Training for Telephone Counseling

woman talking on telephone and taking notes on clipboard

Finding a training for telephone counseling can be an exhausting, time-intensive process for clinicians. Knowing what to look for, and why training is essential to begin with, are key pieces of information for over the phone counseling. First, let’s start with what topics are essential for phone counseling—

  • Legal considerations for telephonic counseling 
  • Ethical implications when using a verbal-only clinical modality 
  • How to keep your phone safe and HIPAA compliant? 
  • What to know about crisis planning for phone counseling

The popularity of telemental health services has habitually prioritized flashier counseling methods to the detriment of the accessible—but by now means simpler—phone counseling sessions. The truth of the matter is that many clients across the country do not have access to fast-speed internet or a personal computer, leaving them detached from the counseling services they might desperately seek. For these clients—especially those with debilitating anxiety, depressive, or PTSD symptoms—over the phone counseling can be a preferred and exclusive way to receive help. 

What the Research Says about Phone Counseling: 

  • Many clients actually complete a higher number of phone counseling sessions compared to in-person meetings (Hernandez-Tejada et al., 2014). 
  • Contrary to popular belief, suicidality can be effectively addressed when using phone counseling for depression (Rhee et al., 2005).
  • Phone sessions keep the care coming. There’s no need to slow down when environmental barriers take away an in-office option.

The American Psychological Association offers phone counseling tips for therapists interested in practicing counseling by phone. The first step in any phone session is to ensure that the client on the other end of the phone is who they say they are. Asking for a name and a date of birth can offset doubts about identity. Once the client’s identity has been vetted, explaining confidentiality limitations can establish common ground between a client and clinician. 

When it comes to phone counseling, distractions are to be expected. Since therapists cannot see their clients, fewer agreements can be formally defined. Talking through these possible scenarios shows how committed you are to the therapeutic process. Beginning with a checklist of questions might sound contradictory in a client-centered approach, but showing compassion for a client’s wellbeing often has the opposite effect: you achieve a higher level of clinical fidelity while amplifying client engagement. 

Above all, undergoing comprehensive training in phone counseling techniques, or in any non-traditional clinical modality, preserves your credibility as a professional. The Telehealth Certification Institute has a curriculum designed for phone counseling professionals. Their TeleMental Health Training Certificate (THTC) touches on ethical, legal, and technological topics to boost your confidence and reaffirm your passion for phone counseling. 


American Psychological Association Services, INC. (2020). Telephone psychotherapy: Ensuring patients have access to effective care. Retrieved from (Description: The American Psychological Association, known by most as the APA, is a trusted community who represents the interests of professional psychologists. This article outlines the advantages of phone counseling with the support of scientific research). 

Bufka, L. (2020). Tips for doing phone therapy: When videoconferencing isn't an option for your patient, consider audio-only treatment. Retrieved from (Description: An article from the APA that focuses on tips and considerations for phone counseling).

1 comment

  • Comment Link Ivy Monday, 22 March 2021 18:49 posted by Ivy

    What is the fee and CEUs fir this course? Thank you

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This course was extremely helpful understanding the legal requirements for interstate telehealth counseling.
Donald Kirk Henderson
Licensed Professional Counselor / Milestone Family Resources
Very informative! Well organized! Takeaway- protect yourself- know your ethical code and standards/ be insured.
Brenda Staerker
Private practice / Thaxton Holistic Wellness
Brillant concept and a great way to support counselors as they transition into on-line therapy/services.
Bianca Abrams
License Professional Counselor / The Wellness Institute of Atlanta
Educational and informative content that was easy to follow and comprehend.
Scott Lipp, Ph.D., LMHC, LAC, NCC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor; Adjunct Professor / Greater Things, LLC; Florida Atlantic University
I learned a lot in this course and will put what I learned into practice when I move my home office space.
Raymond Corbo
Clinical Supervisor and Counselor / Redeemer Counseling Services
It was one of the best courses I’ve attended; clear, well-structured, creative, transparent and professional! Bravo.
Elizabeth Tramonte, PsyD
Private Practitioner / Elizabeth Tramonte PC
Very well done. Encourages active engagement in telemental health process while guiding effectively.
Chris Brotherton
Marriage and Family Therapist / Addiction Counselor / Brotherton Counseling LLC
The course was so informative and I was glued to my screen for the entire duration. I received so much knowledge concerning ethics in telehealth and I am greatly encouraged to read about all the standards and policies that pertain to my practice. Thank you!
Bridgette Nalumu
Public health consultant / Green and Purple Consultancy Network
Easily one of the best online or in-person workshops I have ever attended. The information was unbelievably relevant to current practice with our students doing e-learning and having to provide online therapy and support. Thank you so much for this workshop and the information.
Vincent Amador
School Psychologist / Thornridge High School
The training was well structured and presented by a knowledge individual. Information shared in the training was useful, clear, and concise and can easily be incorporated into future practice techniques.
Dora Falls
LPC, MAC Private Practice - / Private Practice
Amazing and relevant information conveyed over excellent format. This is a professional organization worth joining.
Summer Allan Wilson LCSW-S; Nationally Certified TFCBT
Pediatric Psychotherapist / East Texas Family Guidance Center
This course was very informative and very relevant to today's telehealth practices!
Keith Ayson
Housing Case Manager / Bridgeways
This course was very interesting and allowing me to understand the way telementalhealth services need to work correctly.
Patricia A Hill
Mental Health Counselor II and LCDC, MAC / Central County Services
I took the Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider Training Certification Course in 2018, I feel so lucky to have found the TeleHealth Certification Institute. It's a top notch training center which has continued to provide me with tools and the knowledge to grow my private teletherapy practice. I recently participated in the TeleMental Health Preparedness Summit 2020 and was definitely not disappointed. The excitement and enthusiasm from the participants and TeleHealth Certification Institute staff is contagious. I've been inspired, since, to look into taking more courses, and joined their FaceBook group. I will likely join their consultation group in the near future. I don't believe there is another training institute out there that is as good as this one for everything telebehavioral health. Thank you Ray! You are a visionary!
Larissa Golloub, LCSW-R
Psychotherapist, solo practitioner / Larissa Golloub, LCSW
Thank you for an informational, relevant course to help me obtain my TMH certificate. Excellent presentation.
Tomica Horton
counselor/therapist / Jodi Province Counseling Services
Great, course. Really helped me during this challenging time to connect with students.
Priscilla Robinson
School Counselor / Baltimore County Public Schools
Necessary technological guidance!
Frances D Murdock
The training was very informative, there was more in-depth information to the details of privacy and HIPAA on an electronic level that I was not aware of. The more technological part of it was new information to me.
Nellie Decker
Therapist II / Yakama Nation Behavioral Health
This was quite beneficial. You explained well at a comfortable pace and you provided sufficient details for me to develop an Emergency Management Plan. Thank you!

The course was very detailed and informative. It covered everything that is necessary to work with Tele mental health.

Cynthia Allison
Mental health Counselor / Friendly Therapy LLC
Very informative training, instruction was clear and easy to follow
Jill Bogan-El
This course is providing me with valuable information that will be helpful in providing competent and effective services for clients.
Nancy Sweet-Holp, LMSW
Therapist / Liberty House of Albany
This course was eye opening and highlighted some definite areas for improvement to better address emergency management planning.
Nikkita Scott
Director of Counselling & Student Activities / Bbermuda College
Wonderful free training. Helpful discussion on how to aid clients in breaking out of the negative thought trap.
Jaime Wright
Courses were very informative! Extremely helpful!
Carron D. Alexander
LPC / Premier Counseling Services
Vey helpful and user friendly. Most importantly informative. Very good information to enhance an individual's practice.
La Keicia Boyd
Licensed Professional Counselor / Private Practice
Very informative. I learned things that I wasn't aware of about state laws!
Tamara Coleman
Counselor / Tamara Coleman Counseling LLC
This course is more comprehensive than all the other HIPAA courses I've taken combined.
Michelle R. Gould, LMHC
Mental Health Counselor
I really gained a deeper understanding of Telehealth. I think this course helps pave the way for success in our field. This was very convenient. I am so blessed to take a course like this during the crisis we are facing as a nation. This course really helps me perform at a high level for my job. THANKS!!!!!!!
Jackie Tanna
Therapist / Region One Mental Health