9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Virtual Counseling
Dr. Stephen Etkind, Ed.D., HSP
Virtual counseling is a great way to get the benefit of support and guidance from a licensed counselor without leaving home. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your counseling journey.
Before your visit:
- Remember that needing to ask for help is normal. Everybody needs to talk to someone from time to time. When that time comes, we’re here. You might feel a little nervous about your first visit, and that’s OK. Your counselor will take the lead to help put you open up about what you’re going through.
- Think ahead about what you'd like to focus on. Anxiety, stress, depression, marital or work issues, and substance use are just some of the issues counselors are trained to address. Together, you’ll work towards a solution to get you feeling better.
- Don't worry about money — there is no cost to you! Just like telemedicine, requests to speak with a counselor can be made via mobile app, web, or phone 24/7. You’ll be quickly connected to a counselor who will do an initial assessment and match you with a counselor who specializes in your area of need.
When it's time to talk to your counselor:
- Remember, you've taken a positive step to helping yourself. The first step in any journey is often the hardest. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting started.
- Jot down a few things. If you are worried you may forget what you want to say, take a few minutes to prepare a list or jot down some thoughts. Having something in writing that you can refer to can help you make the most of the time you have with your counselor. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific things you might need, like resources, daily activities, or a daily schedule. Freely share information and thoughts without worrying if they’re relevant or not. Giving your counselor as much information as possible helps them help you.
- Find a comfortable, private location for your appointment. You’ll need 45-60 minutes to focus on you for the virtual counseling visit, so it’s important to have quiet and privacy. If you live with other people, ask them to give you some time alone. Or maybe you can take the call in your bedroom, in the backyard, or in your car.
After your counseling visit, focus on next steps:
- Take action. If one visit is all you need, great! But, if, like most people, you need more, you can schedule another visit. Your counselor will work with you to define and work toward your goal. Most change takes time, so be patient: you’ve taken action, and the results will follow.
- If your counselor is not a good fit for you, remember that there are more options. If you have any concerns about your visit, talk about it with your counselor. Counselors are here to help you, so it is important to be honest about what you liked and didn’t like. If you don’t think your counselor is the right person for you, that’s okay. You can change your counselor by simply creating a new request.
- Look toward the future. Think about what you took away from your visit and make a plan to work these new strategies into your day-to-day life. If something works for you, make it a priority. And remember that our counselors are here if you need to talk again.
Counseling can be a great help when you’re going through stressful challenges, facing tough decisions, or just want someone to talk to about a nagging problem. If you’re in need, take that first step to request a counseling visit. Help is at hand.
If your employer provides you with virtual counseling, use your First Stop Health mobile app to request a visit.
You can also log in here or call 888-691-7867.