Session 161: How to Successfully Implement Counseling Practice Online

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Have you considered online counseling? As clinicians, we all have questions and fears around this endeavor and how it works. We have discussed the practical aspects of online counseling on the show before, but today’s conversation focuses more on the day-to-day aspects of the therapeutic relationship.

Shelley Smith and Jennifer Labanowski are LMFT’s who have a wealth of knowledge about online counseling. They worked in the same practice until moves to different places separated them in the workplace. This is when they first considered, researched, and implemented their online counseling practice. Today’s conversation with Shelley and Jen covers how to build rapport, the initial consult, questions to ask, and how to handle emergency psychosis situations—all through the medium of online counseling. Join us to learn more from Shelley and Jen!

What We’ll Learn

  • How they were motivated to expand into online counseling when clients began asking for additional ways to connect
  • When they were faced with the move, they both thought, “What if we could continue to work with these clients?”
  • The benefits of online counseling for Shelley and Jen:
    • They were able to relocate with their families
    • They found increased flexibility in their schedules
    • They were able to serve the needs of their clients
    • They expanded their reach
  • The fear of losing the attachment with clients and how it has disintegrated
  • Working through the fear with six months of research, processing, and intense homework
  • Helpful resources that eased the transition into the online world: Clay Cockrell’s website and podcast-(He is a pioneer in online counseling!)
  • What is included in the initial consult: a brief consultation to determine the fit of counselor and client and a video consult to give a taste of what online counseling is like
  • When online counseling may NOT be the best option
  • How to build rapport over the video medium:
    • Lower your anxiety and be comfortable
    • Understand the technology and have a backup plan
    • Consider mailing a personal note to clients between sessions
    • Have a warm and casual demeanor
  • How they’ve seen clients adjust and grow comfortable
  • The specific challenges of online counseling:
    • Reading body language
    • Conquering connectivity issues
    • Tailoring interventions
  • “Online counseling has allowed me to become creative in therapy in a fresh and different way.”


Find out more about Shelley and Jen: United Counseling & Wellness

Other websites: About Connect

United Counseling

Online Counselling


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Thank You for Listening

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