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Video Call Etiquette in Professional Counseling & Therapy

August 18, 2022


By: Motivo Team

The world of video calls in the professional setting is upon us!

Please keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your Motivo Video Calls.

If nothing else, follow the main rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it on a video call.

Before the Session

  1. Inform family members, roommates or office colleagues that you are going to be in-session. This way, they know ahead of time to not disturb you.
  2. Find a quiet room where you can be alone. This helps minimize distractions and also ensures you are protecting client confidentiality.
  3. Ideally, position yourself at a desk, couch or kitchen island. Avoid sitting or laying on a bed.
  4. Ensure you are not in front of a window, as the backlight will make it difficult for other video call attendees to see you.
  5. Minimize distractions by turning off the TV or music and logging out of any open windows, such as email, social media, or any apps that send notifications.
  6. Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” or turn off your ringer.
  7. Be sure you are appropriately dressed.
  8. Consider having a snack or going to the restroom ahead of time so you can be fully present during the session.
  9. Log in to the session a few minutes early to ensure you are ready to begin at the scheduled time.
  10. Check your internet connection, speakers, volume and video to ensure all is in working order.


During the Session

  1. If you are a supervisee, come prepared to staff your cases. This might include jotting down questions you’d like to ask, gathering case notes or preparing raw session data to share.
  2. Don’t eat a meal, drink alcoholic beverages or smoke during a session. Non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee, tea, water or soda are totally fine!
  3. Remain attentive to whoever is speaking by maintaining eye contact, leaning into the screen and engaging in the conversation.
  4. If you are in a group or dyad, be sure to allow time for other attendees to share. Don’t dominate the conversation, but do try to be an active participant in the session by speaking up and contributing to the conversation often. Provide your insight and respond to requests for comments or questions.
  5. Be respectful of others when asking questions. Keep your contributions helpful and considerate of the host and other participants. Arguing about or belittling somebody else’s comment is not productive. Instead, you can say that you have a different perspective or different experience, which extends the conversation rather than shutting it down.

Most Importantly

  1. If, for some reason, you need to make a last-minute cancellation, please inform your supervisor as soon as possible.
  2. Don’t arrive late or leave early, unless you have arranged this ahead of time with your supervisor.
  3. Don’t attend a video session from your car while driving or using public transportation.
  4. Don’t attend a video session while in any public setting such as a coffee shop or restaurant.
  5. Don’t join a supervision session in pajamas, a camisole, or other loungewear.
  6. Don’t allow others to be in the same room while you are in a supervision session – this includes children.


While these are the practical rules of online video etiquette, we also asked Motivo supervisor, Valerie K. Rogers LPC-S (Texas), to share her best advice when it comes to tele-supervision. Check out what Valerie has learned works below:  

Have an Agenda 

One of the things that really helped me was having an agenda. Although you may not get through everything you have on the agenda, it still serves as a great way to stay organized and on task. 

Use a Powerpoint for Onboarding 

After reviewing the agenda, I use pre-made slideshow explain supervision expectations for both my supervisees and myself. 

Get Familiar with the Technology

If you are not already accustomed to using a video platform, I suggest setting up a test video session to familiarize yourself with all of the features, like screen share, document uploading and toggling. 

Break the Ice! 

If you are working with a group, I recommend having an icebreaker so the participants can all become better acquainted, as well as ease some of the nerves and anxiety they may have about their meeting. 

Share Your Knowledge

I often give supervisees homework assignments and make recommendations for resources and books I think would be helpful. I work in a collaborative approach, so I also always welcome their feedback and questions. 

I hope you find these tips, tools, and tricks to be useful!


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