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  • Writer's pictureLehandra Riley

Tips for successful online counselling sessions

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Online sessions are a great opportunity to make counselling more approachable and personal by facilitating sessions in a comfortable environment of your choosing.

The pros of online counselling:

  • Online counselling can be just as effective as in-person counselling (according to research)

  • Flexibility

  • Saving on traveling costs

  • Access to almost any counsellor of your choice (regardless of location)

  • A good option for those living in remote areas

  • More accessible for people with physical limitations

  • Discretion

  • Counselling can be more approachable

  • Convenient and affordable

The cons of online counselling:

  • Technological and connection issues

  • Restricted view of body language

  • Online counselling might not be the right fit for everyone

  • Struggling to find a suitable counselling space

  • Difficult to provide direct access to clients in crisis

  • Breaching of privacy by hacking

Addressing the cons:

Although every effort is made to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted online session technological and connection issues may happen. When this happens we can always switch to another online platform or reschedule the session.

Rapport and safety can still be established even with limited body language. Good, open communication definitely helps.

Online counselling might not be everyone's cup of tea and that is okay. It is important as a counsellor to respect the preferences our clients. However, the option is there to try it out.

Struggling to find a suitable counselling space might be a barrier to facilitating a comfortable online session. When you need to have online counselling and your home environment is not suitable your car may be a good alternative. Remember to ensure you are parked in an environment where you feel safe and uninterrupted.

When you are suicidal or experiencing a crisis it is very important to call the emergency numbers below as counsellors may not be readily available to assist.

❗In case of a suicidal emergency please contact SADAG's 24hr Emergency Nr:

0800 567 567☎

Alternatively you can make use of their 24hr Helpline at:

0800 456 789☎

Or please contact your local law enforcement or SAPS.

Internet security is very important for everyone. Therefore, a good anti-virus with webcam protection is recommended.

Good tips for a successful online session:

  • Make sure you diarise your online meeting with the relevant joining information e.g. link to Google Meets.

  • Plan ahead to have access to a comfortable place for your online session. Online sessions can be as casual as you prefer. Make the online counselling space as comfortable and welcoming as you can. You are welcome to have your session in bed under the covers (if you so choose). You can even wear you PJ's. The counselling space is a judgement free zone.

  • Have some water or a beverage nearby for when you need to take a sip to clear your throat.

  • Remember to have some tissues near (just in case).

  • Feel free to have a pen and paper near to take notes if you need e.g. writing down goals or points that stand out for you.

  • Try to limit interruptions as much as you can. This may include asking a family member to look after your children during the session time.

  • Feel free to make use of headphones to add an extra layer of privacy. Headphones also help with focusing the sound of the conversation and excluding outside noise. This helps a lot with focus and attention during sessions.

  • Lastly, breathe and enjoy counselling in the comfort of your own environment.


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