With COVID-19, we’ve found ourselves moving our entire lives onto a variety of digital platforms. From work to working out, we’ve shifted almost everything online—including therapy sessions! However, the act of seeing a therapist is very personal. Taking your therapy sessions onto a Telehealth platform may not feel right…but studies have shown that Telehealth counseling can be just as effective as in-person counseling.
Getting the most out of online counseling depends upon the practices you put in place, and the ability of the therapist to create a comfortable online environment. Here are 5 tips to help make your online counseling sessions as effective as possible:
1. Find a private, quiet, comfortable space. Select somewhere you feel good and safe, and where you can sit comfortably. Silence your phone and limit other distractions from the outside, including your family, pets, and any loud noises. Make sure you have up to an hour of uninterrupted time, all to yourself.
2. Have items available that your therapist recommended. This might include blank paper, a journal, or completed “homework” discussed in a previous conversation. For your child, this might include art supplies, toys, or games. Having items handy that the therapist requested in advance allows for more focused time during your video session.
3. Test your WiFi connection. Ask household members to refrain from gaming, streaming movies, or other large bandwidth activities that could slow down your WiFi connection and impact the quality of your session. Close all unused programs that are open in the background on your smartphone or PC to give as much speed and connectivity during your session.
4. Double check your technology. Use a smartphone or camera and microphone enabled computer and plug it into a power source. Verify your audio and video is working, and have your therapist’s telehealth software downloaded, updated, or open and ready before your appointment. At Creative Counseling Center, we use a telehealth platform where simply clicking your therapist’s personalized weblink places you in a private, virtual waiting room where your therapist selects you when it is time for your appointment.
5. Place yourself in the middle of the camera and look straight at it. It feels weird however you’ll find that, when your therapist does this, you feel as though s/he is looking at you. Eye contact is important. This will help you fully engage with your therapist during the session.
6. Imagine you are chatting in person with your therapist or a close friend. Although the environment may be different, let go of the idea that you are video chatting with your therapist in a 2-dimensional state. Instead, imagine you are with him or her in their office. If you have never met your therapist personally or seen their office, look at the session as though you are video chatting or Facetiming with a close friend in the safety of your own home. This will keep the conversation genuine and flowing.
With recent news reports of grievances filed against popular video conferencing platforms, we want you to know that Creative Counseling Center’s Telehealth platform is 100% HIPAA compliant, specifically designed for use by the healthcare industry. Your sessions are guaranteed secure, just between you and your therapist.
We know that, right now, times are tough. Even those who don’t generally struggle with stress, anxiety or depression may be impacted. Our counselors are ready and available to be a shoulder to lean on…virtually, of course, as well as in person if that is the best approach for you and your family. Contact us to set up a free phone consultation today.