Living Therapy - Counselling, Training and Supervision in Southampton Living Therapy - Counselling, Training and supervision in Southampton

Online Counselling Software Set-up

This is a guide to help you set up and use the software for online counselling on your PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone or other devices

The Basics

It helps to understand the basic principles behind the technology that makes online counselling possible. If you know the basics, then your choice of software will be better informed.

Online counselling requires three pieces of technology: My device, your device and the connection between them, which carries video and voice between the two devices. A video and voice connection can be made between any two devices, so long as they both have the same software installed. For example, I might use a laptop while you use an iPad to talk to each other using Skype software. It doesn’t matter that we’re using different devices to connect to each other, what matters is that we both have Skype installed on our devices. Nowadays, it is possible to use a broad range of devices for online counselling, as outlined below:

Handheld Devices

Smartphones, such as the iPhone and Android phones have become commonplace in recent years and they are getting more powerful all the time. Items of software that you install on smartphones are called apps. There are plenty of video calling apps available for smartphones, which you can download from the Google Appstore if you are using an Android phone, or from the Windows Store if you are using a Windows phone, or from Apple’s AppStore if you are using an iPhone.


Tablets have large touch-sensitive screens and may be able to make phonecalls too. They operate similarly to smarphones, only they are much larger. They do not normally come with keyboards, although many people buy keyboards to use with them, thus turning a tablet into a laptop. Tablets use apps, just like smartphones, and you can download these from the same app store that you would use for a smartphone from the same manufacturer (e.g. an iPad user and an iPhone user will both download apps from Apple’s AppStore).

Laptops & Desktops

Laptops are portable computers with keyboards, desktops are larger, traditional computers that are not moved around. Laptops and Desktops tend to come in three varieties, namely Windows, Mac and Linux. If you have never heard of Linux, you probably don’t need to. Windows and Mac are the two varieties used by most people. If you want to use your laptop or desktop for online counselling, it is important to determine which variety you have. Macs are made by Apple and of these, the MacBook (laptop) and iMac (desktop) are the most widely used. If you don’t have a Mac, then you most probably have a Windows computer. You can download Mac software either from the Mac AppStore, or directly from the software manufacturer’s website. Similarly, you can download Windows software from the Windows Store, or from the manufacturer.

Making The Connection

Once you have installed the necessary software on your device, you will need to make a connection with my device, where I will be waiting for your call. Depending on the software we are using, I will send you the details of how to do this. Before you make the connection, you will need to make sure that you have a good, reliable internet connection and that you have access to an alternative means of contacting me (usually telephone), if the connection is dropped and can’t be restored.

Connection Costs

Connecting over the internet for online counselling will be free on a wifi network which gives you unlimited data usage. For example, many home broadband plans grant unlimited data rates, or set a very high limit. Other plans will charge you for the data you use, so it is best to check with your broadband provider first. If you are connecting in a hotel or conference centre, for example, you may need to pay a flat fee for internet access. If you are connecting via a wireless network, it may be that you pay for the data you use and sometimes that can be expensive. It is best to check the tariff that you are on with your network provider.

Help For The Overwhelmed!

I appreciate that technology can seem very complicated (and when you dig down into the nuts and bolts, it is phenomenally complex). If after reading this guide you still aren’t sure what to do, I will be happy to guide you through the process of setting up your device for online counselling. Simply click here to contact me with your questions.