ROSELYN ABBOTT
 
 

Working at a distance

Mindmatters Therapy works with clients through a computer connection in some instances. If appropriate this will be discussed thoroughly at an early stage. Apple Mac computers and some other Apple devices have a built-in application called Facetime which serves this purpose. Skype is also available for many different computers and mobile devices, and the rest of this page describes how to set this up. Because of the very wide range of possible equipment, this can only be a general guide.

Setting up Skype

The Skype software

  • Navigate in a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari or Firefox to http://www.skype.com.
  • Click the “Get Skype” link near the top of the page.
  • On the next page, choose whether you want the computer or mobile versions – this explanation will assume the computer version.
  • Click the “On your computer” link near the top of the page.
  • On the next page, check that the operating system (Windows, Mac, etc) matches your system, and click the “Download now” button.
  • After download, follow the installation instructions suitable for your computer.
  • To use Skype you must go through a registration process which requires a “Skype name”, which identifies you to the Skype system, and a caller-visible name, which is how other users identify you. These names must be unique. These do not need to identify your real name if you are concerned about online privacy.
Skype page image
How to contact me:
Telephone: 077 6391 6877
EMail: info@mindmatters-therapy.co.uk
Skype address: Mindmatterstherapy
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Other necessary items

  • In order to speak and hear over Skype, you will need a microphone and speakers. Most modern computers have these built in as an integral part of the system, but the quality of these varies considerably. The most useful kind, especially for maintaining privacy while making the call, consists of a combined headphones and microphone combination. These may be purchased from the Skype site (navigate to the Skype shop and choose the Headsets link on the right-hand side) from about £14 upwards, or from online retailers such as Amazon who have more variety of selection.
  • In order to be seen over Skype, you will need a webcam. Many modern computers have these built in as an integral part of the system, but the quality of these varies considerably. Again, if you do not have a built-in webcam, or if you are not satisfied with the quality of an existing one, these may be purchased from the Skype site, Amazon, etc. Prices vary from about £20 upwards depending on many factors.
  • If you purchase additional equipment after installing Skype, it will be automatically detected next time Skype is started. The Skype Options dialog (audio settings and video settings areas) allows you to choose which items to use if you have more than one attached to your computer.
  • Even if you have a webcam, it will not automatically be used when you make or receive a call, to maintain privacy. The camera can be enabled on a call-by-call basis, or more generally by making a choice in the Skype Options dialog (video settings area).
  • As a general rule, the better camera you have, the better the other person will see your image, and the better camera they have, the better you will see their image. However, image quality will also be affected by the speed of your access to the internet, and a number of other factors such as the overall level of electronic traffic while you are making the call, and you will notice some variation day-to-day.

Features

Skype is completely free for use between one Skype installation and another. Calls can also be made to land-lines or mobile numbers, for which a small charge will be made. Mindmatters Therapy recieves no part of this charge. The Skype web site contains all price details for these calls.

The options menu has a number of settings relating to online privacy, such as selections for how publicly visible your profile is. It is recommended that you check these settings and ensure that you are happy with them.

During installation, Skype will automatically detect any audio and visual components attached to your system and register them. There is a short process of calibrating the microphone and any speakers or headphones to ensure the volume levels are correct. This can be repeated at later times, for example if you buy new equipment or change the room in which you use the computer.

Both for technical and therapeutic reasons, it is strongly recommended that you use your Skype system in a room where you can be sure of privacy and low levels of background noise, and where there is a good level of natural or artificial light. The Skype Options dialog allows you to see the quality of image the other person will see, and it is well worth checking that the light is good enough that you can see the image of your face clearly in the test panel.

To locate Skype users once the software has been downloaded and installed, click the “Add a Contact…” link under the Contacts menu. This provides a very comprehensive set of search options, and is the easiest way to locate other Skype users. If together we decide that Skype is a suitable therapy option, you will be told the Mindmatters Therapy Skype account details and can then add Mindmatters Therapy as one of your contacts. When you do this, Skype will then send an email request to Mindmatters Therapy which must be confirmed by Mindmatters Therapy before the link between the two Skype accounts is accepted. Once this has been done, Mindmatters Therapy will appear in your contacts list.

The Skype application is basically very simple to use, but there are a great many settings that can be modified, largely to protect online privacy. It is strongly recommended that you familiarise yourself with how to use the Skype system with family or friends before using it for the first time for therapeutic reasons.