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FAQs: Virtual Counseling

Find answers to questions about how counseling works, preparing for a visit and more.


You may have heard of long-term counseling, where you regularly see your counselor for months or even years. Patients focus on a deeper exploration of the root causes of ongoing life issues.  

Short-term counseling takes a more solution-oriented approach. During this type of counseling, you’ll focus on identifying immediate solutions to the issue you are facing. With First Stop Health Virtual Counseling, you will work with your counselor to:  

  • Gain new strategies for navigating life’s challenges. Your counselor can help you make sense of difficult situations, learn new coping strategies, and develop healthy habits to adapt to challenges. 
  • Solve problems and make changes to improve your life. Life is constantly changing and so are you. Your counselor will work with you to solve the problem at hand and provide guidance so you can get back to feeling your best.   
  • Get referrals to longer-term care, if needed. If you know you need support but aren’t sure where to begin, short-term counseling can be a great place to get started. Generally, those who use First Stop Health Virtual Counseling have about 3-5 visits with their counselor — but your experience will be personal to you. First Stop Health counselors can provide referrals to in-network therapists, support groups and more when needed. 

Knowing when you should reach out for guidance can be tough. While there is no one right reason to seek counseling, you might want to consider it when you: 

  • Have run out of advice from friends and family. 
  • Are going through a change in your career, relationship or living situation.  
  • Are experiencing new feelings of depression or anxiety.   
  • Are ready to get support for alcohol or substance use.  
  • Have recently lost a loved one or close friend.  
  • Just feel like you need to talk with someone. Trust yourself. 

Short-term counseling can address a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, work/life stress, relationships, substance use, grief and more. 

Our counselors are here to help you with depression and anxiety, work/life stress, marital or relationship concerns, substance use, grief and more.

First Stop Health Virtual Counseling is short-term. You will work with your counselor to gain the tools and skills you need to feel better. The number of visits you have will depend upon your progress and level of need. 

A First Stop Health counselor with a Master’s-level degree or above in counseling, social work, psychology or a related mental health profession. 

If you currently have an established relationship with a mental healthcare provider, we believe it is in your best interest to continue that ongoing relationship. Their deeper understanding of your current mental health and the history you've established will allow them to provide you with personalized support and guidance. 

In-the-moment guidance is available during times of immediate crisis, as well. You can also call the 9-8-8 hotline for emotional support and crisis counseling. 


  1. Log in at or on the mobile app and click ‘Talk to a Counselor.’ 
  2. Follow the prompts to provide your contact information and, if you want to share, the primary topic you wish to talk to a counselor about. This will help our team connect you to a counselor that is the best match for you.
  3. Wait for the call! Someone from your care team will call you to briefly learn about what you’re going through (such as depression, anxiety, or relationship concerns).  Together, you’ll work on planning the next steps. In-the-moment guidance is also available if you need support in a moment of crisis. 

First, you'll have a brief intake call with a counselor to learn about what you’re going through (such as depression, anxiety, or relationship concerns). Together, you’ll work on planning the next steps. In-the-moment guidance is also available if you need support in a moment of crisis. 


After this, each visit is 45-60 minutes, on average. The intake call will likely be shorter. 

Here are a few ways to prepare for your counseling visit: 

  • 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. 
  • Find a space that feels comfortable and private. Whether its your bedroom, office, or living room, think about where you will talk to your counselor. 
  • 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.   

Read more about getting the most out of virtual counseling here. 


If you didn’t connect well with your counselor, don’t worry! Reach out to our care team and request a new counselor. We'll call you to schedule your next visit with a different counselor. 

During your visit, you and your counselor will book your next session for a time that’s convenient for you. If you need to reschedule your upcoming visit, call the counseling schedule line at 855-392-6970.