4.3 Learning to use Zoom

Once you have chosen your platform, you need to learn how to use it. Sarah spoke about Zoom’s features, such as screen-sharing. In Activity 13 you will have a go at setting up a Zoom account and an online meeting room, as well as learning more about how to use Zoom.

At the time of publication (April 2020) there are ongoing developments relating to Zoom’s security and data protection features. We recommend you check regularly for the latest updates (such as Hanson, 2020) and amend any information in your contract accordingly.

Activity 13: Zoom

Timing: Allow approximately 30 minutes

This activity works better if you can arrange an online meeting with a friend. You can invite your friend to the meeting by sending them the meeting URL (more on this below).

  1. If you don’t have one already, set up a Zoom account. Note that you will need an email address to sign up at the Zoom website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . With your counselling Zoom account you might want to not sign in with Google or Facebook, even though both are available as options.
  2. Follow the steps to activate your account and then download the desktop app.
  3. Open a meeting. Note that in a real meeting, you should make your clients aware of Zoom’s privacy policy; as a security measure you may also want to set a password to access the meeting. At the bottom of the screen there is an icon of an audio headset with an arrow beside it; click on the arrow and then on ‘Test speaker and microphone’. If you can get a friend to join you in a meeting, practice how to:
    • mute yourself
    • mute them
    • stop the video
    • share your screen
    • end the meeting.
  4. Try scheduling a meeting. (The Zoom website has guidance on how to do this.)
    • You can schedule the meeting at the same time every week.
    • Select ‘Generate meeting ID automatically’, because you probably don’t want clients who know your private meeting ID to be able to randomly call you.
    • Choose the password option – this ensures that only people who have been emailed the meeting invite can access the virtual room.
    • Under the ‘Calendar’ option, if you click on the ‘Other calendar’ button you will get a window that has all the information you need to email someone so that they can access your online counselling session.
    • Under the advanced options you can select ‘Waiting room’, which allows you to choose when to let the client into the virtual room – meaning you have time to check that your camera and sound are working and that your hair is not sticking up!

You should use the following settings:

MeetingSchedule MeetingRequire password for participants joining by phone: On
In Meeting (Basic)Require Encryption for 3rd Party Endpoints (H323/SIP): On
Feedback to Zoom: Off
Screen sharing: On1/Who can share? All Participants
Waiting Room: On
RecordingLocal recording: Off
Cloud recording: Off
Automatic recording: Off
Recording disclaimer: On2
1 This is to allow for the counsellor showing resources to their client, or the client sharing something – perhaps a family genogram or thought diary.
2 This means that the other person has to consent to recording by clicking a button.

Zoom allows you to record sessions (both video and audio). If you start to record a session, your client will see a ‘record’ icon. Recording creates additional highly sensitive personal data that is subject to GDPR, so it is not recommended. If you are hosting the meeting, your client will not be able to record the session through Zoom unless you give them permission.

Changing your background in Zoom is not possible on all computers. If you can do it, you may find it helpful to use an image of the counselling room where you usually meet the client as your background. This also overcomes any issues related to the background you would otherwise have. To do this, go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Virtual background’, and select or upload the image you want from there.

4.2 Practical considerations

4.4 Clinical considerations