For technical troubleshooting, scroll towards the bottom of the questions.
What is Live Therapy?
Live Therapy offers individual online therapy via a secure platform. You can choose from a directory of qualified therapists with different therapeutic approaches. You can also choose whether you receive your therapy via video, audio or instant text messaging.
After you request a session your therapist will be able to confirm and book you in. Once you've finished your session you will have a chance to review your therapy.
Big White Wall developed Live Therapy in response to the demand of our online community. It was also a response to conversations with NHS commissioners. They expressed a need for innovative ways to reduce waiting times, extend access and offer more choice of psychological therapies.
Live Therapy is CQC (Care Quality Commission) registered and is suitable for people aged 18+.
What does it cost?
If you are referred by the NHS you will be able to access your sessions free of charge. You will receive a prescription email which you can use to register, or add the sessions to an existing account. Please note our monthly paid option does not include access to Live Therapy. The Live Therapy service is not currently available to purchase with a private subscription.
How does Live Therapy link with other aspects of Big White Wall?
As well as your therapy sessions, you will have six months of access to the other services provided by Big White Wall. Both our Support Network and Guided Support courses are available 24/7. These services aim to help you self-manage your mental wellbeing. They offer access to a community of people experiencing common mental health issues. According to our members one of the most important aspects of our other services is the anonymity. This allows members to express themselves freely.
Wall Guides are online 24/7 to offer help or advice, and can be a valuable form of support between therapy sessions.
All activity on the Support Network is separate from Live Therapy. So you should not assume that your therapist is aware of any of your activity on the Support Network. It is your responsibility to update your therapist on anything significant that has occurred between sessions.
Is therapy right for me and how do I choose my therapist?
Talking therapy can help anyone improve their understanding of themselves, and their quality of life. It can be particularly useful if you are struggling with emotional health problems or difficult life experiences. These may include issues with your relationships, home or work life.
Your therapist will be happy to discuss how suitable therapy is for you in your first session. Please note that if you are currently seeing a therapist elsewhere you should not book a Live Therapy session.
You can read about the specific types of therapy we offer on our ‘Therapy Types’ page.
Will I be anonymous in Live Therapy?
No, unlike the SupportNetwork you will not be anonymous while using LiveTherapy. But you do have the choice of how to interact with your therapist (audio/video/instant messaging).
You will be able to use instant text messaging if you do not enable your webcam or microphone. But you will still need to install the video plugin on the system check page to use instant messaging or audio.
Your therapist will always ask for your personal information in your first session. If a practitioner or organisation refers you, your referral will contain identifying details (name, address, date of birth and NHS number). The reason that we take this information for Live Therapy is to prioritise your safety.
What happens if I am in crisis, or my therapist believes I pose a risk to myself or others?
If your therapist recognises that you or someone else may be at risk during a session, they will take steps to help you reduce the risk of harm. Because Live Therapy is a remote service, this will usually involve:
- Asking if there is another adult at your location, who you can turn to for support.
- Encouraging you to contact the appropriate emergency services.
- In exceptional circumstances arranging for the emergency service to come and assist you.
In cases where we consider you or another person to have been at risk of harm, we will usually inform appropriate local services which can offer support. This may be your GP or the healthcare professional responsible for your care. In the event of non-acute risk arising in your therapy, your therapist will discuss their concerns with you. They may raise these concerns with the Live Therapy clinical team who may contact your GP or referring service.
How can I connect with my therapist?
The only way you can contact your therapist is via the ‘send a message’ or ‘request a session’ buttons on the ‘Our Therapists’ page. You will not receive any personal contact details of your therapist. You must also not attempt to contact your therapist outside of Big White Wall. Any attempted contact of this nature could result in the cancellation of your membership with Big White Wall.
In certain circumstances your therapist may use their Big White Wall email to send you material to support your therapy. But this will only occur when you consent to them using your personal email address.
What happens if I can't attend a session?
Please let us know as soon as possible if you have booked a session which you can no longer attend. You can do this by sending a message to your therapist using the ‘send a message’ button on the ‘Our Therapists’ page.
If you cancel your session within 24 hours of the session start time, you will lose the session. We cannot reinstate sessions you have cancelled within 24 hours.
What are the minimum technical requirements for using Big White Wall Live Therapy?
In simple terms you will need:
- Laptop or computer with a webcam
- Internet connection (see section 15 for advice on internet issues)
- Modern operating system (Mac OS / Windows 7+)
- Latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Our personal recommendation would be Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Please note that the Windows 10 browser Microsoft Edge is incompatible with LiveTherapy
- Headset (Live Therapy will work without a headset, but having one is highly recommended)
How do I book a Big White Wall Live Therapy session?
To book a Live Therapy session, you will need to log into Big White Wall and visit the Live Therapy page.
- Click on the ‘Our Therapists’ tab. You’ll then see a list of our Big White Wall therapists.
- Click the ‘request session’ button, or 'more information' to see the therapist's general availability.
- Complete the system check to make sure your laptop or PC can run a session. If you encounter any problems please look at section 15 below.
- Pick three preferred ‘chosen time slots’ including a date and either 'morning, afternoon or evening'.
- You’ll receive a confirmation that you've submitted your session request. Under ‘My Live Therapy’ you’ll see your session request under ‘My bookings in progress’.
Step five confirms that you have made a request. Once the therapist responds with a date and time the status will change to ‘Awaiting confirmation of session’. When you see this, click the ‘confirm booking’ button. You will then be able to pick the most convenient time slot from the options your therapist has given you. To accept please click ‘accept proposal’.
Note: You need to do this within 48 hours of receiving the proposed date and time. If you don't you will lose the time slot and you will have to re-book.
You will then receive a booking confirmation email. You will also receive an invite email closer to the time of your booked session. This email will contain a link you can use to access your session. Otherwise you can log in and access your session through the Live Therapy section of the website.
If you still have questions about booking a Live Therapy session, please email email@example.com and we can help.
When do I need to book a Live Therapy session?
We recommend that you make your first booking within two weeks of signing up. This is to make sure you have enough time to complete your therapy during your six-month Big White Wall subscription.
If you do not book a session within 90 days of registering for Live Therapy, you will be discharged from this part of our service.
You must book all future sessions within 28 days of your last completed session. If you don't you will be discharged from Live Therapy and unable to book any more sessions.
You may take a longer break between sessions if you and your therapist agree on it. But you must ensure you have a future session booked. You must also complete all sessions within 6 months of you first accessing Big White Wall.
How do I create the right environment and ensure my privacy?
It is important that you create the best possible environment for your Live Therapy 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.
- Ensure there is enough lighting, and that you've plugged in your headset.
- Don’t forget to sign out of Big White Wall before leaving your computer.
- If you do not wish anyone to see your browsing history, you can set your browser safety settings to private browsing. Or 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 follow the ‘Keep safe on Big White Wall’ link located in the bottom left corner of the website.
How can I attend a Live Therapy session?
Once you have confirmed a time for your first session (see above), you will be able to see the appointment time and date on the main Live Therapy homepage, under ‘My Bookings’.
Live Therapy appointments are accessible through our website. At the time of your appointment, please log in and visit Live Therapy. Next to your appointment time, you will see a button to ‘Enter Session’. If you do not see this option, please refresh the web page. You will need to complete a pre-session questionnaire before entering your appointment.
How can I review a Live Therapy session?
Once you’ve finished a session, you’ll have the option to rate your experience. We collect this information anonymously and combine the ratings on the therapist’s profile. This helps us to track the quality of the service we are delivering.
After the session, your therapist will create a factual record of your session. You can view these notes three days after the end of your session by going to ‘My Live Therapy' and looking at ‘My history’. You can then click the ‘details’ button next to the date of your session.
The purpose of this record is to act as an aide memoir of the key points of the session. You can add your own comments to this record using the ‘member notes’ section, but you cannot request a change to the therapist’s record. If you feel there are factual errors in the therapist’s record, you can make a note of this in your record.
If you encounter any technical difficulties, please go to the system check page in the Live Therapy section to test your system’s compatibility. You will see a ‘System check failed!’ alert in red near the top of your screen if the check fails. You should take note of any element which doesn’t have a tick next to it.
- Use the right device - please use a PC or laptop to access Live Therapy – phones and tablets do not support the platform.
- Use the right OS - please use an up-to-date Windows or Mac operating system. Windows 7, 8 and 10 will be able to support Live Therapy. Windows XP and all previous versions of Windows are no longer supported or updated by Microsoft. As a result they may not be able to access the Live Therapy platform. Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and later versions will be able to support Live Therapy.
- Use the right browser - if your first choice of browser is experiencing difficulties, we would recommend trying a different one. The most effective browsers to access Live Therapy are Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Internet Explorer and Safari will also work with the installation of the video plugin (see 6. below). Do not use the Microsoft Edge browser (Windows 10’s default browser).
- Use a good internet connection - if your internet connection is poor, it can sometimes cause the ‘network’ field on the system check to fail. Try testing your internet speed at www.speedtest.net. A download speed below 6 megabytes per second (6 mbps) may cause problems with webcam streaming. Upload speeds under 1 mbps will find it difficult to support the service. Lastly, the PING score should be below 15.
There are many ways to improve your internet speed and connection:
- You can try sitting closer to the wireless modem. If possible, we recommend using a wired connection.
- Anyone connected to your router may slow the connection speed with the use of electrical devices such as phones or games consoles. The use of video streaming services like Skype can also reduce internet speed.
- Reboot your computer or switch your internet modem on and off again.
- Contact your internet provider to see if you can have your router signal strengthened.
- Use the right audio/video devices
We recommend a headset for clear audio communication with your therapist. But you can test your microphone, speakers and webcam through your computer settings. (Control panel on Windows, system preferences on a Mac).
Once inside your Live Therapy session, below the webcam feeds there is a 'settings' button. You can use the drop-down menus to choose the correct audio input, output and video capture device.
- Install the Video plugin (for Internet Explorer/Safari)
On Internet Explorer and Safari, Live Therapy requires the download of a video plugin, even if you don’t intend to use a webcam or microphone. On the system check page you will see a prompt at the top of the page to install the Temasys WebRTC Plugin.
- Click the ‘Install Now’ button. There will be a prompt at the bottom of the page with a button to ‘run’ the plugin.
- A pop-up will display the plugin license agreement. Click the box to accept the terms, and then click ‘install’.
- Once the plugin has installed you will need to click ‘finish’ and refresh the page. In the rare case that the antivirus software on your computer, such as McAfee, AVG or Norton antivirus, blocks the plugin software, temporarily disabling it to download the plugin can work. Please ensure you restore your antivirus software after downloading the plugin.
Common issues with Live Therapy
I get a grey box rather than a view of my webcam feed, what should I do?
Under the grey box, you will see camera and speaker buttons, located next to the ‘settings’ button. When you click these buttons they will turn from red to green. Your webcam feed should appear. If this does not work, or you cannot see your therapist's webcam, there is likely an issue with your connection. If you are using Internet Explorer or Safari, you may need to install the video plugin on the system check page.
My therapist can't hear me or I can’t hear my therapist, what should I do?
This could be down to your microphone or your internet connection. Below your webcam feed, click the ‘settings’ button. Use the drop-down menus to change your audio devices, and you may improve your audio. Please refer to the advice for a better internet connection in section 15 above. If you are not using headphones your speakers may create an echo. Ambient noise will also make you harder to hear, so we recommend connecting a headset.
The image is dark and/or pixelated. Can I improve the image?
Please refer to the advice on strengthening your internet connection in section 15.
Can I report an error?
You should report any errors to your therapist first. You can send your therapist a message by returning to the Live Therapy homepage. You can then click on ‘our therapists’ and choose the ‘send a message’ option.
If you’ve followed the advice in section 15 and 16 and you’re still unable to pass the system check please email firstname.lastname@example.org