easy to hear background noises e.g. animals and washing machines and kettles etc. so please make sure you are in a quiet location.
8. If you are using your computer, you have your mobile out of reach and with the sound muted so that it is not a distraction.
9. You do not have your back to a window or light – this can make it very hard for me to see you clearly.
10. That there is adequate lighting in the room you are in.
11. You have a box of tissues and a glass of water nearby.
12. You have not been drinking alcohol or taking drugs before any sessions where they may still be in your body.
13. You do NOT record the sessions. Your Therapist will not be recording any of your sessions UNLESS they have prior consent from you and this has been mutually discussed and agreed and a consent form has been signed by you.
14. You will NOT let anyone else listen in to any part of the online session (via phone or any other technical device or in person) without prior agreement with me.
15. You join the meeting at the agreed time.
Your Therapist will advise you of back-up options should internet connection fail or should technical difficulties make it difficult to engage in your Zoom session. This will usually involve your Therapist calling you on the phone number you’ve provided them with at the start of therapy.
As with face to face sessions, the confidentiality agreement we signed together still applies. In addition, my terms and conditions that you signed at the beginning of working with me are still applicable. Therapists typically require plenty of advance notice [as agreed with your Therapist] if you wish to cancel or postpone an agreed session and we request you adhere to this as much as possible.
By engaging in a remote therapy session as outlined above, you confirm that you have understood the information above and have had any concerns explained to you. You agree that you will NOT record any part of the session or let anyone else listen in to the session (via phone or any other device or means) without prior agreement with your Therapist.
We hope you find this guide helpful. Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask. Once we are on a call, if you still need assistance with the technology, we’ll do our best to guide you through it.
The Team, at Malahide Counselling & Psychotherapy
You can watch a video explaining how you join a meeting in Zoom here:
With thanks to Dr Colin Clerkin et al at www.YourPracticeCoack.co.uk for providing valuable information which was used to produce the above Guide.