This is an example of a Therapeutic (also known as Private) Conversations that I use with my clients online. Many people have asked me to provide an example of the format used so they can more fully understand the work I am doing using the Privacemail platform. The details of the situation are totally made up, thus the name Pretend, but I think it gives a good example of my online (e-therapy) work.

Sue Allen
Greetings and welcome to my cyber-counselling office [offering you a warm smile…. and a firm handshake]

Pretend     I have been feeling so stressed lately and didn’t know here to turn. Everyone has been giving me advice about my situation and that has not been helpful. Finally a good friend suggested I go for counselling so I contacted you.

Sue Allen
I would like to commend you for taking the step to contact me for counselling – some people find this a
v-e-r-y…….. difficult ………. d-e-c-i-s-i-o-n to make.
Good for you to take the time to look after yourself. I look forward to our work together.


Pretend      First let me explain my situation. My partner of ten years and I have two children aged 5 and 7. They are involved in a lot of activities so at least four times a week we have to take one of them to their activities and then Saturday morning is hockey at 8am.

Sue Allen
WOW!!!!!! – you are a *busy* family

[sitting back in my chair and just now remembering when my children were young and the number of activities they were involved in – it sometimes felt like being on a merry-go-round that just would not stop – I was having fun but sometimes felt a bit off balance]. I wonder if you ever feel this way???


Pretend     We really want them to be involved in activities – to have experiences we did not have as children.

Sue Allen
Sounds like      family            is very important!!!!!    to you and your partner.


Pretend     This all seemed manageable at first. Three months ago my manager went on sick leave (he will be away for six months) and I was approached to take over his responsibilities. My partner and I discussed this, and in the end thought this was an opportunity I could not pass up. I have to say I was anxious in the beginning but the work end of things seems to be working out better than I anticipated. I have to work longer hours but my partner has taken on more of the household responsibilities and driving of the kids back and forth. But I must say I was getting tired and worrying a lot about if things would get done at home. I have always been the organizer.

Sue Allen
Earlier you said you have been      *stressed*       lately and now your are talking about      *being tired*
Hmm……… [I am just wondering about something, but could be waaay off base]
When you are feeling *stressed and/or tired* do feelings like *worry* creep into your life more? The reason I ask this, is sometimes when anyone is not feeling 100% things like – *worry, anxiety, fears, etc, etc, etc* can come around and influence a person’s perspective. Do you think this might be happening with you????

Pretend   A few weeks ago my aging father fell and broke his hip.

Sue Allen
I am so sorry to hear this [concerned look on my face].

Pretend    Now he is needing support and I am trying to arrange home care, etc. Although there have been some helpful people assisting me to arrange for his needs – I feel that I have entered a new world.

Sue Allen
Does it feel like the merry-go-round just picked up speed????
Or maybe
A rubber band which has reached it’s stretching point is about to break!!!!!!

Pretend    Not sure if I am making the right decisions for my father. And I feel so guilty that I cannot see him as much as I would like to.


Sue  Allen

You are in a                      *v-e-r-y d-i-f-f-i-c-u-l-t*                     situation.
You have the
• Busyness of your family
• Assumed more responsibility at work
• And now also having to look after your father and his best interests


I was wondering what you are doing to cope and look after yourself? Self care is important.

When you said you feel like you have *entered a new world* what do you mean? [taking a guess] that it might mean navigating some new heathcare systems. If this is the case my experience is that it can be CONFUSING to say the least. Many people I have worked with say they have found it helpful to find someone within the system to assist them in navigation it [just a suggestion].

Pretend   My siblings live very far away so they can’t help, but I am starting to feel so angry with them. It is fine for them to go on vacation but not to come and visit our father.
I just don’t know how much more I can cope with.

Sue Allen
I have asked a lot of questions and put forward a number of ideas. Take some time to consider them [hoping they are helpful].

It doesn’t seem like things will change for the better anytime soon.

So….. I would invite you to think about what you need to help you get through this time. Some people use exercise, or mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation, or a walk in nature. With being strrreched as you it will be important to carve out some time for your own self care. It might be difficult BUT important.
I look forward to our next conversation.