If you like writing, keeping a journal, taking things at your own pace or if you just like time and space to reflect, this might be the way of working that suits you best. It feels a bit like writing letters to each other – within the structure of a weekly (or otherwise agreed) schedule.
Working with email gives you the flexibility to either write it one go or to draft something, go away and think about it some more, and come back and add to it over a period of days. It may mean that you can do some of your writing at the moment(s) in which you are experiencing certain thoughts or feelings – which can be therapeutic, in itself – and then reflect on, and add to, what you’ve written before sending your email to me.
We’ll agree a schedule which works for both of us. For example, we might agree that you send your weekly email to me on Tuesday, and that I will reply to you on Friday. That way we will each know where we stand and can organise ourselves to allow time for reading, reflection and writing. You may choose to write one email to me, perhaps over a period of days, or more than one – but I will only reply to you once a week, unless we have agreed something different.
We will both be able to spend some time mulling over what the other one has written before replying, and we can both refer back to previous emails to remind ourselves of what we wrote before. I will reflect on what you write to me before I write back but I will write my reply to you at a pre-agreed time which will equate to our spending a 50 minute session together. You can take whatever time you need to consider your reply, so long as your email to me is sent in time for me to read it at least a couple of days before writing back to you.
For security and confidentiality we will either use an encrypted email platform (I currently use ProtonMail which offers a free service: https://protonmail.com/signup) or we will use traditional email but with password protected attachments.
Because of the time delay involved in working by email, it’s not suitable if you are in immediate crisis and need urgent help but it works well for issues that can be explored and reflected upon over time and from different perspectives.
If you are in immediate crisis and need to speak to someone urgently now I recommend that you get help from elsewhere such as:
- Your GP (General Practitioner) – or your local equivalent if not in the UK
- Samaritans can be reached free of charge in the UK and Republic of Ireland on 116 123 from landlines and mobiles and they also respond to texts and emails – see their website: samaritans.org
- Your local A&E (Accident and Emergency department)
- Emergency services (112 in Europe and UK or 999 in the UK)
- If you are outside the UK and don’t know who to contact, I suggest looking at Befrienders Worldwide or here to find a relevant telephone helpline/contact