Telephonic counselling and consultation sessions at Bella Vida Centre are very similar to face-to-face therapy sessions except you are conducting the session over the telephone. It is NOT a helpline such as a 24-hour crisis centre staffed by trained volunteers, but a counselling and therapy service that is offered by qualified psychologists. Telephonic counselling and consultation is however not a replacement for face-to-face therapy but another way of caring and reaching out to others who are not able to access assistance. As it is with all things in life, telephonic counselling and consultations is accompanied by both benefits as well as limitations, which will be discussed below.
Consulting via telephone is an alternative source of assistance when in-person sessions are not possible or convenient for you. It saves you time, is more often easier to obtain an appointment than face-to-face sessions, and offers more flexibility. Telephonic counselling and consultations are accessible to all members of the community, and support as well as enhance their health and well being. The use of the telephone medium for service delivery allows for an immediate, accessible, anonymous and confidential response to the caller’s situation. Whether you call it emotional support, psycho-education, interactive journaling, life coaching, or whatever -- there is no question that telephonic counselling and consultations can be very helpful. And for some people, it may be their only access to emotional support.
Telephonic counselling and consultations tend to be short-term and solution-focused with a supportive approach. There is less in-depth exploration of background history and examination of past behaviour but is more concerned with the client’s presenting problem and the ways most effective in alleviating symptoms. In telephonic counselling and consultations, the aims will tend to be more informative and educational, which also usually results in shorter sessions.
In telephonic counselling and consultations, similar ethical guidelines and procedures are followed as in face-to-face therapies in terms of the responsibilities of the client, the therapist, as well as issues related to privacy and confidentiality. For details, please refer to our Terms and Conditions. All therapists at Bella Vida Centre are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and must abide by the ethical guidelines as set out by the HPCSA as well as the law.
What Telephonic Counselling and Consultations Can Assist With
Many people cannot, or will not, go to a therapist’s office. For them, psychotherapy is not accessible. Telephonic counselling and consultations may therefore be a way of entering the therapeutic process for the first time. Some reasons for preventing people from getting help include:
Telephonic counselling and consultations provide crisis counselling, information, and support to clients in a manner, which allows them to manage their own situations and assess their needs for other services. It also can act as a support for clients whose regular support services are not available or until appropriate regular services can be accessed. Clients must be over 18 years of age and have a good command of the English language.
Telephonic counselling and consultations can be helpful if you are struggling with stress at home or work, burnout, sadness and grief, anger, divorce or separation, family or parenting issues, work-life balance, lack of assertiveness, and a personal crisis. Issues often raised by clients include:
While telephonic counselling and consultations can certainly help people who are in crisis, the overarching goal is to assist individuals in addressing personal problems as early as possible in order to prevent crisis. Our therapists will also make necessary recommendations and referrals should your needs extend beyond what can be offered through our telephonic counselling and consultation service.
Many people may be skeptical about the notion of telephonic counselling in that it seems impersonal and lack the non-verbal cues available in face-to-face therapy sessions. Certainly, telephonic counselling and consultations may not be for everyone, however research clearly indicates that very healing relationships can be formed over the phone, even via e-mail. These ‘impersonal’ relationships can have a remarkable intensity and intimacy, and offers great healing potential. Not only is it important for the therapist to be able to convey his/her empathy and understanding over the phone, but the client using the service must also possess the qualities of commitment and ability to form a trusting relationship.
There are many benefits to telephonic counselling and consultations that face-to face therapy cannot offer. Using telephonic counselling and consultations allow you to:
Telephonic counselling and consultations is also particularly useful for client with:
The therapeutic benefits of telephonic counselling and consultations include:
Limitations of Telephonic Counselling and Consultations
As mentioned previously, telephonic counselling and consultations are not a replacement for face-to-face therapy. Therefore there are certain problems that will benefit only minimally from telephonic counselling and consultations and where face-to-face therapy is more likely to achieve lasting results.
Some contraindications for telephonic counselling and consultations include:
Telephonic counselling and consultations in addition is not a good medium through which to conduct psychological assessments and therefore a diagnosis cannot provide over the telephone.
Finally, due to the different laws that govern various countries, this service is only offered to South African citizens living in South Africa.
How Does It Work?
Call Bella Vida Centre on 011 438 4438 and inform the receptionist that you wish to make use of our telephonic consultation service. You will be transferred to an intake officer who will remind you briefly of the Terms and Conditions of use (please request a copy to be faxed or e-mailed to you if you do not have access to the Internet).
Upon agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, the intake officer will take your credit card details for payment processing. The intake officer will also request for some basic personal information, which will include your initials and surname (identifying information for the therapist), contact details (in order for us to alert you of any changes to the booking details), postal and/or e-mail address (in order for us to forward your payment receipt to you), and the general areas you wish to discuss with the therapist.
Once payment has been processed and accepted, the intake officer will provide you with a password for your telephonic consult and advise you on the availability of booking times. An appointment will then be made.
On the day of the scheduled telephonic consult it will be your responsibility to call Bella Vida Centre at the scheduled time for your session. Please provide your password so as to allow for correct identification of client. The therapist cannot commence with the session until your password has been verified. The first telephonic consult session is typically 50min and thereafter 30min sessions are usually sufficient. More time can be allocated depending on individual needs.
At the end of your first telephonic session, the therapist will provide you with his/her suggestions and recommendations as well as provide any necessary referral details. If and when you require a further telephonic session, the process will be the same as per the first session in terms of the booking procedure. In other words, you must again call administration and provide your credit card details before booking another telephonic counselling or consultation session. This process must be repeated for security reasons as Bella Vida will not keep or store credit card details.
As a matter of professional courtesy, the client and the therapist will discuss ending the working relationship that is established so that both parties understand why Telephonic Consult Sessions are ending. If the therapist determines that he/she cannot assist the client with their particular issue then alternative options will be provided and appropriate referral information or recommendations will be made.
If the client experiences any technological problems such as not receiving their payment receipt or are unable to keep allocated appointment, he/she must contact Bella Vida Centre via e-mail or telephone.
You are welcome to e-mail us with any queries you may have regarding telephonic consults. Note however, that the person who replies to your e-mail will not be a therapist and can only answer questions related to the logistics of the telephonic consult service. Please DO NOT e-mail your personal problems or credit details, as we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of the information. Please note that telephonic sessions cannot be arranged via e-mail.
Bookings for appointments can be made with the receptionist from Mondays to Fridays between 8am and 5pm. Saturday appointments are available by request.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Counselling and consultations often involves sharing sensitive, personal and private information. Ethical guidelines require that all interactions, including content of clients’ sessions, records, scheduling of or attendance at appointment, and personal progress are kept confidential. No one can have access to any information without the client’s signed consent.
Telephone counselling is a private and confidential form of help. No information about you will be passed to anyone else unless with your written consent. There are however some exceptions and limits to confidentiality exists in the following situations:
In any of the above-mentioned circumstances, all attempts will be made to protect confidentiality where possible and only relevant information will be disclosed. Clients can be assured that no information will be passed on, rented or sold to any third party individual or organization for any reason whatsoever except in circumstances mentioned above.
All therapists at Bella Vida Centre follow the professional code of ethics as set out by the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
Although total anonymity would be ideal for some clients, some personal details are required due to the professional responsibility the therapist has of protecting you if and when a situation arises. Knowing who clients are and where they are will enable therapists to provide the best possible care for the clients. In addition, remember that trust in a relationship is mutual. Just as a client would want to be sure of a therapist’s identity, the therapist also would like to ensure the client is bonafide. Steps need to be taken to prevent the telephonic counselling and consultation service being misused by individuals not truly seeking help.
How Much Does It Cost?
The telephonic counselling and consultation service are charged the following rates:
Once a client makes an appointment for a telephonic consult, payment will be taken from the nominated debit or credit card immediately (it will show on the client’s statement as ‘Bella Vida’). Appointments can be cancelled by phone or by e-mail. Appointments that are cancelled up to 24 hours prior to the appointment can be re-scheduled. Non-rescheduled appointments will incur a cancellation fee R150. Appointments cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will not be refunded.
If an appointment is made and you fail to contact the therapist at the scheduled time without prior notice, no refund may be given under any circumstances. Any uncompleted sessions due to technical difficulties will be rescheduled at Bella Vida’s cost. If the client did not wish to rearrange the appointment, then a full refund will be given.
Therapist Profiles and Qualifications
All therapists at Bella Vida Centre are qualified psychologists registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. This means that all therapists have a postgraduate Master’s degree in psychology and at least two years of practical training and experience. Being registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa implies that registered therapists abide by their rules and guidelines in professional practice. For more information regarding the ethical guidelines followed by therapists at Bella Vida, please visit www.hpcsa.org.za.
For further details of individual therapists, please visit the page “About Us”.
Terms and Conditions