What is the first day of online counseling like?

Online counseling has become the new normal, especially this year in the wake of a global pandemic. Where before, clients would walk through the doors of a counselor, therapist or psychiatrist in preparation for an in-person meeting, now a majority of therapy settings take place online. And although there are certainly differences between online and in-person counseling, the underlying benefits remain the same.

If you’re committed to therapy as a means for fostering positive change, for addressing life’s challenges and pursuing freedom, counseling is likely going to be a part of your journey. Especially if you find yourself facing mental health problems or substance use habits, online counseling could be a required portion of your rehab.

It’s pretty clear what you can expect from traditional counseling. You’ll be conversing with a counselor or therapist in a controlled environment, inside a room where you’re free to discuss whatever thoughts or feelings are on your mind. Online counseling can be even more intimidating than in-person counseling, mostly because we don’t really know what to expect. And in an uncomfortable environment, it’s often more difficult to embrace vulnerability and honesty.

Let’s take the time to break down exactly what you can expect from your first day of online counseling, everything from preparing your internet connection to conversing with your counselor.

How to prepare for your first online counseling session

Make sure that you take the necessary steps to prepare for your online counseling session. Especially if this is your first time participating in online counseling, there are a few steps to follow to make sure you’re in the right frame of mind ahead of time.

First, you’ll want to make sure that all of the technology you’ll be using works. Take the time to test your internet connection, to ensure that it’s consistent and strong. If you’re at all concerned that your internet connection might not be able to sustain a secure video call, we suggest connecting your computer directly into your internet router. This will ensure the fastest possible internet connection for your device. It’s also worth testing both your camera and your microphone, to make sure that you can hear audio and be heard.

In addition, make sure that you keep your conversation with your counselor between you and him or her. If there are other individuals in the house, consider using headphones so that you’re the only one hearing audio. And if you’re worried that other members of the family might hear your side of the conversation, consider using a noise machine or a source of white noise, to drown out any dialogue.

Importantly, you should also take the time to set yourself at ease. As with any online counseling session, you’ll be asked to be honest in sharing your thoughts and feelings, and that can understandably be a cause of concern for many. Whether you take a short walk, listen to your favorite album, cook a favorite meal, read part of a favorite book, call a close friend or simply change into a comfortable outfit, make sure you take steps to put both your mind and body in the right state.

What can I expect from online counseling?

Not sure what you can expect from your first online counseling session? Here’s the good news: it’s up to you. During your first session, your counselor or therapist is simply looking to learn more about you, your situation and the challenges you face. Your therapist is there to listen, to speak and to advise you as you navigate life’s difficulties.

You can expect to answer a healthy number of questions from your therapist, as they develop a better understanding of the obstacles you face and how best to help you overcome them. At a certain juncture, you can also expect that your therapist will take the time to offer up specific recommendations that can help you face your issues. These recommendations might include a combination of therapy and FDA-approved medication, as well as successive counseling sessions.

Counselors at Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling regularly help clients navigate the following challenges, and more:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • Grief and loss
  • Adolescent issues
  • Stress
  • Work/life conflicts
  • Parental issues

Earn online counseling benefits from day one

Online counseling can help you address some of life’s biggest struggles. Online counseling can help you earn proven help from licensed medical professionals, all on a schedule that’s most convenient for you. If you’re going through something, we’re ready to help. Take steps toward better, brighter days through the counseling help that Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling can provide, by calling 1-800-809-2925 or filling out our concise online counseling form.