Since Washington State announced Stay-at-Home orders in March of 2020, I have been holding appointments through secure online video chat. When I began, I feared that the loss of face-to-face interaction would put a drag on the therapy process. Instead, I found that clients seemed more relaxed and often more honest when they met me from their couch rather than mine. Clients shared that they found it much easier to fit online appointments into their busy lives, and couples shared that they appreciate the option to meet together from different locations on their lunch breaks.
Because I started meeting folks online, I was able to open my practice to clients who live far from Tacoma, anywhere in Washington and Oregon. When COVID restrictions lifted, I realized that my clients no longer live near a central physical location, and I decided to keep my practice online.
Tips for Online Therapy
Telehealth has become my new ‘normal,’ but it’s still new for most clients. If you’ll be attending online appointments for the first time, here are a couple of things to consider for your appointments.
“Your options will be limited of course, but consider what will work best given what you’ve got. ”
Choose your space
You’ll want to put some thought into where we’ll meet. Your options will be limited of course, but consider what will work best given what you’ve got. You’re looking for that rare combination of a strong internet signal and privacy. That might mean the basement, a spare bedroom, or empty office space at work.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for inside, consider your yard or your car. Maybe hang in the hammock if you’ve got one. Your imagination can take you as for as your router will allow you to go. If you have a good data plan, you might consider driving somewhere like the waterfront or a greenspace. If all else fails, we can meet over the phone, and you can be free to wander wherever you’ve got a phone signal.
Make your space
Wherever you choose to be, you’re likely going to be in one of the very few spaces that you now do everything. If we can’t make the space different, we can at least make this time different. Consider how you might set aside this hour, and make it unique among the other twenty three hours in your day. Light a candle, choose calm and relaxing lighting. Pour yourself a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Grab a cozy blanket or don that extra cozy sweatshirt you love.
Finally, take the time to enjoy your space for at least a few minutes before your session begins. Jot down some of your thoughts and feelings to warm up the engine. Many clients find it helpful to write down the important things they want to remember to bring up in session. Take some deep breaths, log on when you’re ready.