Online Counselling

For our community’s health and wellness, counselling sessions are available through secure video or by telephone. Online counselling can also benefit those who live in rural communities, experience busy schedules or have care-giving responsibilities. These tele-health services offer convenience, without compromising the quality of the counselling you need.

Frequently asked questions

Is online counselling effective?


Yes! Research shows that online counselling can be just as effective as face-to-face counselling sessions. It is important to note that my specific online counselling service is not suitable for all situations, including the following: *Emergency or crisis situations. In these circumstances please call 911, visit your local emergency department or call the Nova Scotia Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-429-8167 (toll free, operated 24/7). *Individuals experiencing severe substance dependency *Unmanaged symptoms associated with schizophrenia, psychosis, and/or bipolar disorder. *Those individuals who are actively experiencing thoughts of: self-harm or harm to others. In these cases please follow directions outlined above for accessing emergency services.




How does video counselling work?


The video platform used is similar to Facetime, Video Messenger or Skype, except it is more secure. Natasha LeBlanc Counselling & Social Work services using a platform called Jane which includes a feature to conduct video counselling sessions. It is user friendly (works on laptops, cell phones & tablets) and requires no downloading for most devices. We will discuss how you can access the platform during our telephone intake or consultation session. You will also be provided with step by step written & video instructions if you decide to engage in video sessions. You can check this guide out in advance by clicking on the link: https://jane.app/guide/telehealth/training-resources-for-your-patients I'll also be available to help you if you're having difficuly accessing the platform!




Is online counselling safe & secure? What are the risks?


Your confidentiality & privacy is one of my top priorities. The following are just some of the measures taken to offer secure online counselling services:

  1. My computer is equipped with encyption, virus protection/malware hardware, and secure passwords
  2. A secure internet connection is always used when conducting video sessions
  3. I use a landline when conducting telephone sessions to ensure security
  4. I use a software called Jane for video sessions, secure client messaging and file sharing. The software is compliant with provincial (Nova Scotia) & federal health protection laws in Canada, along with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. All data transmitted on this platform is encrypted and password protected.
  5. Video and telephone counselling sessions are never recorded through audio or video
For further information, please see Natasha LeBlanc Counselling & Social Work's policies: Website privacy policy, terms & conditions, communication/social media policy. Although I take extra precautions to protect your privacy, it's also important for you to be aware of the risks of online counselling.
  1. There is a higher risk of information being misunderstood or construed through online counselling, especially through telephone counselling. Not being able to clearly read body language and facial expressions can contribute to this risk. You may notice that I will ask for clarification or check in with you frequently during sessions to ensure that I'm understanding you accurately.
  2. Although unlikely given the security measures put in place, any online platform can theorticially be compromised or "hacked". Please see the section on i ncreasing your security while engaging in online counselling.
  3. There is a higher risk of other household members/room mates/partners over hearing your conversation or accessing your private messages online through your at-home electronic devices. Please see section on increasing your security while engaging in online counselling.
  4. Noise and interruptions are a possiblity. There is also potential for equippment or technology malfunction to occur in the middle of sessions. In this case, I will always attempt to reconnect with you.




How much does it cost?


Adult Counselling (19+): Online or telephone sessions cost $160 per 50 minute session (the same as face-to-face sessions). This is the minium rate recommended by the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers for master level clinicans. Student Adult Counselling (19+): Online or telephone sessions cost $115 per 50 minute session (the same as face-to-face sessions). This may be fully or partially covered by your student health plan (including GuardMe Insurance for CBU international students). You may be asked to provide confirmation that you're an enrolled student to recieve this rate. Most private insurance plans & employee assistance programs cover counselling services. It's important to contact your insurance or EAP provider to ensure you are covered to recieve services from a registered, master level social worker ( see helpful questions to ask ). Most plans require you to pay for the service and then submit your reciept for re-imbursement. These are just some of the provider insurance plans that may cover my services: Blue Cross (direct billing available) Green Sheild (direct billing available) Manulife Great West SunLife Student Health Plans through educational institutions GuardMe Insurance (CBU International Students) I am an approved provider for: Non-Insured Health Benefits & Residential Schools Program (direct billing available) Veteran Affairs Canadian Armed Forces Criminal Injuries Counselling Program Please see the fees & services section for additional information. NOTICE: MSI does not cover these fees




How do I book an appointment?


You can book an appointment mutliple ways.

  • You can book directly online by clicking here. Please be advised that you will be sent an email confirmation of your appointment day & time if you book through my website via Jane Software. If you need direction on booking online follow the guide at this link: https://jane.app/guide/online-booking/booking-an-appointment-online-for-patients
  • By calling the office number: 902-562-742. Allow up to 2 business days for me to return your call.
  • Through the secure contact form at the bottom of this page. Please note that if you ask me to respond via email-it is a less secure way of communicating.





 

Additional Tips for Online Counselling:

 

Getting the Most Out of Online or Telephone Counselling

  • You will need one of the following: phone, computer/laptop, tablet or smart phone.

  • Find a spot that is safe, private & free of distractions. You may want to use music or white noise outside your room to control noise. We can create a code word during our initial call together if safety is an issue for you.

  • Using headphones, or headphones with a microphone may help you stay focused

  • Get comfortable (ex: use a comfy chair to sit in for long periods)

  • You may want to consider having the following items close by: a drink of water, note pad if you think it would be helpful, and some tissue.

  • If using video on your device give yourself 10 minutes before your appointment time to log in & set up. If you have any technical issues call this counsellor's office number.

  • Ensure that your face is clearly visible on the video (you may need to play with the camera, change locations in the room or use extra lighting)

  • If using video, dress as if you were attending a face-to-face counselling session

  • Let the counsellor know if you can't see the video clearly, if there is "cutting out" or if the volume is too low. 

  • Provide a phone number you can be reached at during the beginning of each session, in case of technical issues.

Making Online Counselling More Secure

Consider the following:

  • Protecting your electronic devices and email with strong passwords (don't save passwords on shared devices, like a family computer; disable "auto-fill"). 

  • Using a location that is private, where you can shut the door or be at a distance from others. 

  • Using a secure internet connection (a home connection). Avoid using public wi-fi (at cafe's, restaurants, library).

  • Using virus and malware protection on your electronic devices.

  • Turning off email notifications on your smart phone/tablet, that may display on your locked screen.

  • Keeping your device updated

  • Email can be a less secure and confidential way of communicating with your counsellor, if you are concerned about this please call the office or use the secure messaging platform your counsellor set up for you. 

  • Explore your device's security settings and research ways to make it more secure. 

** Disclaimer: This list is not exhaustive & not legal advice but merely general guidelines to help increase the security of your devices. You are responsible for securing the devices you intend to use if engaging in online communication.

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Natasha LeBlanc Counselling & Social Work is located in Unama’ki, which is the unceded, ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq/L’nu.

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