Embracing The Technology: Tips To Help You Make The Best Of Online Therapy
Updated: Feb 25
It isn't just work meetings and social catch-ups that have moved online since the arrival of Covid19. Many therapists (including myself) have also swapped their therapy rooms for online practices. Personally, I think online therapy is a fantastic and exciting new way to offer therapy. And by seeing more and more people experience its benefits, there are definitely some tips and tricks I've picked up along the way that can help you make the best of an online therapy session.
TEST YOUR TECHNOLOGY
Covid19 lockdowns have prompted a crash course in video-conferencing for many. Before you have your first session, it’s a good idea to test your technology. Check your camera, microphone and see if you need headphones. Make sure your WiFi is working effectively – and shut down any other apps you have on screen. Test your equipment and internet connection by contacting a friend in advance using the platform you’re going to use for therapy.
FIND SOME PRIVACY
Find a quiet space and time for your session. This may mean you tell people in your household you have an important meeting for 50 minutes and can’t be disturbed. Headphones are also recommended to assure your privacy. If you can't find a private space within your home during this era of Covid19, using a parked car to undertake your therapy session is a great alternative option.
FIND THE OPTIMAL POSITION
You may not be seeing your therapist in person, but you will still be face-to-face if you can have your device at eye-level. This can really help you connect with your therapist. Sitting with the light (such as a window) facing you also helps. If the light is behind you, you’ll end up in darkness and your therapist won’t be able to see you.
Make sure you sit in a comfortable position with good lighting and seating. This will help you to feel more relaxed and focus on the therapy session. Also, prop your device in a stable position in front of you so you can focus on your session and not repositioning your camera. Have a glass of water nearby and a box of tissues if you feel you might need them. It may also be helpful to have a pen and paper to hand in case you want to make notes.
FOCUS ON YOUR THERAPIST AND NOT YOURSELF
Now you’re ready to start your session, it may feel a little different to seeing your therapist in person. Unlike face-to-face sessions, you'll be able to see yourself in the corner of the screen. You may become self-conscious about this so try to focus on your therapist or somewhere else on the screen to take the focus away from yourself.
SET ASIDE TIME AFTER YOUR SESSION
After face-to-face counselling, you have the space of a journey home or onward to reflect and come back down to earth. However, after working online you turn off your camera and your life is instantly ready and waiting. This can feel quite jarring, so it really is important to give yourself the time you need after a session to breathe and readjust before opening the door and going back to your life.
SEE THE BENEFITS
Working with a practitioner via a video-conferencing platform may not be how you imagined having therapy, but once you take the plunge you might find you are very pleasantly surprised. There are huge benefits to working online. For example, there are no geographical limitations when seeking an online therapist so you can widen your scope to get the therapist you really want. Also, the lack of travel means you can fit a therapy session much more easily into your daily schedule. In fact, many of my clients love the flexibility this approach allows.
Hopefully, these tips will help you take the plunge and make the best of online therapy. Rather than a temporary replacement to face-to-face work, I definitely see a place for online sessions as an integral part of my practice moving forward. Of course, sessions via videolink are different to face-to-face sessions. But if done effectively, they offer a new and exciting way to undertake therapy with flexibility and ease of access at their core. So don't be nervous, embrace the change and book in your first session today!