At Online Counselling, we offer live web chat counselling (live chat), phone counselling (arranged through live chat) and email counselling.
Live chat is a text-based form of counselling. You will be able to chat with a counsellor in real time by typing your messages to the counsellor on the platform during operational hours. Our operational hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, excluding public holidays.
If you prefer to email the counsellor, you can send an email to share your challenges. Our counsellors will respond to your email within 3 working days.
We recognise that live chat or email counselling may not be suited for everyone and hence, we offer phone counselling as an alternative. To receive phone counselling, come onto our live chat platform and indicate your preference to the counsellor.
Please note that all communications over the Online Counselling platform will be conducted in English only.
First time users (Live Chat)
Step 1: Register for an account
You will first need to sign up for an account with us. All we need is your name and email address. Once you have signed up, you can log on to the Online Counselling platform to start chatting with us or email us.
Step 2: Come online to chat with a counsellor on live chat
To start live chat, log on to Online Counselling and click on the orange chat button.
Once you are in the chat room, our friendly online administrator will greet you and ask you to complete an online information form before you are assigned to a counsellor. Please complete the information form as this will help us with our research and programme evaluation. Be assured that you can remain anonymous as you complete the information form. After you have completed the information form, a counsellor will be assigned to you and you can start counselling.
If you log in after our operational hours, you will be able to leave us a message to let us know that you wanted to chat with a counsellor and one of us will get back to you in 3 working days with an appointment. Please select the box “I wish to chat with a counsellor but no one was available”, so we will know you wish to chat with us.
Step 3: Schedule for more counselling sessions if needed
Counselling is not a one-time event that will solve your problem. Sometimes, multiple counselling sessions may be required for you to work through your issues with the counsellor. By the end of your initial live chat session, your counsellor may discuss with you what you would like to achieve through counselling and arrange for further sessions with you if needed. If live chat is not suitable for you, you may choose to continue your counselling via phone. In certain cases, where another agency may be more suited for your needs, we may seek to refer you to that agency. We will always consult with you before referring you to a different agency.
You may choose to email us if you do not wish to do live chat or phone counselling. You can email us at your own convenience and one of our counsellors will get back to you within 3 working days.
Follow up counselling sessions with your counsellor are by appointments only. Your counsellor would have scheduled an appointment with you. As far as possible, the same counsellor will be working with you until the end of your counselling journey.
Step 4: Continue with live chat or phone counselling
Live chat counselling: To continue with live chat, please log back on to the Online Counselling platform for your appointment. Please be punctual for your appointment. We will only hold your counselling appointment slot for a maximum of 15 minutes. If you miss your appointment, your counsellor will email you subsequently to reschedule.
Phone counselling: To continue your counselling via phone, your counsellor will give you a call at the scheduled appointment time. Please note that Online Counselling is not a hotline service, and our calls to you may come from a private or blocked number. Also, do note that your call will be recorded for training and supervision purposes.
Step 5: End counselling
Counselling is meant to be short-term. Once you have achieved your counselling goals or are satisfied with your progress, your counsellor will discuss with you the termination of your counselling sessions. When it is time to stop counselling, your counsellor will work with you to develop a post-counselling support plan to help you continue with the improvements you have made.
Step 6: We welcome your feedback
To assist us with our research and evaluation, we hope to be able to speak with you in more details about your counselling journey with us. Hence, we hope you will give us your consent for us to contact you after your counselling with us. You may indicate your consent to participate in further research and evaluation on the intake form.
To reschedule session
If you are unable to make it to the appointment and wish to reschedule, please email us at [email address] at least an hour before the appointment, and your counsellor will get back to you via email to reschedule.
To cancel session
If you would like to cancel your session, please email us at [email address] at least an hour before the appointment.
To receive the full benefits of Online Counselling, we recommend for you to remain with the same counsellor throughout your counselling journey with us. This also allows us to provide continuity of counselling service to you. However, if you wish to change counsellor, you may email us to let us know that you would like a different counsellor and the reason for your request.
Email counselling is a form of counselling where you can share what is in your heart and mind through writing. For some, writing can be therapeutic, and it can be a good way for you to process your thoughts and feelings through written words. Your counsellor will respond to the issues you have raised in your email, “listen” to you with no judgement, and offer you different perspectives for your situation.
Email counselling is different from live chat or the usual form of counselling (i.e. face to face) as it takes place at a different pace. Our counsellors will take up to 3 working days to respond to your email. However, you can take as long as you need to ponder through what you or the counsellor has written, and consider your next course of action.
Research and evaluation of programme
We take great care in monitoring our own progress while you are on your counselling journey with us. By doing so, we routinely administer anonymous questionnaires that measure your wellbeing, counselling outcomes and your experience of the counselling sessions with us. We also seek to administer questionnaires that will help us understand the needs and demands of online counselling. Please be assured that we respect your privacy and will not be collecting personal information for research and evaluation purposes.
Getting Help for Emergencies and Crises
As Online Counselling is not a crisis hotline, we will not be able to provide you with the timely support that you will need during a crisis. Please refer to the following agencies to keep yourself or your loved ones safe.
If you are experiencing an emergency (e.g. someone’s life is in danger), please contact 999 (Police) and/or 995 (Emergency Medical Services) for immediate assistance.
Feeling suicidal or wanting to hurt yourself/ Mental health crisis
Going through divorce or marital difficulties can be very distressing and our counsellors would like to support you through them. However, if you are feeling suicidal, or wanting to hurt yourself, you need to keep yourself safe first. Please contact:
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) at 1-767 (24 hr) via phone call
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) CareText at 9151 1767 (24hr) via WhatsApp
Institute of Mental Health at 6389 2222 (24 hr) or seek help at its 24-hour Emergency Services
You may refer to the following websites for more information.
Samaritans of Singapore: https://www.sos.org.sg/
Institute of Mental Health (IMH): https://www.imh.com.sg/contact-us/
At risk of being harmed
If you are in danger due to family violence, at risk of being harmed by others, or have concerns about the well-being/safety of anyone, Online Counselling is not suitable for you. Please do any of the following:
- Call the Police at 999 for immediate assistance, send an emergency SMS to the police at 71999, or go to your nearest Neighbourhood Police Post/Centre.
- Contact the National Anti- Violence Hotline (NAVH) 24-hour hotline at 1800-777-0000 to seek assistance (more information is available here: https://www.msf.gov.sg/breakthesilence/Pages/Home.aspx).
- Go to the nearest Family Service Centre. To locate the centre closest to you, please refer to https://www.msf.gov.sg/dfcs/familyservice/.
If you are affected by family violence, you may consider contacting:
Trans Safe Centre
For more information on application for Personal Protection Orders, you may refer to https://www.judiciary.gov.sg/family/going-to-court-personal-protection-order-application
Confidentiality and alerting relevant authorities
Please note that we are bound by law and have a duty to inform relevant authorities (with or without your consent), such as the Police or MSF Child Protection Services, if you have informed us of a situation where you or another person/child is unsafe, at risk of harm or in situations where we are unable to sufficiently assess the safety of any persons. Where possible, we will discuss this with you first in order to involve you in the process.
For optimised Online Counselling experience
To optimise your Online Counselling experience with us, we recommend the following browsers and configurations on your electronic device.
- Google Chrome (latest 2 versions)
- Mozilla FireFox (latest 2 versions)
- Apple Safari (latest 2 versions)
- Microsoft Internet Explorer (latest version only)
- Microsoft Edge (latest 2 versions)
For mobile apps:
- iPhone: iOS11.0 and higher
- Android: Android 4.4 and higher
- iPad: iOS 8.0 and higher
- Cookies must be enabled
- Local storage must be enabled
- TLS v1.2 or above