Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Online counselling


I am due to have an appointment with CAMHS soon, but in light of the coronavirus it can't go ahead as planned. I was expecting it to be cancelled, but I've received a letter saying it will be held over video call. This should be a relief but honestly I feel even more stressed about it, because I have to interact with someone over video which I think will feel very awkward. I'd really rather not speak with a therapist over a computer, I don't know how easy it will be to interact with them and talk about my feelings. I don't feel like I can cancel it because that would mean I have to wait much longer for an appointment which isn't what my parents want. Do you have any advice on how to deal with this?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Getting a new counsellor can make you feel a little nervous and that’s completely natural. Whenever we introduce a new person into our lives, we have to spend some time getting to know them and learning to trust them. Building up trust and a relationship with someone is called building a rapport. This doesn't usually happen straight away, but over time you might start to feel comfortable talking to this person and sharing how you feel with them.

Having to do counselling via video call will be different at first. But just like building up a rapport with the counsellor, you’ll likely start to become more comfortable with talking to them over video chat. Things that seem strange and new at first can start to feel normal and comfortable quickly.

If you’re worried about what something might be like it can help to work up to it in stages. You could practice having a video call with a friend or family member before your therapy session, so that you feel more comfortable. Childline has advice about how to ask an adult for help with something like this.

You could also try talking on the phone with a Childline counsellor to build up to your therapy session. We don't offer therapy but we’re here to listen. Talking to a Childline counsellor can be a bit like talking to a CAMHS worker or therapist. If you get used to talking on the phone then it’ll feel like less of a leap to talk to your counsellor via video chat.

Childline has lots of helpful information and advice about how to manage your mental health, taking care of yourself and CAHMS . You can also reach out to other young people on Childline’s message boards for support, and for ideas about how to cope with online therapy.

I hope this has helped, thanks for writing to me.

Take care,


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