How Do I Ask Questions In Online Advice Chat?
By Danni Peck
Updated January 17, 2019
Reviewer Nicole J. Johnson
Society has become more globally connected and more reliant on technology, so it makes sense that the medical and mental health industry would change as well. We are currently seeing the increase of professional online advice chat. Today, many doctors are communicating with co-workers, patients and caregivers via online messaging. We see technology all throughout the medical community; appointments are booked online, and practices are reviewed openly by satisfied or unsatisfied patients. In many cases, live conference calls can take place via messenger software along with a smartphone and or tablet.
Online advice chat is not just the latest trend, there have been studies over the past 20 years pointing to the positive outcomes of online therapy. One article from CNN stating that online therapy is just as effective in helping people with depression as traditional care. In fact, online therapy (based on the proven cognitive behavioral therapy model) proved to be equal to traditional antidepressant with CBT treatment. Another study coming from Dr. Godleski showed that "telemental health" could even "surpass the efficacy" of in-person sessions. Results showed a decrease in the number of psychiatric admissions and total days of hospitalization.
The question you may have is, how does the service work? Is it really comparable to a personal session with a provider where you can ask questions at will?
Asking Questions in Online Advice Chat
After the signup process the client is matched with an available counselor. This match is based on available schedules, objectives, preference and the specific issues the client wants to work through. There are some therapists that specialize in treating depression and bipolar, while others may work in addiction recovery, anger management, LGBTQA issues, religion, grief and PTSD.
Online advice chat can mimic traditional in-person therapy because it allows not only chatting via text, but also exchanging messages in real time, chatting on the phone and video conferencing. Patients and therapists are given a dedicated private room, where the patient can speak their mind.
Although patients can be matched with a specific counselor and schedule talk time, there is also the option to exchange messages with another qualified counselor at any time, day or night.
It's easy to see the advantages to this online advice chat technology, since counselors are screen beforehand, ensuring they are licensed, certified, and accredited in their background. The providers you will work with have met their educational and professional standards to provide therapy.
There are so many questions that are probably going to be swirling around in your head when you first begin online therapy! It's still a relatively new method, and many people are experiencing it for their first time, causing some uncertainty about what to expect. Your counselor should lay things out for you pretty clearly from the beginning, but you may still have things that you wonder about and aren't sure what or how to ask. Will my counselor be mad if I ask them that? How do I say that I'm feeling unsure? What if they leave me hanging and don't answer me? Will they be there when I need them? We are here to help!
50 Questions to consider asking your online counselor:
What do I do if I have a problem with the billing for the service?
What if I decide I can't afford it any longer?
What should I do if I'm experiencing technical difficulties?
Can I use the service on my computer or my mobile device?
Is this service as effective as face-to-face therapy?
What do you and the platform do to protect my privacy and private information?
Is everything I say confidential?
What are the exceptions to my confidentiality?
Who mandates the laws that you have to follow as a professional?
How can I find out what those laws are?
Do I need to verify my identity by sending my license?
Should I provide you with my contact information in case you need to get in touch with me?
Do you need an emergency contact, just in case you need to contact them?
How often can I expect to hear from you?
What kind of schedule do you work? Do you take days off?
What do you expect of me, as a client, and what should I expect from you, as my counselor?
When can I schedule live sessions?
How do you prefer that I schedule live sessions, with the calendar tool or with you?
How often can I schedule live sessions? Can we meet more than once per week?
How long are the live sessions?
What type of live sessions can we do?
What if I'm not comfortable talking live?
How long should I expect to be in therapy?
How long before I might start to feel better?
Is there a limit on how often I can write to you or the amount that I am allowed to write?
Do you specialize in a certain area of therapy?
Can you help me with this particular problem that I am experiencing?
What kind of experience do you have with this?
If you don't meet my needs, can I switch therapists?
What if I feel like we don't have a good connection?
What will we talk about?
Will you provide me with some direction as to what we should talk about?
Can I discuss anything that is on my mind?
If I don't understand something, can you explain it to me in a different way?
What if I want to tell you that I've done something illegal, is it still private?
What should I do if I'm feeling suicidal or have another emergency situation?
Can I come to you if I have concerns or don't understand something?
What should I do if I'm unhappy with the service?
What should I do if I don't feel like I'm getting better?
Is it strange that I sometimes feel worse after we talk?
If I have a setback, does that mean I've failed and have to start over?
If I feel like I'm getting better, does that mean I'm ready to quit therapy?
If I discontinue my subscription, can I come back?
If I leave and then come back, can I get matched with you again?
Am I cured?
If I'm feeling better, does that mean that I won't experience problems anymore?
What should I do if my partner decides he/she wants to work with you as well?
What should I do if my partner has decided to join our sessions? Can you work with us together?
What should I do if I want someone else to be involved in this process? For example, a doctor, a previous therapist, a family member.
New experiences can be scary and uncomfortable because you are stepping into the unknown. Hopefully, this list of questions can help you by providing some examples of things to ask your counselor so that you feel reassured about not only the effectiveness of online therapy but also how the process works and what you can expect.
Why not see how it works? You can visit BetterHelp.com and start talking to a counselor in real time without obligation.