Tips for telephone counselling

During these complicated and unprecedented times, online and telephone counselling have become the new normal. 

Talking to your counsellor on the phone can be challenging. 

While every person knows best how to make the most of their phone counselling, these are some tips that you may want to consider and that will help you to make the most of your time.

Before the session:

  • If possible, try to have a suitable and private space from which to make the call. 
  • You may want to find a comfortable chair and clear the room of potential interruptions.  This will help you to feel more relaxed and to focus better on your thoughts and feelings.
  • Consider things that could be distracting, like smartphones, computers, papers, magazines or open books. 
  • You may want to have a glass of water and some tissues at hand.

Preparing for the session

  • Allow some time to get ready.
  • Try not to start the session immediately after you have been engaged in some other activity, like working or chatting to someone. You might want to have some thoughts about what you want to talk about.
  • You may want to consider using a set of headphones to free your hands, which would allow you to use body language to facilitate verbal expression.

During the session

  • Your story is important. However the first session will differ from the rest of the sessions in that your counsellor will use some of the time to explain how they will protect your confidentiality and privacy.
  • Sometimes telephone sessions can move faster than with in-person work.
  • Sometimes holding a phone might feel like a barrier or a distraction. You may want to consider using a set of headphones to free your hands, which would allow you to use body language to facilitate the expression of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Alternatively you could set the phone to speaker to provide a space between you and your counsellor but you may first need to consider your privacy.

After the session

  • Phone sessions usually feel more intense as you cannot use the visual cues that are a predominant part of your daily communication with others. 
  • Allow some time to come back to the room and for thoughts and feelings to settle.
  • If you can, try not to engage straight away in work or other activity. 
  • Consider having a glass of water or a cup of tea or maybe stretch your legs for a few minutes.

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