© of A Yates 2011

Online therapists

Your first therapy session online

Some information you may find useful about the first therapy session. If you never had counselling or psychotherapy before, you may feel a bit anxious; this is a perfectly understandable reaction. Just as most people can feel a bit on edge when they meet a new person for the first time, I do understand, and I try to make it as relaxed as I can.

The first online therapy session

I will usually take the lead and start by explaining a bit about the service and ask some information about your general physical and mental health, and how comfortable you are using the technology involved so I can assess your suitability for using this service. If I feel that there are no concerns about continuing, I generally let you lead the way and give you some time to talk about any aspect of your life you want to. This is also about you trying to find out if you feel able to engage with me at a level you think is beneficial to you, and at a pace, you feel is comfortable. Please remember that this is just a first session and not an interrogation, you do not have to talk about anything that you do not want to.

Free to choose

The first therapy session gives you the freedom to spend the time to develop an impression about the service with no obligation to continue; I believe all clients need this time to help make the right choice before making any financial commitments. It will also be this is an excellent time to find out if there are any practical problems with equipment or any connection issues for us to figure out, although it is usually uncommon today for there to be significant difficulties with the programs, hardware or the connection in my experience. The first few sessions of therapy is usually a time for you to be evaluating your connection with the therapist, and to try and discover if this online service is what will help you find support or find the answers you need. Everyone’s therapy experience is different How long the therapy will last is dependent on many factors. You may have issues that are quite complex or a comparatively straightforward problem that you want to address. Some therapy only continues a short period, while some may be long term depending on the hurt and pain experienced and the individual’s ability to make changes. Therapy may not always feel like a good experience; this could be from experiencing sad memories and intense emotions that may surface during the session, or after the session has ended. That sometimes happens in therapy, and I will endeavour to guide you through this process.

What if I discover I am not happy doing this online?

Please feel free to say no, if, for any reason, you do not think this therapy service is right for you. In saying no you are not doing anything wrong, you are only respecting yourself by making a choice that feels right for you, actually saying no to people if you think you need to, this is good for your independence and helps builds self- sufficiency, and that's no bad thing.

Setting Personal Goals in therapy

The first session is about finding out what you think about the service and the possibilities it provides you, and allowing me the time to try and understand your needs. When therapy starts, you may have an idea of what you want to change or talk about, and you may wish to explore thoughts feelings, or personal experiences at this time, before trying to see what goals you want to talk about now or in further therapy sessions. You may come into therapy with a clear idea of what you need to change but you do not know how to make that change, or you may need some time to try and clear away any confusion you may have before deciding to focus on any particular area. It is good to try to understand what you what to achieve or what you want to clarify if possible.

Some helpful questions

You may find it helpful to think about the questions you see further down before starting online counselling. If you can make a note of any requests you have, or your ideas around them and bring it into therapy, it may help you find some direction or help clarify what you can do or want to do.

What do I want from therapy?

Any thoughts around what you hope therapy will do for you are important. Some people only want to find some direction in life or discover more about themselves and others want to find the best way to understand what is important to them, and it can be just about exploring options or possibilities as well as making changes or setting any goals. What do I need in my life that I do not have at this time that will change my life for the better? Practical or emotional needs are important, it can be anything you feel is important, from changing the type of work you do to improving the life you have, from being able to live a less isolating life, or perhaps to be more assertive with people. What would make a difference in how you feel if you changed just one aspect of you or your behaviour, drinking less, being less controlling or having more control? Whatever seems to make sense to you.

What is stopping me from making the changes I want to make?

Partners, family, friends, can put barriers in your way, confusing the real choices that you have, self-defeating behaviours can misdirect us, like using alcohol or drugs, to manage your stress or anxiety. Self-esteem issues can make saying NO almost impossible, and that can end up reducing the time you need for your own life, limiting the choices you have or confusing you and sapping your confidence. What or who is stopping you doing what you need or what you want to do?

What are the worst and the best choices I made in my life?

As human beings, we try to live life the best we can, but we will get it wrong, our choices are started with information we have learned from our experiences in life, so any decision we make is constructed around the information we know. Unfortunately, our knowledge may not be sufficient, but we still need to choose what to do. Only after we have made a choice can we fully understand the implications involved, and as we can’t predict the future, even if we think we can, all we can do is make the best choices we can at the time.

What don’t I like about myself?

Try to be descriptive and honest. not just put down I am useless, but why you think you are useless.

What do I like about myself?

Try to be honest but fair, and it can be helpful to try and see it from another perspective, such as how would a best friend answer the questions.

What's my biggest regret in life?

Most people have some regrets in life, but some regrets stop us from moving on, feelings of guilt and shame or anger can consistently play on people’s minds and limit their choices.

What part do I play as a therapist in this?

My job is to be a catalyst for change to support you the best I can in helping you find what you need, and this may include just listening and understanding or sometimes gently challenging your perceptions or beliefs and trying to find new ways of understanding your experiences in life. Some of the exercises you can find here are not a requirement, but you may find them useful at any stage.
Your first online therapy experience
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© of A Yates

Your first online therapy experience

Your first therapy session

online

Some information you may find useful about the first therapy session. If you never had counselling or psychotherapy before, you may feel a bit anxious; this is a perfectly understandable reaction. Just as most people can feel a bit on edge when they meet a new person for the first time, I do understand, and I try to make it as relaxed as I can.

The first online therapy session

I will usually take the lead and start by explaining a bit about the service and ask some information about your general physical and mental health, and how comfortable you are using the technology involved so I can assess your suitability for using this service. If I feel that there are no concerns about continuing, I generally let you lead the way and give you some time to talk about any aspect of your life you want to. This is also about you trying to find out if you feel able to engage with me at a level you think is beneficial to you, and at a pace, you feel is comfortable. Please remember that this is just a first session and not an interrogation, you do not have to talk about anything that you do not want to.

Free to choose

The first therapy session gives you the freedom to spend the time to develop an impression about the service with no obligation to continue; I believe all clients need this time to help make the right choice before making any financial commitments. It will also be this is an excellent time to find out if there are any practical problems with equipment or any connection issues for us to figure out, although it is usually uncommon today for there to be significant difficulties with the programs, hardware or the connection in my experience. The first few sessions of therapy is usually a time for you to be evaluating your connection with the therapist, and to try and discover if this online service is what will help you find support or find the answers you need. Everyone’s therapy experience is different How long the therapy will last is dependent on many factors. You may have issues that are quite complex or a comparatively straightforward problem that you want to address. Some therapy only continues a short period, while some may be long term depending on the hurt and pain experienced and the individual’s ability to make changes. Therapy may not always feel like a good experience; this could be from experiencing sad memories and intense emotions that may surface during the session, or after the session has ended. That sometimes happens in therapy, and I will endeavour to guide you through this process.

What if I discover I am not happy

doing this online?

Please feel free to say no, if, for any reason, you do not think this therapy service is right for you. In saying no you are not doing anything wrong, you are only respecting yourself by making a choice that feels right for you, actually saying no to people if you think you need to, this is good for your independence and helps builds self-sufficiency, and that's no bad thing.

Setting Personal Goals in therapy

The first session is about finding out what you think about the service and the possibilities it provides you, and allowing me the time to try and understand your needs. When therapy starts, you may have an idea of what you want to change or talk about, and you may wish to explore thoughts feelings, or personal experiences at this time, before trying to see what goals you want to talk about now or in further therapy sessions. You may come into therapy with a clear idea of what you need to change but you do not know how to make that change, or you may need some time to try and clear away any confusion you may have before deciding to focus on any particular area. It is good to try to understand what you what to achieve or what you want to clarify if possible.

Some helpful questions

You may find it helpful to think about the questions you see further down before starting online counselling. If you can make a note of any requests you have, or your ideas around them and bring it into therapy, it may help you find some direction or help clarify what you can do or want to do.

What do I want from therapy?

Any thoughts around what you hope therapy will do for you are important. Some people only want to find some direction in life or discover more about themselves and others want to find the best way to understand what is important to them, and it can be just about exploring options or possibilities as well as making changes or setting any goals. What do I need in my life that I do not have at this time that will change my life for the better? Practical or emotional needs are important, it can be anything you feel is important, from changing the type of work you do to improving the life you have, from being able to live a less isolating life, or perhaps to be more assertive with people. What would make a difference in how you feel if you changed just one aspect of you or your behaviour, drinking less, being less controlling or having more control? Whatever seems to make sense to you.

What is stopping me from making

the changes I want to make?

Partners, family, friends, can put barriers in your way, confusing the real choices that you have, self-defeating behaviours can misdirect us, like using alcohol or drugs, to manage your stress or anxiety. Self-esteem issues can make saying NO almost impossible, and that can end up reducing the time you need for your own life, limiting the choices you have or confusing you and sapping your confidence. What or who is stopping you doing what you need or what you want to do?

What are the worst and the best

choices I made in my life?

As human beings, we try to live life the best we can, but we will get it wrong, our choices are started with information we have learned from our experiences in life, so any decision we make is constructed around the information we know. Unfortunately, our knowledge may not be sufficient, but we still need to choose what to do. Only after we have made a choice can we fully understand the implications involved, and as we can’t predict the future, even if we think we can, all we can do is make the best choices we can at the time.

What don’t I like about myself?

Try to be descriptive and honest. not just put down I am useless, but why you think you are useless.

What do I like about myself?

Try to be honest but fair, and it can be helpful to try and see it from another perspective, such as how would a best friend answer the questions.

What's my biggest regret in life?

Most people have some regrets in life, but some regrets stop us from moving on, feelings of guilt and shame or anger can consistently play on people’s minds and limit their choices.

What part do I play as a therapist in

this?

My job is to be a catalyst for change to support you the best I can in helping you find what you need, and this may include just listening and understanding or sometimes gently challenging your perceptions or beliefs and trying to find new ways of understanding your experiences in life. Some of the exercises you can find here are not a requirement, but you may find them useful at any stage.