If you’re considering online counseling, take a few minutes to prepare your technology, space and self to make the most of your therapy session.

More people are doing therapy at home than ever before. Online counseling can be more convenient and just as effective as traditional counseling. Online therapy is worth considering if traveling to a therapy session is difficult for you.

You’ll make the most of your therapy sessions in a private, comfortable space. With a little preparation, online counseling can be a great way to get the help you need in the comfort of your home.

Prepare Your Technology

Technology is the window to your counselor. If you don’t use video or online services often, take time to check everything in advance of your session. Computers and internet service can be unpredictable. However, you can do some simple things to make your online experience go smoothly.

Make sure you have a reliable computer, tablet or smartphone for your session. Computers and tablets have bigger screens, making it easier to see your counselor’s face. Smartphones have excellent cameras and video apps, which will work if your computer does not have a webcam or microphone built in. 

Here are a few simple steps to take:

  • Check your internet service and Wi-Fi to make sure they’re working
  • Fully charge your device or plug it in 
  • Turn off or silence any other devices
  • Close any applications that are currently open 
  • Choose a well-lit room to test your webcam and microphone

If you have an upcoming video session, try to check everything at least a day beforehand so you have time to fix any issues with your device. The Recovery Village Telehealth app allows users to enter a scheduled video chat room at any time so they can test their device and connection. 

Limit Distractions

Teletherapy can take a lot of mental and emotional energy. Distractions can make it hard for you to stay focused during a session. With in-person counseling, a private therapy office provides a quiet and calm setting. Limiting distractions in your home will help your counseling sessions be effective. 

Here are some distractions you’ll want to address before beginning:

  • Clutter. Avoid things like a stack of bills, piles of laundry or unfinished projects in the background. These can easily pull your mind off your therapy session. 
  • Discomfort. Look for a comfortable chair in a space that makes you feel relaxed.
  • Other people. Enlist your loved ones’ help as much as possible. Talk to them to see how they can help with watching children, staying quiet or finding something else to do while you are in your session. 

Prepare for your counseling session by doing a few deep breaths. Also, get a notepad and something to write with. Make a few notes about your previous session and think about your overall goals for therapy. Refresh your memory and relax before getting started.

Be Honest

Effective counseling starts with honesty. You may be tempted to avoid talking about your worst struggles. It might feel better to make everything sound better than it really is. However, being dishonest only hurts you. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to be honest during therapy.  

It’s normal to feel hesitant when starting therapy. A counselor’s job is to build trust with you. It can take time to open up to someone about your deepest problems. You don’t have to talk about everything right away. 

As time goes on, you will become more comfortable talking about difficult issues. If you have some emotional days or you struggle with bad habits, share this with your counselor. You might feel embarrassed, and that’s normal. You may struggle, but that does not mean failure. Your counselor is there to support, guide and encourage you. 

Ensure Your Privacy

Teletherapy makes counseling easier than ever before. But most people need to prepare a private space for therapy before getting started. You’ll be spending several minutes talking about very personal issues.

Privacy in counseling can help you open up. You may have problems you’ve never spoken about before and talking about them can be difficult. Knowing you have a safe and private environment can make this process easier.

Think of a spot in your home where you’re least likely to be interrupted. Can you close a door? Can you do your session when fewer people are home? If you can’t avoid interruptions, do what you can and tell your counselor when you are ready to get started. A white noise machine can make your conversation harder for others to hear. Free white noise apps and websites are also available. 

Thinking About Online Counseling?

Online counseling is a flexible and effective way to get help for substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Technology makes therapy more convenient and accessible for many people. If you’re considering online counseling, you’ll get the most out of your sessions with a little preparation. Take just a few minutes to prepare your technology, space and self to make the most of your treatment. 

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction but find it difficult to attend counseling in person, the Nobu teletherapy app is an easy-to-use solution. Licensed therapists are ready to help you through individual and group therapy in a secure online environment. Fill out the form to begin your journey to recovery.

a woman wearing glasses and a blazer.
Editor – Melissa Carmona
Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
a woman in a blue dress is posing for a picture.
Medically Reviewed By – Erika Krull, LMHP
Erika Krull has a master’s degree in mental health counseling and has been a freelance writer since 2006. Read more

DeAngelis, Tori. “An elephant in the office.” American Psychological Association, January 2008. Accessed April 2, 2020.

American Psychological Association. “Protecting your Privacy: Understanding Confidentiality.” October 2019. Accessed April 2, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.