IM & Email Counselling

How does online Counselling differ from traditional face to face counselling?

If you have ever experienced face to face counselling in the past, you will probably find that Online counselling is an extremely different experience. The lack of visual and auditory cues can result in mis-understandings between client and counsellor.

Therefore, it is hugely important to ensure that if you are unsure of what is being asked or said that you feel comfortable to tell your counsellor or to ask for further explanation. The more you ask the counsellor to explain the less opportunity there is for miscommunication.

We ask for an alternative method of communication (Phone number) when using IM or Email counselling so if there is any technical problems which result in communication having to be ceased we can contact you/you can contact us to inform of the problem and either continue the session over the phone, or book an alternative date and time for the session.

IM and Email therapy is not recommended for clients who have a complex mental health issue or for those who are experiencing suicidal ideation or are in crisis. If you feel that you are at a crisis point contacting your GP urgently or going to the closest A & E is recommended. Alternatively, there are some helpful links at the bottom of this page that you can contact.

Please be aware that IM sessions are only available when pre-booked and between the hours your counsellor sets out during your initial discussions. We are not a crisis team and we can’t respond outside of the booked times.

It is important to note, that whilst BrainHubCPW offers counselling to Under 18’s we do not offer either IM or Email counselling to clients that are Under 18. There are services available for example Kooth who can offer online counselling to Under 18’s in some areas.

What are the advantages of IM or Email Counselling?

It can be more convenient for people, it may be easier to schedule in a session around a busy life than having to travel to meet a counsellor, or, have a counsellor come to you.

It is easy to access and can be used by those who can’t leave the house or travel any distance but would prefer not to have a domiciliary session.

It can feel easier for people who are awkward about sitting with someone and talking. Often this can be used as a steppingstone on the journey through therapy and build confidence and trust.

Appointment times can be more flexible and easier to arrange. It may potentially shorten the waiting time to see a counsellor.

Sometimes it is easier for people to write down their feelings, experiences and beliefs than to say them out loud. IM or Email counselling offers this opportunity which in some cases will make it easier for the client to “talk”.

As stated above, we do not currently offer either IM or Email Counselling to Under 18’s although we are happy to offer our other Counselling services to clients under the age of 18.

Who is suitable for IM or Email Counselling?

Clients that we already work with in one of the more traditional counselling methods can request as a one off, or for other reasons to have either an IM or Email counselling session. This is at the discretion of counsellor who can decide if it is suitable.

Clients who wish to start with either IM or Email counselling are required to complete the self-referral form completely, BrainHubCPW counsellors will then assess suitability for the requested form of counselling. We will also need to ensure that the appropriate technology is available, and the client is technologically literate for the form of counselling requested.

Another key point for the client to be aware of, is that on suspicion of illegal or terrorist activity the UK police force can request access to an email account. If the email provider grants access to the police, then confidentiality is not guaranteed.

Which is most appropriate – IM or Email Counselling?

IM counselling offers real time responses and is more akin to a traditional face to face counselling and the client will have a set period to be able to talk. Receiving responses through out the session from the counsellor can make this form of counselling suitable particularly for those who want that synchronized element of traditional face to face counselling.

Email counselling will have a more delayed response. We will endeavour to reply to emails within 48 Business hours of receiving them. Unless previously discussed with your Counsellor (eg Counsellor is on holiday). This form of counselling provides the opportunity for the client to take more time over writing what they want to say and to take time to think deeply about the reply they receive and over the future communications. Since there is no pre-booked session, payment for the email response will be required on receipt of the client’s email. We would normally suggest one or two emails per week, but this can be discussed and tailored to each individual client’s needs. This will be explained carefully during your assessment.

We would recommend to our clients that for either option they set up a safe account, specifically for talking to your counsellor, we would also recommend using an encrypted service. This can also be discussed with your counsellor on assessment.

We also recommend that when using either of these counselling options you try to be in a private space to help ensure your confidentiality.

Starting the therapeutic relationship

Initially, you can contact us via email:

One of Phil or Harriet will then contact you at a mutually agreed time to complete the initial assessment. Once the assessment is completed, we will either agree to start working together in which case an appointment for your first IM session will be arranged or a start date for the first email communication will be agreed. If at your assessment it is deemed that IM or Email counselling is not suitable for the specific individual, we will endeavour to find an alternative option for help.

If deemed appropriate an electronic copy of our Client Contract will be emailed to the client and we would need an electronic signature or confirmation in writing and dated that the client agrees to the contract before we can begin working with them.

It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that they are ready and available for their IM sessions, late cancellations or “Did Not Attend” (DNA) for an appointment will incur charges (as stated in the client contract) that will require payment before your counselling relationship can continue.

If you have any general enquiries or questions regarding these forms of counselling please feel free to email us on and we will endeavour to respond within 48 business hours to your enquiry.