What to expect in a session
What does a typical session look like?
There will be three people in total in the session - you and two co-counselors. You can join the session with a computer (video or audio-only) or with your phone (dial-in). We use Zoom to host our calls. We use a co-counseling model (rather than using one counselor at a time) to ensure quality and accountability. Your co-counselors will begin the session by sharing a little about what peer counseling is and logistical details, and answer any questions you may have. Each session will last up to 45 minutes, but you can use as much or as little of that time as you like to talk about anything of your choice. Co-counselors will support you through anything you bring to a session. You can leave for any reason at any time and do not have to explain why you are leaving. We are not able to provide non-English counseling, ASL interpretation, or closed captioning on these calls. However, you are welcome to use your own interpreter. Please read more about our peer counseling model here.
What should I prepare?
As private a space as possible where you feel comfortable speaking aloud. If you share a space with others, consider letting them know that you’ll be in private sessions and should only be interrupted if it’s an emergency (for the sake of your privacy). You should also have a working microphone and a working camera and charger if you request a video session.
What kinds of things can I talk about?
We invite you to talk about anything that’s on your mind! You can share your joys, your worries, your pain, your confusion. Our counselors are prepared to hold conversations with you on loneliness, race and racism, family, sex, grief, love, sexual orientation, body, gender identity, trauma, fear, food, suicidal thoughts, anger, work, money, health, relationships, dating, connection… the list goes on. We are here to hold space for whatever you’re feeling.
Is this confidential?
Yes! Nothing that we speak about in this conversation will leave our peer counseling collective. When signing up for a session, you will be asked to include an e-mail address and a name. You do not need to put in your real name. We don’t save your information. During the session, you do not need to give any identifying information to the counselors or collective unless you would like to.
What is your peer counseling approach?
As peer counselors, we believe you have the ability to determine what's best for you. We don't view ourselves as therapists or experts, but are here to listen with warmth and hold space for anything that's going on for you. So that means we don't give advice or direct the conversation, and instead we want to support you to process what’s on your mind and heart. Please read more about our peer counseling model here.
What if I have tech issues?
If the session ends or freezes for you because of technical issues, we will remain on the call for the duration of the 45 minutes if you would like to drop back in.
Can I leave during a session?
Yes, each session is 45 minutes long but you can use as much or as little of that time as you wish. You’re free to leave at any point during the session, no need to explain why.
Can I bring a friend to support me?
In order to provide you with the best session possible, we only provide counseling to one person at a time. However, if you need someone there for accessibility reasons (interpretation, etc.), just let our peer counselors know at the beginning of your session.
Can I schedule a session with a specific counselor?
We use a drop-in model in our practice, meaning that we do not accommodate regular, recurring sessions and do not guarantee the same counselors each time you sign up for a session. For the confidentiality of our counselors and ease of scheduling, we are not able to share which counselors are counseling when. Instead, we welcome sign-ups for sessions whenever you’d like one, and a pair of counselors will be assigned to you according to availability. You are welcome to sign up for as many sessions as you wish for the duration of our pilot.
What if I know a peer counselor?
We know this can really change the dynamic of a session, so we typically confirm at the beginning of each session that you don’t know either of the co-counselors. In the case that we do know each other, we check with both you and the co-counselors about how to move forward with continuing the session. If anyone feels uncomfortable moving forward, we can call in a different, available counselor, or you may reschedule your appointment.
What if I need to reschedule?
We understand that things come up and you may need to reschedule your session. In your confirmation email, there is a link to cancel your session. We ask that you let us know as soon as you know so that we can offer that session to others.
Do you have other resources I can be connected to?
Here is a crowdsourced resource list. We do not actively work with any of these resources as a collective.