Online Therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic

July 30, 2020

Are you feeling more stressed or isolated?

All our lives have changed dramatically in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Everything from our health services, to our food shopping, to our day to day living has been affected. As well as this, with social distancing and self-isolation in practice, it is unsurprising that this is having an impact on our mental health. The underlying stress that the pandemic has caused may not even be obvious to you, but it can impact our lives in many ways. Therefore, access to online therapy services are now essential.

Accessing online therapy


Find a quiet, private space where you can close the door and not be overheard. Sometimes this is difficult in busy households with children off school or shared accommodation. Online therapy sessions can often be flexibly timed, to suit your needs and circumstances.

Wearing headphones is also recommended to block out any background noise and the voice of the therapist. A useful tip is removing or muting notifications that may distract you whilst on using the computer or laptop for online therapy.

Treat online therapy like a face-to-face session

It might feel strange speaking via video conferencing at first. Make sure you are comfortable, feeling awake and fresh. Distractions are often unavoidable, but try to reduce them as much as possible.

Try not to hold back. It can feel different to when you are sitting in the same room as a therapist. Some people may find the computer a barrier in the beginning, but get used to the change and can freely process their feelings and thoughts. Other people enjoy the fact that they are not sitting so close to the therapist and can often find they are more inclined to open up that way.

If you are staying home more at this time, perhaps working at home, you might be feeling isolated from people. Working with a therapist online can actually be a helpful way to stay connected with the world.

Your therapist is there to help, support and will help you through the process, so you can discuss any feelings of vulnerability.

Current Practice at Insight Counselling Brighton and Hove

Claire at Insight Counselling Brighton and Hove is choosing to continue to work online with clients, instead of returning to face to face therapy for the foreseeable future. This allows:

  • Counselling and therapy sessions in the comfort of your own home
  • Flexibility – no need to travel. This is helpful if you’re self-isolating
  • Day time and evening sessions are available

For more information on our online therapy, don’t hesitate to get in touch using the contact page or by emailing

Now is the time to get the online support you need.

If you are still unsure about whether now is the right time to contact a therapist, take a look at the article on this site: When is the Right Time to See a Counsellor – for further information about the therapeutic process.

Exploring Feelings by Writing a Journal

February 23, 2018

Keeping a Journal – for Self-care and reflective healing

When we are struggling with something difficult in life and feeling depressed or anxious; we can often be so caught up with feelings and thoughts in our mind, it can feel like a churning washing machine going round and round with no formulation of clear ideas. Writing a journal can help disrupt this cycle of thoughts.

journalI often suggest journalling to my clients when they are finding it difficult to process painful emotions and thoughts and when dealing with anxiety. The very act of getting some of these thoughts onto a page can allow structure to form and release us from the inner repeating thoughts. It can effectively provide some freedom from the noise and the pain. It can allow us to begin to explore the ideas more succinctly and clearly and extrapolate important relevant feelings from negative ways of thinking. This in turn helps the healing process to begin.

How to Start Writing your Journal

how to start writing a journalThere is no right way or wrong way to do this.
You might want to set aside as little as ten minutes or more than thirty minutes a day, possibly at the same time or when you are pulled to do so. It generally helps to write a little every day to keep the momentum going.

You may choose to write by hand on paper – and therefore unable to edit and change your initial thoughts – a kind of ‘stream of consciousness’. It’s important to be able to freely write without your ‘internal critic’ rubbishing your writing. Brainstorming or mind-mapping ideas can be a useful way to link ideas and thoughts if it feels a bit too much to write on a blank sheet of paper. If you very much prefer to write on a computer, then switch the grammar autocorrect off and resist the urge to read and edit as you go along – this might not be easy as we are so used to this editing process when using a keyboard. It’s important for you to recognise that all your ideas and thoughts have value. If you haven’t written by hand for some time, experiment and try it that way – you might surprise yourself and find enjoyment in a new experience.

What to Write in the Journal

What to write in the journalThis is the opportunity to write about anything that comes to mind. You may have jotted a few words down earlier or have a few thoughts that have been repeating throughout the day. This is your chance to explore more and expand on the thoughts and feelings. You could write about feelings from conversations had during the day, emotions you felt, things people have said to you. Give yourself permission to be honest. You may find it difficult to be honest with yourself or with others at times and this is an opportunity not to self-censure.

You might find it helpful to write to a particular person (without necessarily wanting or needing to send or give it to them). It could be something you find extremely difficult to say to someone and writing it down may help you to deal with the pain. It could be that the person is no longer with you or you’re unable to talk to them. Try not to plan or think too much about what you are writing, just allow the words to flow. Don’t worry about spellings, grammar or meaning – this is private unless you choose to show someone else. Editing and considering sentence construction will stop the flow and block the emotions. Consider using drawings if you are able to communicate easily that way.

Allow Time to Reflect on your Writing

Reading and reflecting on what you have written allows you to revisit, remember and see your journey forwards.

Write a date on your entries for when you return and reflect.

  • Do you still feel the same way about the issue/decision/feelings etc?
  • Do you need to challenge your original thoughts?
  • Are you able to look back and analyse whether your thinking was accurate/ misguided or biased for example?
  • Can you identify particular triggers for certain behaviours or ways of thinking?

Perhaps a little time to move on from the thoughts allows you to reconsider and feel differently.

Writing a Journal when ‘Everything is Ok’

Writing a journal provides an opportunity to explore thoughts and feelings even when it feels nothing much is an issue, everything is moving along smoothly. If you know you are the type of person who bottles up emotions to enable to you cope and carry on, you may find that writing about current or past painful feelings and troubles can allow you to move the pain from somewhere deep inside you, to outside of you and can also help with the healing process.

Some people like to buy a special book to use and like to find a place where it can be kept private.

Journalling should also be an enjoyable process. If it is causing you more pain, perhaps discussing this further with a counsellor or psychotherapist may be useful.

If you would like to get in contact with Claire at Insight Counselling, you may use the Contact Form or email

Due to the Covid19 pandemic, Claire is currently working online. If you are curious about online therapy, take a look at the Online Therapy blog here.


Mental health apps – daily tools for stress and anxiety

August 22, 2017

Are you the kind of person who uses their mobile phone to organise, keep notes, sync calendars and even check step count? You might find using a mobile phone app to support your mental health journey could also be beneficial.

Mental Health Apps

There are lots of different types of apps that you could try. At Insight Counselling, the mental health app Pacifica has been trialled over the last six months with some really good results. Clients find it easy to use, helpful to record moods and feelings and to carry out CBT thought experiments. There are also audio mindfulness meditations and self-help CBT advice.

It’s free unless you wish to delve deeper, so worth taking a look.