Ok, you’re interested in online Christian counseling, but you want to make sure you get the most out of it! Here is how to prepare for an online Christian counseling session.
Is online counseling really the same as meeting in-person? Much of our world moved to an online platform in 2020, which has (usually) been very convenient! And yes, counseling is one of those areas that works well online (when done right!).
How to prepare for online Christian counseling:
How do you make best prepare for an online Christian counseling session? I made you a list below!
Table of Contents:
Re-Create the “Vibe” of an In-Person Counseling Session
The clients who seem to be most settled and ready for their counseling sessions are the ones who try to recreate the space. Don’t worry, you don’t need to go out and buy new furniture! Simply having a few things nearby can help you feel settled and ready. Here is a list of items to have handy:
Box of Tissues: As therapists, we are good at making people cry. (No really, I joke that I didn’t try if you didn’t cry.) Crying is not, of course, a requirement for every session. But it does happen often. Better to be prepared.
Water Bottle: You will be talking a lot during your sessions. Having a drink of water helps.
Blanket or pillow: This can be a comfort, even if the temperature in your home is perfect. A soft item can be an emotional comfort while working through difficult subjects.
Notebook and Pen/Pencil: You never know what pearls of wisdom will come in counseling. Being able to write things down will help you to remember them for future reference.
Plan Ahead for your Online Christian Counseling Session
This can be anything from turning on lights to finding sitters for children, give yourself some time to think ahead, and carve out the space for you to feel the most comfortable and present.
Test Lighting: Having lighting pointed towards your face is better than lighting coming from behind you. On the screen, lighting from behind creates shadows on your face, and no one wants to look like Batman with a bad hair day.
Find a Quiet Space: Noise can be a real distraction for both you and your therapist. Try to reduce noise pollution by finding babysitting for your kids if you can, finding a quiet corner away from busy streets, and turning off alerts and alarms on your device. (I also recommend having headphones handy)
Ensure Everyone is Clothed: Yes, this happened. Twice. Clothes are a very good thing for counseling. I highly recommend you plan ahead and let family members know you will be in a meeting!
Test Your System
Your Therapist (and sometimes the office) will send you a link to the online platform you will be using. It’s a good idea to hop on early to test out your system before the session. Make sure you…
Turn ON your Computer/tablet/phone ahead of time, to ensure it is powered and ready to go.
Go to your email to find the invite. Once there, click on the link to open the platform.
Click ‘Test My Speaker and Microphone’ to make sure you can hear and be heard.
At Cornerstone, we use HIPAA-compliant Zoom.
Prepare Yourself for your 1st Online Christian Counseling Session
Now that everything else is ready, let’s get you ready. Start by taking some deep breaths to calm your mind and body. Do a body scan–close your eyes and feel where you are holding tension and emotions, and then tighten those muscles for 10-15 seconds. Now release the tension and breath deeply, sending your breath to these areas. Allow your mind and body to relax and calm before starting the session.
Online counseling is a great way to meet with your therapist within the comfort of your own home. And with a few minor tweaks, it really can be just as effective as in-person, ( if not more so!) Many of our counselors are even trained to provide typical in-person trauma treatments, such as EMDR or Brainspotting, completely virtual. We want to meet you exactly where you are!
By recreating a safe space, planning ahead, testing your system, and taking time to prepare yourself, you’ve already set yourself up for success! We hope your online session is a great one!
For more steps on how to prepare yourself for your very FIRST first therapy session, click here!
Author: Patrick herzer
Patrick is one of our talented Christian counselors who love to come alongside couples to create healthy, long-lasting marriages full of life and happiness.
If you’re interested in counseling with Patrick or another one of our other amazing counselors, click here to view our line-up.