10 Tips to get the most out of your online therapy
This simply has to be at the top of the list. Wearing a pair of head phones can help ensure your therapist's voice won't be heard by anyone else in the house. Headphones also have the added benefit of helping to remove unwanted echoes and noises. In addition, think about whether you have any neighbours or passers by that may overhear if there's a window open.
Try to ensure you can be settled in a room free from distractions and interruptions, this is your time. Consider if you are expecting any deliveries or friend's popping by, will you have children or other family members at home? Consider popping a 'do not disturb' sign outside your door.
If you are able, try to position yourself near a window, preferably with the light towards your face, if this isn't possible a light or two will do the trick. This helps the therapist to see you and read your expressions and facial cues.
4. Have a back up
Ensure you have a plan of action in place. This may include the therapist giving you a call on your landline or mobile if technology suddenly cuts you off from your online session.
5. Take a break
Having online therapy has the added benefit of no travel and being able to fit sessions in when life can be hectic. However, it's all too easy to jump straight back in to everyday life without having the 'drive home' to process your session. Try to take some time before to prepare for sessions and after to allow some time to process and gather yourself.
6. Hello... Can you hear me?...
Technology is wonderful, when it's working! Sometimes, if there are glitches the images and sound can appear distorted or jumpy, potentially leading to miscommunication. Your therapist will do everything they can to ensure this is minimised, but if you do feel your therapist has misunderstood or missed something you have said, don't be afraid to let them know.
7. Picture perfect?
Being on a video call can feel quite daunting and many people worry about they way they look, it can be especially off putting to see your own video on the screen. Your therapist will not make judgement on you or how you look. Try not to focus on your own video, many video meeting platforms such as Zoom have the ability to hide your video, so your therapist can see you but you can't see yourself. If you are concerned or feeling anxious, speak to your therapist who can give some guidance.
8. Bodily Cues
In the world of online meetings and therapy, we lose a lot of the unspoken part of the conversation, it can be tricky to see facial expressions or bodily cues. This gives a good opportunity to really explore our feelings and try to name these more explicitly.
9. Feedback gratefully received
The current pandemic has enabled many therapists to explore new ways of working, this includes video sessions. For some, this is a completely new experience and so if something isn't working quite right for you, don't be afraid to let your therapist know. Feedback is essential to ensure the therapist gets to know what will work well for you.
10. You're doing amazingly
Last and by no means least, remember you are doing amazingly well. Taking the first steps into therapy and then continuing along the journey can feel nerve wracking, even scary. By engaging in therapy, be it online or face to face, is incredibly brave. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the time to acknowledge how well you are doing.