Virtual Therapy Support

Therapeutic support delivered remotely. A good option to support people who live far away or prefer virtual or telephone based support.

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Pros

  • Proactive, positive nurturing of self help skills, that can be used throughout the week to remain calm and grounded
  • Opportunity to connect with therapist/mental health practitioner which provide stability and security
  • Can add social element by running group sessions - gives sense of solidarity
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Cons

  • Access to internet and technologies needed e.g. smartphones, tablets, communication platforms
  • Resolving support issues is challenging

Suitable for

  • People experiencing anxiety
  • People who are isolated
  • People that have a minimal level of English or more

Summary

This guidance wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of SOLACE, TimePeace and GOVAN Community Projects.

Virtual therapy involves providing evidence-based therapeutic support for people online or by telephone. Sessions can be held individually or in a group setting, depending on participants' needs. An example of individual therapy is 1-on-1 counselling sessions between a therapist or mental health practitioner and an individual.

Examples of group therapy include stress management groups which may cover topics such as stress reduction and help with sleep. As they are held online, people will require access to digital technologies with fast internet, and knowledge on using communication platforms.

Requirements

Staff/Volunteer requirements
  • IT support
  • Need credit card to top-up people's phones with data
  • Sessions held once a week for 1 hour
  • Before the session, text messages sent day before and on the day to remind participants
  • After the session, record attendance for monitoring and evaluation and ensure follow-up is given for any additional resources people need
Participant requirements
  • Crucial to provide participants with practical support to increase digital skills and confidence
  • Support is needed to set-up device, email addresses and how to use the apps needed
  • Need data/credit on phones
Staff/Volunteer training
  • Trained therapists or mental health practitioners needed to run sessions, skilled in running online therapy 
  • Administrative capacity needed to top-up phones, send reminder messages, record data
  • Interpretation may be needed for individual sessions or group sessions delivered in language groups.

TIPS

  • Some people may prefer individual therapy sessions rather than groups. Providing both and offering choice increases engagement.
  • Run an initial trial session and seek ongoing feedback from participants and staff/volunteers on how to improve the sessions in the future.

Feedback

“We have also learnt that our community members felt safer in engaging with individual therapeutic support rather than group support. “

GOVAN

“Lockdown has exacerbated the fragile situation many of our community members find themselves in. We experienced a spike in members seeking mental health support.”

TimePeace

“The main reasons for seeking therapeutic support are the impact of hotel accommodation/support worries, the asylum process, family difficulties, mental health deterioration and reductions in support, isolation and the impact of coronavirus.”

GOVAN