Getting the Most out of Your Online Counseling Sessions
Clients and mental health professionals are grateful that we have the technology available to us to not only continue therapy that has been ongoing but also treat new clients in need at this time. Teletherapy counseling has been a great way to stay connected, but many therapists and clients do wonder about best practices with the use of online counseling sessions and teletherapy.
Perhaps more important is how to get the most out of your online counseling session and how to create a therapeutic environment. Concerns with online counseling sessions or other teletherapy options include privacy and difficulty with lack of being present together in the session room. We will make a few short suggestions about getting the most out of your online counseling that could prove useful to clients and therapists alike.
Teletherapy and online counseling sessions can be used to treat any mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, grief, and problems of daily living just like traditional counseling. However, to optimize the experience and effectiveness of online & teletherapy counseling we recommend:
- Create a comfortable private space for your sessions.
- It may be a room you can use with the door closed. If you don’t have the luxury of a spare room, even a quiet corner away from others as best you can, will help. Having privacy for your online counseling session will allow you to be more relaxed and open with your therapist. Many have found that using their car in the driveway is an example of a space that gives a great sense of privacy and is a controlled environment.
- Find a platform you are comfortable using
- At this moment in time almost any platform will work for online counseling sessions or teletherapy. Examples of common platforms are: Facetime on your phone, Zoom video conferencing, Skype, and etc. Even the telephone can be used and is covered by most insurance carriers at this time.
- Communicate with others in your household that you are taking a break and need privacy for a little while.
- Interruptions most often occur when others have not been asked to help maintain your privacy. Parents often have a difficult time with this during child and adolescent teletherapy counseling. While there are times when a parent’s presence is very helpful, at other times hovering parents can limit the child’s emotional expression and communication, which hinders an optimal online counseling or teletherapy sessions.
- Neither the client nor therapist should feel compelled to stare at the screen for the entire online counseling
- We don’t stare at each other in the office so why do it in online counseling? It can feel forced and cause unnecessary strain. The goal is to be relaxed and enjoy the moment with each other. Clients will gain more from their session.
- Finally, a simple tip, make sure your devices are charged or a charging port with a cord is nearby.
- We sometimes think that having 30% on our computer is enough only to find we have to pause our online or teletherapy session and hunt for cords and outlets.
Our therapists at Sollars and Associates are here to support your emotional and mental health needs with online and teletherapy counseling through this challenging time. Please stay safe, practice self-care and kindness, and be well.
Dr. Franklin Sollars