Online counselling can appeal for lots of different reasons. Being able to see a counsellor online can open the possibility of healing for people who don’t want to or can’t see someone face to face. In my experience it can be just as effective as being in the same room together too. Here are 5 ways to get the most from your online counselling.
There may be lots of different reasons for considering online counselling. Perhaps life is busy, you travel a lot with work, have a mobility issue or disability. Maybe, you are shielding or your chosen counsellor lives in a different area to you.
Sometimes, the thought of meeting with a counsellor in person feels too overwhelming or heightens anxiety. Perhaps you just feel more comfortable in your own surroundings.
Whatever your personal motivation, meeting online, via webcam or by phone, offers you a way that you can access the counselling support that you need now.
For me personally, both as a counsellor and as a client, it felt a bit strange at first meeting online. Over recent months, I’ve learnt a great deal about what helps me, and my clients, to feel more confident and relaxed when meeting online.
Here are my 5 tips for getting the most from online counselling.
1. Find the right online counsellor for you.
Since our first experience of lockdown around the world in early 2020, many counsellors are now offering to see people online. This means that you are no longer restricted to working with a counsellor in your local area. Travel time doesn’t have to be a consideration any longer.
You might want to choose a counsellor with a particular area of interest or specialism. Availability might be important to you. Or perhaps the way that a counsellor works online is key – there are different options including via webcam (zoom or WhatsApp Video), by phone, instant messaging, or email.
Check what your chosen counsellor offers and discuss with them extra training they may have done or the experience they have in working in this way.
If you feel unsure about how to choose the right counsellor or where to begin, you might find my recent blog helpful.
Give yourself some time before and after the session to enable you to focus on your counselling.
When we see our counsellor online we don’t have the travelling time to and from the appointment, to be able to collect our thoughts, to think about what you have talked about or allow our emotions to settle.
It’s easy to dash around completing an endless list of tasks beforehand, see our counsellor and then immediately throw ourselves back into everyday life. But this can leave us feeling wobbly, uncertain, or unsettled.
Create some time before and after your appointment.
You might just like to grab a cuppa, go for a walk, sit quietly or you might find journaling helpful.
Counselling can be hard work and the foundations that you create for yourself through good self-care (of which your counselling is one part) can play a huge part in your healing and growth.
3. Find somewhere private
Decide where you are going to be during your session. Think about how private it is. Finding somewhere were you won’t be overheard, overlooked, or interrupted is really important. This will help you to feel free to talk openly, about what you want to talk about during your session.
This might involve setting some boundaries with other people at home. Maybe you need people to be out of the house, in a different area of the house or just not hoovering outside the door!
I explored boundaries and how to go about setting them in my blog earlier this year.
If it just isn’t possible to find some space at home, for whatever reason, you might want to sit in your car, for example.
If you do choose to sit in your car, ensure that you aren’t using blue tooth or your hands free as this projects your voice, and that of your counsellor for everyone around to hear!
4. Get your kit sorted!
Ensure that your equipment is set up. If you are using a phone or tablet, prop it up against some books so that you don’t end up with arm ache holding your phone for an hour!
Check your internet connection.
Ensure that the device you are using is fully charged or plugged in.
Turn off any notifications that might ping part way through and distract you.
Make sure that you know how you are going to connect with your counsellor. If you are talking by phone, who is ringing who.
If you aren’t familiar with using a particular way of connecting for example Zoom, ask your counsellor to talk you through how you will connect and what you need to do.
Practicing beforehand might be helpful and enable you to put any nerves about the technology to one side.
5. Get Comfortable
So, you’ve chosen the best private place for you to be, your kit is all set up, it’s time to get comfortable.
You might want to grab a drink in your favourite mug. Ensure that you are warm enough and that where you are sitting is comfy.
You might want to move around during your session, sometimes sitting still for long periods of time can be uncomfortable and it is OK to move.
Online counselling can give you the chance to access therapy from the comfort of your own home. It can be just as effective as meeting a counsellor in person. I hope that these 5 tips will enable you to consider what simple things you can do to help you to get the most from your online counselling.
I work with people just like you, you don’t need to continue to struggle alone. If counselling online or by phone appeals to you get in touch to arrange an initial session on 07305 621885 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading
About the Author
Sarah is a qualified Counsellor, working online, by phone or face to face from her counselling room near Chorley, Lancashire. She works with adults and couples who want to gain clarity, find new direction, figures out ‘who am I?’ and be less haunted by painful emotions. Sarah has a particular interest in working with people who have experienced change (such as redundancy, retirement, or divorce), loss or bereavement.