Whether if you’re social distancing or it’s just more convenient because of your location or schedule, online therapy has become increasingly popular. But, to ensure that the sessions are smooth, here are five tips you should keep in mind before, during, and after.
Just as you would with an in-person session, clients should make some preparations in advance. At the minimum, this includes:
Knowing what you want to discuss.
Asking yourself what the end goal is.
Purchasing a journal so that you can reflect on your sessions and write down your thoughts in-between.
Address scheduling, insurance, and payment concerns at the start of the session.
Keep an open mind and listen to the advice you’ve been given, but don’t be afraid to ask “why” and plan your course.
When it comes to online therapy specifically, make sure that you have all the technical requirements for using the platform. This includes a strong and reliable internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone that can load the software. These devices should also have a quality microphone and front-facing camera.
Learn the tech.
For both clients and therapists, make sure that you test out your tech prior to the session, even if it’s just 10-minutes before the appointment, by doing the following:
Making sure that your microphone and camera are both working.
Double-checking that your device is connected to a private, password-protected Wi-Fi network.
Closing all other browsers or apps so that they won’t interfere with the session.
Learning how to use the platform and basic troubleshooting tips.
Create the ideal environment.
To be honest, there may not be the “perfect” environment for an online therapy session. But, here are some ways that can almost make that possible:
Find a quiet and well-lit room. If possible, it should have a door so that it can be closed for additional privacy.
Keep background noise to a minimum, such as your pets, family, or even jingly jewelry. Wearing headphones can also help.
If using a video calling platform, try to use your computer as opposed to the phone since it has a larger screen -- it’s also more stable. Additionally, keep the background simple since it will make it easier for the camera -- that also includes the clothes that you’re wearing.
Be honest and flexible.
Like in a face-to-face session, be honest with your therapist about how you feel and what you want to discuss. Also, be transparent on when the time commitment and what time works best for you. For example, if your children are currently home from school, then you may not have the availability for an hour-long video call. But, you may be able to schedule a shorter phone call or text your therapist.
And, if remotely meeting with your therapist isn’t working for you, then let them know so that you can schedule an in-person visit.
Improve your verbal communication.
Even if you’re using a platform that offers video calls, it can still be difficult for your therapist to pick-up on important nonverbal cues. Because of this, you should work on improving your verbal communication skills, like:
Thinking before you speak.
Being clear and concise.
Varying your vocal tone.
Becoming more self-aware so that you can name your emotions more specifically.
If you’re ready to give remote therapy a try, then please contact us so that we can schedule an appointment with you.