4 Tips to Make Tele-therapy Work for You
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Well folks, it would appear that tele-therapy is here to stay for the foreseeable future. While some therapists are opening their doors for in-person sessions, many therapists are strictly tele-therapy only with no plans to return to the office anytime soon.
With that in mind, here are four tips to help make online therapy work for you!
1) Have the right equipment.
You won't need a lot for tele-therapy, but you will need a device with a webcam/camera and a solid internet connection. While some of my clients need to use their smartphones, I have found a desktop or laptop computer provides a better experience if that's available to you. Cedar Counseling & Wellness utilizes Simple Practice's telehealth portal, and you can do an internet connection test prior to your session to make sure you've got the best chance of having a smooth session! Use a wired internet connection when possible, as wifi may result in choppier audio/video. I have found that a pair of headphones can be helpful in eliminating an echo (which can be super distracting to the process).
2) Log on early.
Sit down 10-15 minutes prior to your session, to make sure you're connected and ready to roll. This will reduce the odds that technical difficulties will interfere with your session and take away from the time and money you're investing in the process.
Once you're signed in, use the extra few minutes to get yourself in the right headspace for therapy. It can be particularly hard when you're jumping right in from "normal life" to a therapy session, without any good transition time.
3) Find a safe space.
When you come to an in-person session, your therapist has (hopefully) set the stage for a therapeutic experience. They are mindful of distractions, noise, lighting, and privacy. While it can be trickier to create that same safe space, we recommend trying to recreate a therapeutic environment that is free of distraction and unnecessary noise. Close any doors, and shut the windows. Too little or too much light can be a distraction. Try to find a private space where you are free to talk without worrying about being overheard.
4) Come prepared with topics.
As with in-person sessions, you are likely going to get the most out of your therapy if you come prepared with things that you would like to discuss. Consider jotting down notes between sessions as things come up that you'd like to address in your next appointment. Consider asking yourself the following questions to prompt ideas:
What do you want to get out of today's session?
How will you know that today's session has been helpful or successful?
What do you need to process or talk about?
What has been bothering you since your last session?
Have you experienced tele-therapy yet? If so, how was the experience for you? What have you learned to implement that has helped you have a more positive virtual session? We always love hearing your thoughts!
Carrie Nicholes is a Maryland Board approved Licensed Certified Social Worker - Clinical (LCSW-C) and the founder of Cedar Counseling & Wellness. Recognized as one of the top therapists in Annapolis, she has a lifelong passion for teaching people tools to improve their lives.