Jeff Peterson, Counseling, Psychologist - E-therapy, on-line therapy, Skype Therapy, Internet therapy, or virtual therapy

Jeff Peterson, LCPC

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Kansas City Psychotherapy - Setting Up Skype, FaceTime, or Google for Online Psychotherapy, Online Counseling, Online Psychological Therapy

Skype and FaceTime can be used for online therapy, e-therapy, Skype therapy, virtual therapy, or Internet therapy (also online coaching or Internet coaching).  These programs are free encrypted online services that allow you to make video-calls from one person to another.  However, please see the disclaimer below regarding privacy and confidentiality limitations when using these types of services.  Skype works well with both PC and Mac, However, if you have a Mac, FaceTime is developed for Mac computers, iPhone, and iPad, so it tends to have a faster video signal than Skype.  To set-up Skype:

1) Make sure you have an email account that you can access

2) Make sure you have a reliable Internet connection, as well as, a computer with a webcam, speakers, and microphone.

3) Open your Internet browser (i.e. Explorer) and visit the website:

4) The web page should detect whether or not you have a PC or MAC, but if not, click on the link according to which computer you have.

5) Download Skype program and go through instructions on setting it up on your computer. 

6) When going through the set-up process, Skype will ask whether you have an existing account or if you want to create an account.  Select “Create an account” and determine your user name.  For example, “jeffpetersonphd” is my user name, but you can use a non-identifiable alias.

7) After your account is set-up, launch the program and look for the telephone symbol search bar in the upper right hand corner.

8) Click on “Search Skype for People You Know” link.   Search for “jeffpetersonphd”.  Select
the account with my photo next to it and double click on the link.  A window will appear allowing you to send a message to me stating that you want to add me as a contact.  You will need to wait until I accept your request, or you may notice that I have already sent you a request.

9) Prior to your session, make sure to test your Skype video camera, microphone, and speakers.  If you need to troubleshoot goto:

How to Check If My Microphone, Speakers, and Camera Work

What to Do If My Camera is Not Working

Other Skype Support Categories

  1. 10)Log-on to Skype a few minutes prior to your therapy session and I will contact you to begin the session.

NOTICE: Skype, and other Internet-Based forms of therapy, are not considered a HIPPA compliant form of communication, although Skype does take significant precautions to reduce the potential of intercepting communication.  Clients who engage in Skype therapy do so with full informed-consent of the limitation of privacy and confidentiality during Skype sessions.  Sensitive information should be conveyed off-line or in-person.

Setting Up FaceTime Video Call for Online Therapy or Internet Therapy

FaceTime works with iPhone 4 or later, iPad 2 or later, iPad mini, iPod touch 4th Gen. or later, and a Mac computer running Mac OS X (10.6.6 or later).  With FaceTime you can use your iPhone to make video calls via your cell service provider, or you can use your computer to make video calls over the Internet (like Skype).  FaceTime is usually preinstalled on these products, however you can go here to learn how to use this service:

Up Google Instant Messenger or Video-group Hangouts

Instant messaging (IM) therapy can be really helpful if you have difficulty talking about tough subjects.  This format is a live chat that lasts a normal 50 minute session.  Google works on both PC and MAC.  You are required to set-up a free gmail email account in order to chat.  The reason for using “Google Talk” on Gmail over other IM options is because Gmail has a secure server (https) which is encrypted.  Again, the Internet is not guaranteed to be private, so I would leave out any details that might be sensitive.  Google Chat also has the option to video-chat (called a Hangout), which is free and can include up to 10 people simultaneously vs. Skype, which is limited to single user.  Hangouts can also be initiated via your Android phone.

2) Click on the red box in the corner that says SIGN UP for an email account

3) Complete your information (you can use a fake name if you prefer to remain anonymous to gmail)

4) After signing up, you can go to your INBOX and send me an email to:

5) If you are setting up video-chat, you can go to your gmail inbox and click on the video camera icon (as illustrated to the right) next to the phone icon.  You will need to install the google Hangout plug-in.  If you need help setting up a video hangout on your computer or android, visit: Google hang-out support page    

6) At the time of your session, I will initiate a Gmail IM Chat (or video chat), go ahead and accept the chat and you can start typing the chat box that will appear in the lower righthand corner

Limitation on Confidentiality Notice regarding online therapy or Internet therapy:

Skype, FaceTime, and Google Gmail are encrypted service that claims to use current security encryption measures similar to a phone call.  Keep in mind, however, that the Internet is a public domain and therefore always runs the risk of potential eavesdroppers or hackers.  With that in mind, be warned that you may want to refrain from providing details of a topic that you would otherwise not want to be made public.