What Questions Should I Ask In An Online Advice Chat?

Medically reviewed by Krista Klund, LCSW
Updated March 20, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Technology has become a staple in many individuals' lives. Online advice chats may offer support and guidance to those who seek them. Often, doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and other experts can communicate with co-workers, patients, and caregivers via online messaging. However, knowing what to ask in these chats can be challenging.

Asking Questions In An Online Advice Chat

There are several types of online advice chats. Notably, you could find that the advice obtained from individuals on these sites is not professional or practical, so it can be important to rely on only sources that are reputable and trustworthy.  

When asking questions, you might target the following topics: 

  • Symptoms

  • Past experiences

  • Relationship conflicts

  • Worries

  • A past diagnosis

  • General life advice 

Do You Want To Learn More About Online Mental Healthcare?

Some people use online chats to talk to a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication. Others might use them for full therapy sessions with a counselor. Not all platforms may offer the same services, so read the terms and conditions before beginning treatment. Additionally, ensure the providers you speak to have the proper licensure and credentials. 

Online Therapy Chats 

Online advice chats may allow chatting via in-app messaging in addition to phone or video counseling. After a chat session, you might feel comfortable moving to regular video sessions as well, where you can see your therapist, and they can see you. 

Some online therapy platforms offer the option to be matched with a counselor, whereas others may allow you to message potential counselors that you think would be a proper fit. These sites often offer flexibility in scheduling, choosing a therapist, and ending treatment on your terms. 

When considering what to ask your therapist, know that you may be able to let your counselor know if you're unsure what to talk about. Many therapists are trained to ask open-ended questions to get the conversation started. If you prefer that your therapist lead the session, ask them if they can until you feel more comfortable bringing up topics. 

50 Questions To Consider Asking Your Online Counselor

If you're not sure what to ask on an online advice chat with a counselor, consider the following 50 options: 

  1. What type of therapy do you practice? 

  2. Do you treat any specific conditions or symptoms? 

  3. How do you prefer to run sessions with clients? 

  4. Do you offer late-night or weekend appointments? 

  5. What did you think of our discussion from our last appointment? 

  6. Can this chat feature be incorporated into formal therapy? 

  7. Are there any exemptions to confidentiality

  8. Who mandates the laws that you follow?

  9. How can I find out what those laws are?

  10. Do I need to verify my identity by sending my license?

  11. Should I provide you with my contact information in case you need to contact me?

  12. Do you need an emergency contact?

  13. How often can I expect to hear from you?

  14. What kind of schedule do you keep? Do you take days off?

  15. What do you expect of me, and what should I expect from you?

  16. When can I schedule live sessions?

  17. How do you prefer that I schedule live sessions? Should I use a calendar tool or go directly through you?

  18. How often can I schedule live sessions? Can we meet more than once per week?

  19. How long are live sessions?

  20. What type of live sessions can we do?

  21. What if I'm uncomfortable talking over the phone or via video chat? 

  22. How long should I expect to be in therapy?

  23. How long will it be before I might start to feel better?

  24. Is there a limit to how often I can write to you? Is there a cap to the amount that I am allowed to write?

  25. Do you specialize in a particular age group? 

  26. Are you accepting toward LGBTQIA+ patients? Do you have experience working with others in the community?

  27. Can you help me with a particular problem that I am experiencing?

  28. What kind of experience do you have with (condition)? 

  29. If you don't meet my needs, can I switch therapists?

  30. What if I feel like we don't have a good connection?

  31. What will we talk about?

  32. Will you provide some direction on what we should talk about?

  33. Can I discuss anything that is on my mind?

  34. Can you explain it to me differently if I don't understand something?

  35. What if I want to tell you that I've done something illegal? Is the conversation still confidential?

  36. What should I do if I'm experiencing a mental health emergency? *

  37. Can I come to you if I have concerns or don't understand something?

  38. What should I do if I'm unhappy with the service?

  39. What should I do if I don't feel like I'm getting better?

  40. Can I message you at any time outside of sessions? 

  41. How will I know that our sessions are making a difference?

  42. How do you recommend I handle potential setbacks in my progress?

  43. If I feel like I'm getting better, does that mean I'm ready to quit therapy?

  44. If I discontinue my subscription, can I come back?

  45. Can I get matched with you again if I leave and come back?

  46. What might long-term treatment look like for my concerns?

  47. Are there other mental health professionals I should connect with?

  48. What should I do if my partner decides they want to work with you too?

  49. What should I do if my partner wants to join our sessions? Can you work with us together?

  50. Do you prescribe medications or offer diagnoses? 

*If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or are otherwise in need of immediate mental health support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988 to talk to someone over SMS. They are available 24/7 to offer support.

Note that not all online counselors may have the same permissions or abilities. For example, an online psychiatrist may be able to prescribe medications. However, many online counselors are not allowed to do so by law or the terms and conditions of the platforms they use. 

According to experts, it seems that online mental health services are here to stay. That means that learning to navigate resources like online advice chats and online counseling can be highly beneficial, especially if you regularly manage symptoms related to mental health.

Long-Term Counseling Options 

Although you might seek support from an online advice chat on a forum or other site, online advice from a licensed counselor can positively impact treatment and is often more affordable than in-person therapy. Online advice chats may help you seek out more involved treatment options, like online therapy, that can help you develop a plan for managing your symptoms over time. Because you won’t need to drive to a physical office, online therapy can help you save time and money. 

As mentioned, online therapy is one method of chat-based support offered by professionals. Several studies have looked at the effectiveness of online therapy and found that it has proven equal to in-person interventions and medication for conditions like depression. If you’re interested in receiving long-term support and guidance, whether it be through formal therapy sessions or chat-based advice, turning to a licensed mental health professional from a reputable therapy platform may be a good step to take.


Online chats often offer the option of speaking to a counselor or other professionals from home over a personal device like a smartphone or computer. If you're interested in trying this treatment modality, consider signing up for a platform or reaching out to a telehealth provider in your area to get started. 

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