How to Have a Successful Online Therapy Session

Preparation makes a big difference!

If you’ve ever had a friend drop in unexpectedly, perhaps you made the best of it. Maybe you had a variety of beverages at hand, and some delectable finger-food to arrange hastily on a tray. Or maybe all you had was bottled water and that box of Bugles that had been pushed to the back of the pantry sometime during the Obama Administration.

What’s my point?

If you are going to participate in online counseling services – that may include clinical hypnosis – a little preparation will go a long way towards you feeling comfortable and satisfied with the process.

Terry Moore - headset on!
Terry Moore

I have to admit something

I didn’t think, originally, that any of this would persist in the world as it clearly has. As I write this in late June 2020 [and review it in early ’22], I would have thought we’d all be going to concerts, restaurants, and the grocery store without a second thought. For me at this moment, going to the grocery store continues to feel like a small commando operation: planning, masks, a strategic movement through a socially distanced world where I still can’t find Clorox disinfecting wipes [okay, this is slightly easier now!]. It’s all just a little weird – like I’m an extra in some dystopian TV show.

But, this is where we are at. At this moment, states that re-opened beaches, bars, and other venues are reporting an explosion of Covid-19 cases. Places are re-closing. Hospitals are filling up again.


We have to take charge of what we can. We can stay informed, and act accordingly – for ourselves, our families, and for those we interact with.

I continue to conduct most of my work over telehealth services. With the Omicron variant in circulation, all of us [regardless of vaccination status] are vulnerable. We can talk over the prospect of coming into the office for future sessions – but I hope all of us will exercise caution and flexibility.  

We’ll monitor the situation, and act accordingly. It is helpful that the rules and regs we operate under have accommodated telehealth services. And, insurance carriers and Employee Assistance Programs are willing to reimburse providers for telehealth. Call your company directly with your questions – each company is different in how they handle these claims. Given what is happening in the world, I expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.

Here’s what you need for a great session

  • Time: session time plus about 15 minutes ahead of time to arrange the environment and to test your technology setup
  • Safe spot: this does vary from home to home! Some people can successfully sit in the family room at 1pm, and the only distraction will be a cat. Others will find a bedroom, a home office, or the computer desk in the basement to be better. What you want is quiet, and privacy. Minimize distractions where possible
  • Decent lighting. Most of us live in homes where the chairs are in front to the windows, and the chairs are facing ‘in’. But pointing your laptop/iPad/smartphone at yourself in that chair will give you no more than a shadowy silhouette. Not good for the therapist trying to monitor your emotions! So try several seating/lighting combos – until you get something viable.
  • You don’t need the latest flagship device from the coolest makers – but your device must be robust enough to handle 45 to 50 minutes of video data. Plug in to the charger, or charge in advance.
  • You need an Internet connection that you can count on: 3G, 4G, 5G, WiFi, or a plug-in from the router [my favorite!] If you Google the phrase “How do I test my WiFi signal” – you will earn a college degree before you get to the end of the page. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the topic. It’s worth it to figure this out! If your signal is weak or unstable, the audio stream will drop words, and the picture will pixelate or freeze. Not helpful!
  • If you want to make sure that you’re ready, you can review all the details here on the Zoom website. I’m almost exclusively using Zoom for Healthcare for sessions. I think it is stable, secure, and has a short learning curve. Chances are you’ve already been using it for work, socializing with friends, or your kids have used it for school. They’ll show you how!
  • In addition to being seen – you want to both hear and be heard. Dig out the headset you use for gaming. Plug in the earbuds that came with your phone [if it has a port – those are going away!]. Or, charge up the Bluetooth device you got two holiday seasons ago – the ones you thought you’d never use. Charge ’em up and make sure you are ‘paired’ with your device. Luckily, some devices have great speakers and microphones built right in – so if that works, we’ll go with it!