1. What is LiveTherapy?
Big White Wall developed its LiveTherapy services as a result of demand from the Big White Wall community. It was also as a response to speaking with NHS commissioners who were looking for innovative ways to reduce waiting times, extend access and offer more choice of psychological therapies.
How it works is demonstrated in this video
You can chose from a directory of approved therapists with different therapeutic approaches. Once you’ve chosen your therapist you can chose your appointment time or request an immediate session. When your appointment time arrives, you log on to bigwhitewall.com for a real time therapy session with your chosen therapist. You can chose whether this is via instant messaging or audio/visual. After the session you will have a chance to rate your session.
LiveTherapy is CQC (Care Quality Commission) registered. It is suitable for people aged 18+.
2. What does it cost?
If you have been referred by the NHS you will have been given a voucher code which enables you to access a number of sessions that are free of charge to you as they are funded by the NHS.
3. How does LiveTherapy link with other aspects of Big White Wall?
In addition to your therapy sessions, you will also be granted six months 24/7 access to the range of options available on Big White Wall. These are aimed at helping people self manage their own mental health and offer access to a community of people experiencing common mental health problems. Many of our members have found this valuable support in addition to therapy.
You will create a username and password on joining. According to our members one of the most important elements of the service is the ability to talk freely, whilst remaining completely anonymous. You can ask one of our Wall Guides for help or advice at any time.
The services include:
- Talk therapy in community, groups and on a one-to-one basis
- Self-expression through highly creative use of images and words to create ‘bricks’ that are posted to the Wall
- Guided Support Groups informed by recognised therapies
- Extensive ‘Useful Stuff’ section to help people manage psychological distress
- Peer support including the ability to make friends and follow their moods and activities
All activity on the Wall is separated from LiveTherapy. This means that you should not assume that your therapist is aware of any activity that you engage in on the Wall either prior to commencement of therapy or between therapy sessions. It is your responsibility to update the therapist on anything significant that has occurred in this regard between sessions.
4. Is therapy right for me and how do I choose my therapist?
Talking therapy can help anyone improve their understanding of themselves and improve the quality of their lives. It can be particularly useful if you are struggling with emotional health problems or difficult life experiences, or are stuck in an unsatisfactory place in your relationships, home or work life.
But what does therapy involve, how do you access it and what can you expect from it? And once you’ve made the decision to go ahead, how do you get the best out of it? For more information read our guide - including more about the therapies offered here on Big White wall.
If you are currently seeing a therapist elsewhere you should not also book to see a therapist here as this is likely to complicate things for you and your therapist
5. Will I be anonymous in the therapy setting?
If you have referred yourself to LiveTherapy and are funding your own therapy then you can determine at your first consultation with your therapist how much information about your ‘real’ identity you wish to share. You can agree with your therapist that you be referred to only by your Big White Wall username and not provide any further information if that is your choice. You also have the choice whether you are seen and heard by your therapist or not. The therapy session can be conducted by instant text only if you do not enable your webcam.
If you have been referred to LiveTherapy by your GP, IAPT service or other NHS service and are accessing it via a voucher code then your referral to us will contain identifying details of you (name, address, date of birth and NHS number). The referral will also contain some details about the reason for the referral and some personal details about your situation. You will also join the BWW community by choosing a username and password. While on the Wall you can only be identified by other members and by Wall Guides by your username. During your therapy session, you can decide whether you wish to be referred to by your username or by your ‘real’ name.
6. What happens if I am in crisis or my therapist considers I pose a risk to myself or others?
If your therapist identifies a real or perceived emergency situation during a therapy session where either you or another person is considered (in the therapist’s opinion) as being at risk of harm then the therapist will take steps that they believe to be reasonable to reduce the risk of harm. Due to the fact that LiveTherapy is a remote service, often with limited access to your real identity, this will usually be limited to:
Asking you if you are willing to provide personal details (name, date of birth, address and telephone number) so that contact with the emergency services can be made for assistance. Asking you if there is another adult where you are who can be summoned for support Request details of your GP so that continuity of care can be facilitated In extreme circumstances calling the police or other emergency services for assistance
7. How can I contact my therapist?
The only way you can contact your therapist is via the ‘send a message’ or ‘request a session’ buttons on a therapist’s profile. You will not be given access to any personal contact details of your therapist and must not attempt to contact your therapist in any other way. Any attempted contact with a therapist outside BWW could result in cancellation of your membership of BWW. In certain circumstances the therapist may use their Big White Wall email to send you some info but this will be agreed with you and will only be used for the purposes of sending certain information to help you in your sessions and only with your consent to use your personal email.
8. What happens if I can’t attend a session?
Please let us know if you have booked a session and can no longer attend as soon as you know. This can be done by going to ‘My bookings’ and cancelling the relevant upcoming session. You will be asked for the reason you wish to cancel. If you cancel your session up to 24 hours before the time the session is due to start (GMT), you will not be charged for the session. If the session is cancelled with less than 24 hours notice or you do not attend the session, the session will still be charged for and you will then lose that session.
9. What are the minimum technical requirements for using Big White Wall LiveTherapy?
In simple terms to use Big White Wall LiveTherapy you will need:
- Laptop or computer with a webcam
- Internet connection (higher speeds better)
- Modern operating system on your computer (Mac OS or Windows)
- Modern browser (i.e. latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari)
- Up-to-date version of adobe Flash
- Headset (Big White Wall LiveTherapy will work without a headset, but having one is highly recommended)
Which browser should I be using?
We have designed Big White Wall LiveTherapy to work across a range of modern browsers including Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 8 and up. Our personal recommendation would be Google Chrome which you can download here.
10. How do I book a Big White Wall LiveTherapy session?
To book a future session with a therapist, click on the ‘Our Therapists’ tab. You’ll then be presented with the list of Big White Wall LiveTherapy therapists.
You can find therapists that specialise in specific topics by looking on their profile and therapy types by clicking on the keywords on the right hand side of the page. Once you’ve reviewed their information and qualifications, click the ‘request session’ button to initiate the booking process.
You’ll see a description of the therapist’s ‘General availability’ which tells you roughly which days of the week and which times of day your selected therapist is available.
Based on the therapist’s availability, pick three preferred ‘Chosen time slots’ You must choose three and they will be a date and either ‘morning , afternoon or evening’
Enter any notes, then click on ‘request session’. You’ll then get a confirmation that your session request has been successfully submitted.
Now when you go to your dashboard you’ll see your session request under ‘booking proposals’ this will include the name of the therapist and the date you made the session request, as well as the status of the current request.
Once the therapist responds to your request with a date and time the status will change to ‘Awaiting confirmation of session’. When you see this, click the ‘confirm booking’ button. You’ll then be shown a or some potential appointment time slots that the therapist has provided for you.
Select the most convenient time slot then click ‘accept proposal’. You need to do this within 48 hours of receiving the proposed date and time or you will lost that time slot and will have to re- book.
You’ll then receive a booking confirmation email, and then an invite email closer to the time of your booked session. This email will contain a link you can use to access your session.
11. How do I create the right environment and ensure my privacy?
It is important to ensure that you create the best possible environment for your LiveTherapy session.
Ensure you are in a private space where you cannot be overheard
Ensure you will have no interruptions e.g. your phone is switched off and you are not expecting any visitors
Test your equipment well before your session is due to start (this can be done from the LiveTherapy homepage under ‘What to do’)
Ensure the lighting in the room is right and that if you’re using a headset it is plugged in or if not your volume is set appropriately
Don’t forget to ensure that after you have ended your session and finished any time on the Wall, that you Sign out of Big White Wall before walking away from your computer
If you are using a shared computer and do not wish anyone to see your browsing history, you can set your browser safety settings to private browsing. Alternatively you can delete your browsing history after the session
For more information on how to ensure your privacy and safety on Big White Wall please see ‘Keep safe on Big White Wall’
12. How can I review a LiveTherapy session?
Once you’ve finished a session, you’ll be presented with the option to rate your session. This information is collected and combined with others ratings and then anonymised on the therapist’s profile to help us track the quality of the service we are delivering.
After the session, your therapist will also keep a short narrative factual record of your session. You can view these notes and plan by going to your LiveTherapy and looking at ‘My history’ and then next to the date of your session by clicking the ‘details’ button. The purpose of this record is to act as an aide memoire of the key points of the session, it is not meant to be a narrative account of the session. You can add your own comments if you would like to but cannot request a change of the therapist’s record. However, if you feel there are factual errors in the therapist’s record, you can make a note of this in the record you make.
13. Technical trouble-shooting
The first thing to do to is to go the ‘Check your system’ tab in LiveTherapy which will run through a systems check and let you know if there are any issues detected. If there are any problems you will get a ‘System check falied!’ alert in red near the top of your screen.
You can then look down the list to see what the problem is.
You can skip this stage of testing even if there is a fail if you do not need to use your webcam for example but also in session you can access the ‘settings’ button and change your audio or video or mic and also see if you are connected in the session.
If you are not connected you will need to check your internet connection and make sure you are online.
My webcam isn’t working
If your camera isn’t working it could be due to a few different things; please take a look at the following checklist to better isolate the source of the problem.
If you’re using an external webcam is it plugged in properly?
Is the webcam also not working for other video chat programs such as Skype? This could indicate a problem with the actual webcam or your computer
Is the right webcam selected? If you have multiple webcams, you can check which one is selected to work with Big White Wall LiveTherapy by hovering over your webcam and clicking the Settings button. This will allow you to check which video webcam and microphone are selected.
I am having a problem hearing the participants of my chat/webinar. How do I adjust volume?
Simply adjust the volume on your computer to be louder or quieter as necessary.
I am hearing echo and/or feedback. What should I do?
If your speakers are set very to a high volume and they are near the microphone, this can produce echo. Try turning down the volume. If you still have issues, audio is always enhanced if one or both participants wear headphones- this eliminates the feedback problem.
The image is dark and/or pixelated. Can I improve the image?
This is usually caused by a lack of light. Brighten up the room and the image will improve markedly. Turn on a lamp, or, if possible, sit in front of a window during daylight hours.
I can’t see the face of the person I am chatting with. What should I do?
This is usually caused by the person being backlit. Ideally, light should shine towards the person, and not from behind. Bright light behind a participant will make them look like a dark shadow without visible facial features.
What can I do to improve the sound quality of my video chat?
Find a quiet place. If you are not using headphones, ambient noise will make you harder to hear. Turn off other chat services, as they may interfere with your camera and microphone. Move your mobile phone away from your computer, or turn it off completely. It can cause interference and introduce noise. Try to fill the frame with your face. This will help the sound as the microphone is most likely built into or near your keyboard.
If you see anything that is not answered by the FAQ that seems broken or odd we ask you to do two things:
In the bottom right hand corner you will see a 'Report Technical Fault' button. Click on it and give us a brief description of what went wrong… or what you didn’t understand. We will take a look at it and get back to you if you provide us with your email address.
Refresh your browser
Big White Wall LiveTherapy is slick technology but it is totally dependent on the capabilities of the browser. If you just hit refresh, you will likely clear the problem, and we will return you right back to your chat without you having to log in again.