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Preparing for Online and Phone Counselling Session

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

For some of us, meeting a counsellor or psychologist online will feel like a seamless transition and for others, this new experience can be a big adjustment.

Maybe you are asking yourself...

Will it feel like just another online meeting? Will I be able to open up? Do I need to deal with downloading even more applications? How do I know if this technology will work? I don’t have a laptop; will it work on my phone? I don’t like looking at myself on the screen; will I be able to adjust the view?

Different variations of these questions and worries can really take up a lot of your attention, which is understandable. Here are a few tips on what you might expect and how you can prepare for your first online therapy session:

Choose the Right Time and Place for You:

  • Pick the time of the day when you feel most present.

  • Consider a time where you will be uninterrupted, it must be quiet with no distractions.

  • No matter where you plan to have your telehealth online session, choose a room or a space that can provide maximum privacy, where you can be sure that nobody will overhear you or walk in.

  • It is okay to be creative — if the house is too busy, you can sit in the car, park, beach or in the garden.

  • Check if the place where you plan to sit feels comfortable, and make sure there is sufficient light as it is really important for you and your therapist to be able to see each other clearly.

Test and Prepare your Device

  • Check out our website for the key technical points you need to know about online counselling; it’s as easy as cut and paste using the link that we will email you. Make sure you have a stable internet connection and suitable devices.

  • Whatever device you use, please make sure it’s fully charged. It might be a good idea to have a phone charger nearby in case your battery drains fast.

  • It is advisable to use a headset as the sound quality is better and it helps ensure your confidentiality if there are others in the house.

  • Using laptop or desktop computer is more practical than phone or tablet because you do not need to hold the device and they usually have better video/audio resolution. If you are using a phone or tablet, place the device in a way that you do not need to hold it as your hand will get tired.

  • For couples counselling, try and use a laptop or desktop computer.

What can I expect in My First Online Session

When you click on your link, you will enter a virtual waiting room. Your therapist will invite you into the session at the time of your appointment. If you are having a phone counselling session, your therapist will call from a private number.

At the start of the session, your therapist will provide guidance regarding some ‘house-keeping’ issues such as possible interruptions, internet failure, laptop/phone battery failure, etc.

It might feel a bit awkward to suddenly see a complete stranger appearing on your screen. That is absolutely normal.

Unlike face-to-face appointments, you will be able to see yourself and the therapist on the screen. If you are feeling self-conscious, adjust the view where you can see only the therapist. It is important to feel comfortable. I find that it is less distracting to not have your view of yourselves on screen.

Your therapist will be able to share handouts that you can download; you can download anything that is written on the whiteboard during your session and share PDF files with your therapist.

Final Tips

Most of all, remember that this time is for you and it will be beneficial for you to allow yourself to relax and know that the therapist is here to help and put you at your ease.

Be on time, have an open mind and willing heart.

If you have a faith, pray and invite God and the Holy Spirit into your session.

Have some tissues nearby.

Lastly, take some time before and after your first online session. It is very important to allow yourself some quiet time after the session before you go back to your daily routines.

Here are more recommendations for a successful online counselling session and an article regarding the benefits of online counselling.

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