by Rebecca Ogle, LCSW
Thanks to technology, therapy can continue during social distancing during Covid-19. It’s a wonderful thing! With that said, teletherapy definitely feels different from in-office therapy.
If you are nervous about your first video therapy appointment, you’re not alone. Starting anything new feels uncomfortable at first.
Here are 5 things you can do to make sure you have a successful virtual session with your therapist.
1. Start early
Log in about 10 minutes early to test your technology and ensure everything is working properly. This will reduce your stress as you start your first session.
2. Check your Equipment
Teleconferencing platforms like Zoom and Doxy.me, where video therapy takes place, can typically be accessed on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. If you aren’t sure whether your device is compatible with the platform, try it out, ask your therapist, or Google it.
Most tablets, laptops, and smartphones have a built-in webcam; it looks like a small circle above your screen. If you’re using an older device, you may need to buy a webcam that can attach to the top of the screen.
For teletherapy to work, you will need a strong Wi-Fi connection. This free PDF explains how to know if you have a good signal. If your Wi-Fi is on the weaker side, consider where in your home you have the best connection and plan to have your appointment there.
Headphones will help improve the sound quality of the video and ensure more privacy. Speaking of which...
3. Establish privacy
One of the differences of teletherapy is that more responsibility falls on you, the client, to ensure your privacy.
Arrange to be in a room alone with a closed door during your session. Turn off any ‘intelligent assistants’ like Siri or Alexa. Never record or screenshot teletherapy sessions.
What about my kids?
If possible, have someone else watch them for the length of your appointment. If there is no way to arrange this, try to schedule your appointment during naptime, or set them up in another room with a movie and keep an eye on them.
4. Find your light
Sit with the light facing you or beside you, not behind you. This will ensure that the therapist can see your face.
5. Limit distractions
At home, there are many more distractions than in a therapy office. To manage these, put your phone on silent and out of reach. Close any other tabs on your computer.
Take a moment before the appointment begins to breathe, and let go of any worries about what you need to get done around the house. Bring the focus back to you and this time you’ve made for yourself.
What has teletherapy been like for you so far? Leave a comment and let us know!
Rebecca Ogle, LCSW, is a clinical social worker / therapist who has been providing teletherapy to Illinois residents since July 2019. Rebecca empowers her clients to cope with anxiety, depression, burnout, and people-pleasing using their natural strengths and inner wisdom.