If you are new to therapy sessions online (also known as telepsychology/teletherapy /telehealth/telemedicine), keep reading, we’ve got you covered.
For starters, we would like to acknowledge that this may be a huge shift for some of you, especially if you have been doing therapy in person. You might be excited or even relieved that you don’t have to leave your home or you might be feeling uneasy, and awkward, just know that whatever you’re feeling with this transition is completelyyyyy normallllll. We encourage you to process those feelings with your doctors/providers but also thought a few great tips could help put you at ease.
Let’s face it, most of us avoid change like the plague, (I was going to say like COVID-19…too soon?) but this change is definitely doable and you might find that you actually enjoy sessions from the comfort of your own home even more than going into the office. Things you might ask yourself are : “Do I look okay?” “Can they hear me?” “What if I get disconnected?” “Is the doctor really going to understand what I am going through via video and phone conversations?”
Again, all valid questions so to better prepare you we have identified some top tips below to help you get the most out of your online therapy sessions:
- Find a private and quiet space– This may be harder for some that others but getting creative can help. You can use your car, garage, backyard, or even your bathroom if need be (but be prepared for a slightly echoed sound quality).
- Make sure that your WIFI connection is reliable– We don’t have to say much about this one right?
- Put up a sign or let other members of your household know that you are on an important call/meeting– Therapy is YOUR TIME to take care of yourself and having interruptions can sometimes mess up the flow so letting others know that you need some uninterrupted time and space is a good way to start.
- Wear headphones and/or play white noise in the background– If you’re having session and other people are in nearby rooms, wearing headphones will ensure that no one else but you can hear what your therapist is saying. Additionally, a white noise machine or app played on a tablet or ipad just outside the door can also make you feel more comfortable. (here is a helpful link for free white noise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzjWIxXBs_s)
- Keep a box of tissue nearby– Do you ever notice how many tissue boxes are in your therapist’s office? Our rooms have at least 2 each and you know what, we go through them pretty quickly. Spare a few squares of toilet paper or bring in a box of tissues so that if tears come up you are fully prepared.
- Have a pen and paper handy– If your therapist is anything like the one’s in our offices who drop serious knowledge bombs and dish out really useful skills and tools, you’re going to want to jot some things down from time to time without having to get up and grab a notepad.
- Get comfy by having a soft pillow and/or blanket nearby– Do you ever find yourself grabbing that one throw pillow at your therapist’s office and holding it in your lap during session or maybe running your fingers along the throw blanket. Those are self-soothing techniques and you can do the same thing at home!
- Keep your phone/laptop charged– I don’t think we really need to say more about this one.
- Before session, write down any topics you want to discuss– A lot can go down in our busy lives in just one week’s time, jotting down a few thoughts, feelings or issues that came up during the week will help you stay on track during session
- Keep your cell phone handy– You never know when your internet connection might drop or the video platform may be overwhelmed so having your phone handy will allow your provider to reach out to you to keep your session going
We hope that you’ll make use of these helpful tips as you are starting online therapy. As always feel free to share any feedback or tips we may have missed, we’d be glad to add them.
Happy Online Connecting everyone!
The ARC Counseling and Wellness Team