What Questions Should I Ask In An Advice Chat?

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated September 15, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Technology has become a staple in many individuals' lives, and chat rooms have emerged as a means to seek support and guidance. Online advice chat platforms often connect users with doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and other experts who can communicate with clients via online messaging. Users can discuss relationship problems, stress, or mental illness and potentially receive referrals. 

However, knowing what to ask and how to engage in conversations in these chats can be challenging. To ease the process, you can use tips provided by the platform and learn from the experiences of peers and other users. On some chats, you may have the option to remain nameless if you prefer, and you can take a moment to decide what topics you'd like to discuss or let the expert lead the conversation.

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo
Do You Want To Learn More About Online Mental Healthcare?

Asking Questions In An Online Chat

There are several types of online chat platforms. For this reason, some advice obtained from individuals on these sites might not be professional or practical. Relying on practical and ethical sites that check the credentials and credibility of their professionals beforehand can be essential. 

When asking questions in a chat room, consider targeting the following topics:

  • Your symptoms
  • Your past experiences
  • Relationship conflicts 
  • Worries
  • A past diagnosis
  • General life advice
  • Medical advice, if talking to a doctor 

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 offer the same services, so read the terms and conditions before beginning treatment. Additionally, ensure the providers you speak with have the proper licensure and credentials.

What Are Online Therapy Chats? 

Online therapy chats may offer support and guidance to those who want to talk to someone about their challenges. After a chat session, you might feel comfortable moving to regular video sessions, where you can see your therapist face-to-face from separate locations. 

Some online therapy platforms offer the option to match with a counselor based on your availability. In contrast, others may allow you to message potential listeners you think would be of benefit. 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 listener know if you're in doubt about 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 listen and guide the session until you feel more comfortable bringing up topics yourself. 

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo

50 Questions To Ask 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. How do you work to keep clients safe? 

  8. Who mandates the laws that you follow?

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

  10. How do I change providers if needed? 

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

  12. Should I provide you with my contact information if you need to contact me?

  13. Do you need an emergency contact?

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

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

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

  17. When can I schedule live sessions?

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

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

  20. How long are live sessions?

  21. What type of live sessions can we do?

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

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

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

  25. Is there a limit to how often I can write to you? 

  26. Do you specialize in a particular age group? 

  27. Are you accepting LGBTQ+ clients? Do you have experience working with others in my community?

  28. How do you use trauma-informed and culturally aware practices? 

  29. What experience do you have with my condition or symptoms? 

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

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

  32. What will we talk about in sessions?

  33. Will you provide some directions on what we should talk about?

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

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

  36. What if I want to tell you that I've done something illegal? 

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

  38. Can I come to you if I have concerns about my goals? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  51. Do you prescribe medications or offer diagnoses? 

* If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or text 988 to talk to a crisis provider over SMS. They are available 24/7 to offer support. 988 also offers an online chat for those with an internet connection.

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 their platforms. 

According to experts, online mental health services are the new normal. Therefore, learning to navigate resources like online advice chats can be beneficial, especially if you regularly live with distressing symptoms or mental health challenges. 

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo
Do You Want To Learn More About Online Mental Healthcare?

Long-Term Counseling Options 

Although you might seek support from an online advice chat on a forum or another site, advice from a licensed counselor may 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 through a platform like BetterHelp. Online therapy might save time and money because you won't need to drive to a physical office and sit on a couch. 

Several studies have looked at the effectiveness of online therapy and found that it is equal in effectiveness 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 a chat, turning to a licensed mental health professional from a reputable therapy platform may be valuable. 


When seeking answers to your concerns, 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 contacting a telehealth provider in your area to get started.

Receive professional support online

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started