How Does a Phone Counselling Session Work?

The evolution of counselling, especially with the introduction of phone and online platforms, has revolutionised how we seek and receive psychological help.

This transformation has not only increased accessibility but also introduced new modalities of therapy that cater to the modern individual’s needs. On the back of Covid restrictions, many counsellors and clients have continued their work via the phone as a preferred option.  

Phone counselling has emerged as a vital tool, bridging the gap between traditional in-person sessions and the digital age’s convenience.

But why has phone counselling maintained its relevance in today’s tech-savvy era, and how can it benefit you?

This blog explores the nuances of phone counselling, and perhaps, you might find it to be the missing piece in your quest for mental wellness.

What is Phone Counselling?

Phone counselling is a form of therapy where sessions are conducted over the phone rather than in-person or online via video call.

This approach offers a blend of convenience and intimacy, providing a bridge for those who seek the personal touch of voice communication without the logistical challenges of face-to-face meetings.

It is also ideal for those with mobility issues that may otherwise make accessing therapeutic help more challenging.

Phone counselling offers help with addressing a wide range of issues, from anxiety and depression, and bereavement to relationship challenges and stress management, making it a versatile option for many.

man stood up talking on phone

How to Prepare for a Phone Counselling Session

Finding the right counsellor is paramount.

Look for a professional with the qualifications and experience that align with your needs. Many directories allow you to search according to the issues you would like to address as well as opting for a remote therapy approach.

The flexibility of phone counselling means that you can find the right counsellor for you even if they are not based in your area.

Consider their areas of specialisation, and don’t hesitate to ask about their approach to phone counselling. Make sure they have the additional qualifications to support their offering of remote counselling in this way.

Preparing your physical space is equally important.

Choose a quiet, private area where you won’t be disturbed. Turn off notifications on your phone so you won’t be distracted.

Comfort is key, so ensure your seating and surroundings help you feel at ease. You may wish to use a headset to minimise any background noise and have a drink and tissues to hand.

Mentally preparing can involve setting intentions for what you wish to achieve from the session and being open to the process.

It may also be helpful to jot down any topics or questions you want to explore, or insights and thoughts you may have had since your last session.

The Process of a Phone Counselling Session

Initial Contact

Your journey begins with booking your first appointment, often through online platforms, direct calls, or referrals.

This step sets the stage for your therapeutic relationship.

Most therapists now offer a free initial phone call which allows you the chance to speak and make sure that you are a ‘good fit’ going forward. The therapeutic relationship is as important as the modality of the therapist so making sure that you are comfortable talking to your therapist is key.

Beginning the Session

Your first session will usually be an assessment session; there will be paperwork to complete and return ahead of your first call.

During the assessment session, your counsellor will likely want to know about you and your upbringing, creating a timeline and understanding of what has brought you to this stage of your life.

Confidentiality and contracting will be discussed and agreed upon at this point, setting a foundation of trust and openness. The setting of goals or hoped-for outcomes for therapy is also explored at this stage.

The assessment session provides an information-gathering opportunity and is generally more question-and-answer orientated than subsequent counselling sessions.

During your Sessions

Subsequent sessions are characterised by more open conversation and guided questions and reflections.

Counsellors may employ various techniques over the phone to foster insight and growth. Because there isn’t access to visual cues, your counsellor may be more overt in checking out how you are feeling and clarifying any subtleties that may be less obvious over the phone.

Likewise, it is important that you feel free to clarify if you haven’t heard or understood something your therapist says.

Concluding the Session

Concluding a session often involves summarizing key points, discussing any ‘homework,’ (dependent upon modality) and scheduling your next session, ensuring continuity in your therapeutic journey.

happy lady talking on phone

Benefits of Phone Counselling

The flexibility and convenience of phone counselling are unmatched, allowing you to access support from anywhere.

The anonymity and comfort of speaking over the phone can also lower barriers to openness and vulnerability. Its effectiveness for various mental health issues has been well-documented, making it a viable option for many.

Potential Drawbacks

The absence of non-verbal cues can be a challenge, as can technical issues that disrupt communication. However, these drawbacks can be mitigated through clear verbal communication and ensuring a good connection and agreeing on a backup plan if the call drops out.

Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Phone Counselling Sessions

Creating a dedicated, private space for your sessions can enhance the experience. Being open and honest with your counsellor and committing to follow through on suggested tasks or homework can significantly impact your progress.

What to Expect After a Phone Counselling Session

As with any therapy, post-session, you may experience a range of emotions as you process the conversation.

Taking time for yourself, practising self-care and self-compassion, and maintaining consistent sessions are key to your growth.

It’s important not to feel obliged to discuss your sessions with your family or partner as the space to reflect and process can be interrupted by their need to talk about it.

There is a difference between privacy and secrecy, your sessions are personal to you, about you and for you and therefore you are allowed to choose whether you discuss them or not.


Phone counselling offers a unique blend of convenience, comfort, and effectiveness, making it a good option for those exploring mental health support.

If you’re considering this path, remember the importance of finding the right counsellor, preparing your space and mind, and embracing the journey with openness.

Phone counselling might just be the support you’ve been searching for.

Want to know more, then get in touch and we can organise an initial consultation today.

lady talking on phone

FAQ Section

Is phone counselling as effective as in-person therapy?

Research indicates that phone counselling can be just as effective as in-person therapy for many issues, providing a flexible and accessible option for those seeking support.

How do I know if phone counselling is right for me?

Consider your comfort with phone communication, privacy needs, and the issues you wish to address. Phone counselling might be right for you if you value convenience and prefer the intimacy of voice communication.

If you’ve read this blog, and you think that phone counselling sessions are something you may be interested in, get in touch today and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Debbie Kelly MSc is an experienced counsellor offering telephone and online counselling. She works with clients experiencing life challenges concerning anxiety, depression, work stress, grief and bereavement, relationship difficulties and miscarriage/pregnancy loss.