The Virtual Therapist: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Counselling

Things are shifting in our global community. It’s hardly surprising that mental health care will adapt to the increasing prevalence of technology in people’s daily lives. The number of people who are resorting to internet counselling to address mental health difficulties is growing. So, what exactly is virtual therapy? What is the procedure? And do you think it’s a good fit? You read that right; online counselling is just therapy conducted via the internet. Communication with customers takes place via a variety of digital mediums, including chat, video chat, email, smartphone apps, and text messages.

One of the best things about online therapy is that it can be accessed from any location with a working internet connection. If you have a problem and want assistance, you can do so without leaving your house. It also means you don’t have to publicly broadcast the fact that you’re having problems and are seeking therapy from a therapist. There are certain considerations to make before beginning online counselling. Let’s check out a few of them.

It’s Important to Find a Therapist Who Can Help You Achieve Your Specific Goals

Finding a therapist to work with can be challenging if you haven’t done so already. However, like with any service, you have the freedom to investigate your options and compare prices. If you are unsure of where to begin, you may always see your doctor for a referral, or if it doesn’t feel quite right, you can always ask close friends and family for their input. To find a therapist who fits your needs, it’s crucial to check out their website and learn more about their background and therapeutic philosophy.

Get help from a therapist who specialises in the subject you want to focus on. Many provide details about their areas of expertise on their websites. Relationship problems, PTSD, anger management, childhood trauma, addiction, sexuality/LGBTQ2S+, and pretty much anything else you can think of can all be addressed by a therapist. Call them up and inquire as to their level of knowledge if you have any doubts. If they are unable to solve your problem, they may know of someone who can.

Consultation Requests Are Encouraged

Because of these factors, no single definition of a therapy session can be given. If you’re looking for a one-time chat, some short-term help during a difficult change in life, or something more long-term to improve your overall physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, therapy may be whatever you need it to be.

A Consultation is Recommended but Not Required Before Beginning Therapy

It is quite fine, though, to ask for a phone consultation with a prospective therapist before committing to regular sessions. Most therapists anticipate this since they know that selecting a therapist is a significant life event and that the first session can be intimidating. This is your chance to get answers to your questions about treatment and to evaluate the therapist to see if they’re a good fit for you. To make the most of your first appointment, consider asking the following:

  • When assisting others, how do you often go about doing so?
  • When working with clients, have you encountered issues similar to mine before?
  • When we meet, what can I anticipate?
  • I’m not sure what your expectations of me will be. Is there going to be homework?
  • How will we collaborate to set objectives and measure my development?
  • How easy is it to schedule a meeting and how often will we need to see each other? 
  • To what extent does this set you back? 
  • Will my health insurance pay for my treatment sessions? 
  • Is there a chance to negotiate a lower price or a sliding scale?

Here is the Definitive Resource for Psychotherapy Sessions Conducted via the Internet

Set Up Your Workspace So That You Can Have a Casual Conversation With the Customer Without Being Interrupted

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to conduct virtual sessions in the same space as your in-person meetings, your existing clientele will feel right at home. If you can’t make it to your regular therapy appointment, you must find a calm, well-lit place where you may work on your issues at home instead. Any online meeting place should have the same sense of closeness and privacy as a face-to-face meeting.

Maintain Open Communication to Develop Trust and Confidence

As a customer, you can reassure yourself that you are alone in the room by simply picking up the computer and walking around with it. Furthermore, if you’re taking notes during the session, you should inform the client of this and display the clipboard or notepad in question so that they aren’t left wondering what that scribbling noise is.

Make Sure Your Customer is in a Quiet, Comfortable Setting

Since you can’t assume your customer will have already thought about this, it’s best to let them know before the session begins. It’s easy to forget that the therapeutic space is more sacred and, most crucially, more secret than most other interactions because so much of our daily contact occurs online. We have experienced being “carried around” to the point of near dizziness; this occurs, for instance, when clients are accidentally startled in the middle of a session and must shift rooms, bringing their therapist with them. 

Plan for Plenty of Extra Time in Case of Any Technical Difficulties

The microphone may need permission to operate. Perhaps only one browser works on your operating system. Is it necessary to update and reinstall the platform for it to work? There are a lot of potential minor technical issues, so it’s best to test out the technology with a friend or coworker first. Use a safe platform that complies with all privacy regulations. 

Use Headphones So You Don’t Miss Any of Your Client’s Nuanced Speech

If you’re using a computer, step seven is to log out of all accounts, close all open programs, and activate the “Do Not Disturb” setting. Therefore, you won’t be startled by a “ping” or otherwise sidetracked by an incoming email during your session. Protect the privacy and concentration of your session by going full screen and closing all other programs running in the background. The computer presents a wealth of potential distractions.

All of these suggestions are aimed at novices, but if you want to take your practice to the next level, it’s wise to find a supervisor who either specialises in online therapy or has extensive experience with it. In this approach, the online component won’t be a mere afterthought, but rather an integral part of your professional development as a therapist.