Thompson Rivers University

Connecting with a Counsellor: preparing for a virtual appointment

April 16, 2020

In these stressful and uncertain times, connecting with a counsellor is a great idea.

When faced with challenging, stressful and uncertain times, accessing mental health supports can help clarify issues, establish a game plan and develop a tool kit of coping strategies. Counselling can shift perspectives, lighten grief, and leave you feeling calmer and more in control of your emotions.

One student shared: “my counsellor acknowledged that I was dealing with extraordinary circumstances and that I needed to allow myself some time and space to heal. They offered a gentle reminder that my feelings were temporary. That word was like a key that unlocked all this forgotten strength and unearthed a sense of peace that I hadn’t experienced in what felt like forever.”

Whether you’re preparing for your first counselling appointment or already attending sessions regularly, the virtual experience might take a little bit of adjustment.

Here are a few tips to help prepare you for a counselling session.

  • Connect with Student Services to book a virtual appointment. You’ll receive a confirmation email with a video link, so when it’s time for your appointment, click the link to join the meeting.
  • Watch this video tutorial to familiarize yourself with the digital platform.
  • Set yourself up in a quiet, private space.
  • Reduce disruption. Alert your roommates to the meeting time frame or put a do-not-disturb sign on the door.
  • Settle in 15 minutes before the session begins. Sit in a comfy chair, have a cup of tea or a glass of water on hand, get a blanket for your lap Do whatever makes you feel safe and cozy.
  • Jot down notes about anything you want to cover, as well as any insights that the counsellor shares with you.
  • Adjust lighting accordingly.
  • Ensure that your device is fully charged to reduce technical issues.
  • Understand that there might be lag times or inconsistent audio.
  • Prepare yourself for any distractions or frustrations that might occur. If you attend regular sessions in a particular space, you might feel invested in that face-to-face connection and struggle with the change.
  • Take a moment to reflect afterwards. Once the conversation is over, take a moment to set some intentions to help you move forward. Try journaling to help make sense of your thoughts.
  • Move around after that reflective period. Step outside, feel the sun on your face, breathe deeply and stretch gently. Take a walk if you have the energy to do so.
  • Nourish yourself. Avoid an empty stomach for the appointment and prep a snack to eat afterwards.

Click the link for more information about Counselling services.

All post-secondary students in BC can now access a new mental-health counselling and referral service specifically for their needs. Here2Talk offers free, single-session counselling services that you can access confidentially 24/7. Get in touch with a counsellor by calling 1-877-857-3397 toll free, or from outside of Canada, 1-604-642-5212.

For more information, please visit


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