In my past life, when I had a need to seek counselling for myself or family members, I wish I had known about email counselling. This included those times when I:

…Was tearing my hair out and needed to get it off my chest NOW.

…Couldn’t fit everything that was going on in only fifty minutes, let alone get any feedback.

…Thought, “what was that suggestion my counsellor made for when this situation comes up again??”

…Got so busy I completely forgot about my appointment, yet still had the pay the fee for the no-show :(.

Is it really possible to build a trusting and therapeutic relationship over email?

I firmly believe it is! I have come to this belief through extensive research on current practices, on-going professional training and personal experiences. In my responses to you, you will find that I use strategies and techniques to make it seem like we are together in the same room. Not only will you be able to hear my words, you will also “see” my body language and “hear” my thoughts. (Sounds strange right? You will get used to it, I promise!)

Letter writing isn’t just a relic of the past. Try telling people a hundred years ago that you couldn’t have an intimate letter writing relationship over a long period of time, sometimes even with people that you’d never met, sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings.

Is it really private?

You and I communicate through private conversational style letters, sent by email. All correspondence is scrambled (otherwise known as encrypted) through a secure server so that others cannot read what we write. Once you have received, signed and sent back your Welcome package, our sessions begin.

Some counsellors offer counselling through Skype as an option for those who have difficulty coming to their office. Due to privacy concerns Rainstorm Counselling & Consulting (RSCC) chooses not to go this route. Click here if you are interested in learning more about confidential video counselling.

What if I want to meet face to face (or talk on the phone) AND have email counselling? Can I do both?

Absolutely! I am all about choices.

How long will it take for you to respond to me?

I will respond to your first email within two business days. (My business days are Tuesdays to Fridays.) After that, we can decide together on the frequency of exchanges. You may wish extra time to try out suggestions before you write back. My responses to you are informative, thoughtful, encouraging and reflective, and are based on a full hour of counselling time.

I have more questions!

You can find a lot more on this website! Feel free to check out my blog postings over time:

  1. Ten Reasons to Choose Email Counselling
  2. Does Counselling by Email Really Work?
  3. Communicating Online: Ethical Concerns
  4. Peek Inside my Email Counselling Office

How do I get started with email counselling?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!*

Step 1: Send a brief email (including your phone number) to my business address: kirsten@kirstenluise.ca. Please do not include anything you might consider confidential.

(Alternate Step 1: Call me at 250-508-1394. If you reach an answering machine, please state your request, and include a password that you would like to use for RSCC’s encrypted email system.)

Step 2: We agree on a password (question and answer format, similar to sending money by email). *No money is exchanged at this point. This is simply to better ensure the confidentiality of our correspondence.

Step 3: I initiate confidential communication (including a welcome package that first needs to to be signed and returned) from the following address: kirstenluise@protonmail.com. You will need your keyword to access the message I send you. Any reply you send me is then considered to be secure.

But I don’t want to sign up for another email system!

One of the things I love about ProtonMail is that (even though I recommend it) my clients don’t have to sign up. Our conversation is still protected, as long as I start the conversation. Please note that by using this system, in order to protect your privacy online, letters will self-destruct from your inbox within four weeks. You may wish to save them elsewhere, but you do so at your own risk. I do recommend that you sign up for ProtonMail yourself in order to prevent this. This also means we don’t have to worry about passwords, and both of us could start a confidential thread.

ProtonMail is free, end to end encrypted email with servers based out of Switzerland. It is easy to use. Anyone who is familiar with web-based internet applications (such as Gmail) will immediately feel at home, as the navigation is very similar. You should not experience any difficulties with spam, ads, or solicitors. Proton Mail is also convenient in that it has both iOS and Android apps for your smartphone. Download the app from the App Store, or head over to the ProtonMail site to learn more and/or sign up.