Video and audio conferencing
At PsychOnline4u we make use of a technology called video and audio conferencing. This technology makes it possible for the psychologist to conduct live online sessions with the client, in which both can see, and talk with each other, without either of them having to be physically in the same location together. Video and audio conferencing can be conducted using a variety of devices. Desktop computers, laptops and tablets all have a built-in web camera. These days, most smartphones are equipped with good cameras, so these may also be suitable, at least in some circumstances, for video/conferencing.
Obviously, the use of video/audio conferencing is very convenient. It enables you to benefit from doing guided self-help from the privacy and convenience of your own home, and it also saves you the time, expense, and hassle associated with travel. An important added advantage of video conferencing, in comparison to pure audio conferencing, contact by telephone, or a live chat, is that the psychologist and client can see each other, in real time. This usually allows them to develop a stronger working relationship.
What do you need for video conferencing?
PsychOnline4u uses Signal, a messenger app (like WhatsApp, only safer), that operates on a highly secure platform, and that offers reliable and high quality video and audio conferencing. Signal can be used on either iPhone or Android smartphones, and it can also be installed on a laptop or desktop pc: there’s a version for both Windows- and for Apple-computers (Mac). There’s even a version for the iPad (but not, unfortunately, for Android-tablets, at least not yet).
Getting connected with PsychOnline4u via the Signal messenger app is really very simple. All we need is your mobile phone number! Then, it’s literally a question of: ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you!‘. Because the very first time that we try to contact you on this app, we will send you a text message, inviting you to join us on Signal. If you accept, you’ve got Signal, and you’re connected with PsychOnline4u!
Of course, you yourself can take the initiative, by downloading the Signal app from the App Store, or from Google Play, and installing it on the device that you intend to use for video (or audio) conferencing with PsychOnline4u. You can find clear, easy to follow instructions for installing Signal on your particular device (Android, iOS, iPad, Laptop, or Desktop computer) at: https://support.signal.org.
Now, if all this sounds bewildering, no worries: we can send you detailed instructions on how to do the installation procedure. But, perhaps you have a close relative or friend who knows a fair bit about things digital. And remember: on your smartphone just one simple click connects you with PsychOnline4u!
What else do you need for good quality video/audio conferencing? Well, your internet connection must have sufficient speed, or bandwidth, as it’s called. The stability and quality of the video and audio connection will depend, not only on the quality of your device, but also on the reliability and speed of your internet connection. This is especially the case with video video conferencing: your internet connection needs to be speedy enough to carry the bulk of video images in high quality. As a rule of thumb, the bandwidth required for ‘smooth video conferencing’ is 2Mbps (upload and download).
Ireland’s average fixed broadband speed is 42 Mbps download, with mobile speeds at 20.70 Mbps. These speeds are more than sufficient for good quality video conferencing. However, internet connectivity in Ireland remains patchy, with those living in rural areas sometimes facing significant issues getting online. So, if you are unsure about whether or not the bandwidth of your internet connection is speedy enough, ask your internet provider to clarify this for you. Or, perhaps that relative or friend who knows a thing or two about internet-stuff can help you!
And, of course, you can always test how Signal performs on your bandwith, by requesting the once-off free 15 minute video/audio conference offered by PsychOnline4u. After all, the proof of the (virtual) pudding is in the eating! You can do so by using either the contact form, or the email address, on the website.
What about my privacy?
We hope you’ve found the above information clear and helpful. However, we can well imagine that all this technical jargon about video conferencing and messenger apps can leave some people feeling a bit bewildered. If that is indeed how you feel after reading the above information, then no worries: it may look daunting, but it really is’nt. If you have any queries, feel free to contact us, by using the contact form.