This page is possibly the most difficult page of the whole website to write! It is likely to be one of the most contentious and controversial and unfortunately the one that you may need to give most consideration too.
Some medications will have no impact what so ever on counselling ... while other medication may have a huge impact; this impact can range from making it ineffective to making it dangerous. It obviously depends on what the medication is ... what it is being taken for ... and how it is impacting on YOU as an individual. Some people are more susceptible to a particular medication than others and a dosage that has hardly any effect on one person may have a drastic effect on another.
There are two main scenarios that we need to avoid in Online Counselling (and for that matter in any counselling).
The first is an ‘antidepressant’ that is having a strong effect on you. If it is having a strong effect ... then you will not really be bringing yourself to the counselling session ... we will not genuinely be exploring your thoughts and feelings, they will be masked ... the counselling will be ineffective. We must also ask ourselves why you are taking it ... perhaps your doctor has prescribed them as you have told him you can’t go on with life? ... if that is the case then Online Counselling could be dangerous for you ... we may open up and expose an issue for you during our email sessions that is too much for you to cope with alone ... we may leave you vulnerable and unsupported ... an Online Counsellor is not someone you can contact and gain support from in an emergency situation. If you feel this is the case then a face to face local Counsellor may be a safer option for you. But on the other hand a mild antidepressant may have ‘perked’ you up enough that you now feel comfortable confident and ready to explore a long standing issue! (I have counselled many bereaved people taking a moderate antidepressant with no problem).
The second is an anti-psychotic medication. This would possibly be prescribed to someone that is having difficulty keeping in touch with reality and keeping themselves grounded. Online Counselling is definitely not suited for someone experiencing these symptoms and taking this type of medication ... we simply cannot offer you the level of support you need. If you know that you are taking an anti-psychotic medication you are asked NOT to sign up for Email counselling.
If you are unsure what the medication you are taking is and whether it makes Email Counselling unwise for you, perhaps a visit to your doctor to ask his opinion may be the best cause of action?
If you decide to send your first email regardless, you will need to either enter your medication or declare no medication for the form to send. When I review your medication I reserve the right to discontinue further Email Counselling ... I will compose one email back to you (you will have paid for it) and try to make it as beneficial and relevant to you as possible. If you are taking medication that you do not declare then I will hold the stance and defend the principle that I cannot be responsible for your actions and any resulting consequences.
We have the same dilemma with ‘recreational drugs’ and alcohol some people may use them sparingly and it may have no bearing on counselling ... but others may be heavily dependent and this will have an impact on counselling ... so you need to declare these just as much as prescribed drugs.
Many people see counselling as offering them the support they need to withdraw from a drug ... Email Counselling may or may not be appropriate support for this ... a drug you have been dependent on for a long time will need to be withdrawn slowly with a planned timetable ... in the first instance you should discuss this with your Doctor ... he will be in a better position to judge whether discontinuing a drug is appropriate for you and the best way you can be supported to do this.
If you have any queries regarding your suitability to email counselling with regard to either drug use or other issues ... you are welcome to send me a ‘brief email’ outlining your concerns via the contact page ... but please not this will not be encrypted and the ‘brief’ reply will be sent back to your standard email address and you must take responsibility for the privacy of this email. I will not engage in correspondence via this method or address any counselling issues ... I will basically respond yes I think email counselling is appropriate or no I do not think it is.