Online E-counseling Process

Photo by Pat Roles


Patricia Roles' Virtual E-counseling Room

Online counseling over the internet is:

  • Writing an email about the challenges with which you want help
  • Including an explanation of your situation identifying your concerns, issues, questions or dilemmas
  • E-mail response takes maximum of 72 hours (business days), usually much sooner, often the same day
  • This site does not provide a chat line or blog

    If I am absent or unable to respond for some reason, this site would bring this to your attention on the main pages.

    See below for:  guidelines for email preparation, what to include & start session button

    Note: if you do not use Microsoft Outlook, you do not get taken to the email page after online payment via Paypal. If this occurs, please just email the session to my email address on this site:

    Prior to sending your first e-mail to me, you will need to read the information provided on this site under the heading:
    Terms and Conditions

E-mail counseling sessions can be:

  • a one-time consultation - pay for one single session at a time
  • a short series of sessions
  • ongoing for as long as you feel is necessary, depending upon your needs
Each email session consists of your email and the reply.

Start Your E-counseling Session Now

Click below to proceed. You will go to a page to pay by credit card and choose your session type:




Online Counseling: Guidelines for the Initial E-mail

1.  Preparation for the Email Session:

  • Take all the time you need to consider how best to explain your concerns in the e-mail
  • The more clearly you can focus on the issues, the more clearly the response will be to your specific needs
  • Writing promotes your own critical thinking - Critical thinking can expand your own understanding of your problems and may expand your thinking about potential solutions
  • It is important to find quiet time when you can think and reflect without interruptions.

    Writing the e-mail is part of the therapeutic process, so do not rush. Because you are not in the office face-to-face, there is no opportunity to clarify information. Your openness and honesty are helpful. The response depends on the information you provide.

    You do not have to send the perfect e-mail as there are benefits to developing the story as you write it down. Sometimes as you begin, you become aware of information that would be relevant as your story evolves on the page. It is helpful if you provide a summary with your most pressing needs or questions.

    Providing information does not mean that you need to tell me everything about you as a person or all your life history. Be selective with information you feel is relevant to the situation with which you are struggling.

    2.  Ongoing Sessions and Reflection:

    If you choose to continue e-mail counseling after you receive the first response, then take time to reflect before sending the next e-mail. Your inner reflection is part of the therapeutic process. You can choose to share the e-mail response with anyone you wish if you think this may have some therapeutic value. Sharing the e-mails may potentially extend your circle of support by having others more fully understand your issues or experiences. If others reflect on your e-mail, it may also provide new information or different perspectives about the problem. It might help you reflect more deeply prior to your e-mail counseling reply. You can also keep your e-mail completely private and do not need to share it with anyone. You are the only one who knows what is helpful for you. Remember though that the only person you can change is yourself, so if you do share your online therapy sessions with another person, be clear on your expectations. It would not be helpful to have others read them with the hope getting a significant other in your life to change his or her behavior. If you choose to share your private e-mail counseling sessions with someone, consider your reasons carefully to ensure that you are not doing this in reaction to a conflictual situation.

    One of the advantages of writing rather than talking, is that it allows you to slow down the process of communication and thinking. So take advantage of this in the process and take this time for your own self-reflection.

    3.  Information to consider including in your first e-mail:

    This list provides suggested guidelines for the first online e-counseling session. This list is extensive and you will need to choose the information most relevant to your current problems. There may be information you will choose to provide that is not on this list. You might want to list some information in bullet form rather than paragraphs. If you are making a first time initial session, you need to provide relevant background details to provide the context for the problem you are presenting.
  • Your first name or name you are used to being called
  • Full name, phone number and address are preferred, but not essential
  • E-mail address that you want to use for sessions - ensure it is private and not accessed by others at work or home
  • Age, gender, and family composition
  • Main concern bothering you at this point in time
  • The effects of this problem on your life
  • Length of time that this problem has been in your life
  • Ways you have attempted to deal with identified problems: what has helped you cope and what has not helped?
  • Past experiences with therapy
  • Relevant background information that might help me understand your situation more fully such as: occupation, education, career path, personality style, significant relationships, family and cultural background, important values or beliefs, stresses, losses or changes in your life, supports in your life
  • Other challenges you are trying to deal with in addition to your main concern
  • What gave you the courage to try e-mail counseling with an internet therapist?
  • How did you decide to choose this site?
  • What do you hope to get from online counseling?
  • At the end, summarize your most pressing need or question at this point in time.
Remember that these are only guidelines. It is up to you to decide what is important to put in the first e-mail. You do not have to cover all these areas and the length of the e-mail is up to you. Longer does not necessarily mean better as it is more important to consider what you think I need to be told as it relates to the problem you are describing. In later sessions I may ask questions about the background of yourself or your family if it appears relevant to the problems you are describing.

You will also be in charge of whether you choose to respond to any questions I might pose in my responses to you. Raising questions is one of the ways I will encourage you to explore your own dilemmas. I will also be noticing your strengths as it is my belief that change occurs by looking at what has worked for you rather than by looking at what has not worked. So I will be very interested in how you have managed to cope with previous problems or changes in your life.

Relationships via e-mail take time to build just as they do in face to face sessions. Trust and relationships develop over time. As the trust builds, it can affect the amount or type of information you might share in the e-mail. Sometimes the problem you identify initially may differ from the issues you may later raise, after a comfort level has developed over time. You are in charge of the process. You will decide if this process of e-mail counseling is helpful to you. You can set the pace of the e-therapy sessions and choose the frequency of the e-mails. It can be a one-time consultation session, a short-term series of e-mails otherwise known as brief therapy, or a longer term, ongoing process for as long as you judge it to be helpful. You can choose to end the process at any time just by not responding. If you decide suddenly to discontinue the online counseling sessions, I would appreciate it if you took a moment to inform me through feedback on the e-mail link on this site. Like all therapeutic relationships the ending is important. Each e-mail and response constitutes one e-therapy session.

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Patricia Roles, MSW, RSW, BCATR
Registered Social Worker
Office Location: Vancouver (Mt. Pleasant) British Columbia Canada 
Online Counseling via Email @ and Face-to-face Counseling 604-375-9215

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 Patricia Roles, Virtual E-counseling Room,, Burnaby, BC, Canada

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