Our world has changed greatly in the last few months. Many counselors and therapists have moved to providing online services for their clients. It’s true that the arrival of the coronavirus prompted much of the rise in online services. However, teletherapy has been in use for quite some time.
Perhaps you’re now in the position of beginning to receive online counseling. Or maybe you’re new to therapy altogether.
Chances are you may have many questions. Using a technology for mental health services that is otherwise frequently utilized in informal ways (video chats with friends and family) or for business purposes may feel a bit uncomfortable.
Fortunately, however, once you’ve had a session or two, you’ll be familiar with this flexible, adaptable way of holding counseling sessions. It’s proven to be as helpful as in-person visits.
Many people wonder about the confidentiality of virtual sessions. It’s important to know that your therapist will use an encrypted video conferencing program that is approved for healthcare privacy laws. All of the same privacy policies that apply to in-office therapy hold true for virtual sessions.
Getting set up for online sessions should be pretty straightforward. Your therapist will share the software platform they use with you. Typically, clients log into a private, virtual waiting room or simply click on the link they received. Your therapist will initiate the therapy session once the time of your appointment has come.
Children are almost always thrilled to have screen time. Likely, they’re already familiar with video chats with family members or classmates. With creativity, therapists will be able to utilize many of the same approaches with kids online as they would in office.
To make your virtual sessions most productive, remember to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Turn off notifications, put a barking dog in another room, and so forth. Parents will likely help the child start the session, but we do ask for a private spot for your child’s session much like they have in our actual office.
The therapist may ask for the parent’s help with locating toys, art supplies, or other items that could be useful during the session. Counseling then proceeds as usual. Your therapist will be able to adapt to the situations that arise. Seeing your child in their home environment can be very beneficial as well for the therapist.
As with children, teens are also likely to enjoy the familiarity of using online services for counseling. Typically, they’re at ease with using electronic devices.
Many adolescents, of course, have a great need for privacy when it comes to their therapy sessions. So, one thing you’ll need to consider is how to ensure they feel comfortable talking with their therapist in the family home instead of in the privacy of an office.
Consult with the counselor and your teen for their thoughts on privacy. Many find that white noise machines outside the teen’s bedroom door are very helpful.
As discussed so far, online family counseling sessions proceed much like an in-office session would. If there’s a need to talk with one family member privately during online sessions, the therapist may ask them to go to a different room or schedule an individual call.
For All Ages
No matter what stage of life you’re in, teletherapy has been shown to be as effective as in-person therapy for treating all kinds of issues. People of all ages benefit from being able to hold therapy sessions in the comfort of their own home.
Most individuals tend to be most comfortable at home. It’s easier to open up with your therapist when you’re already at ease. Any stress of running late due to traffic is eliminated. And you don’t have to worry about running into people you know. All you have to do is log on.
It’s very important to continue to take care of your mental health needs even during times when in-person visits aren’t possible. At our office, we’re committed to working with our clients to support them and set them up for success through online therapy.
If you have questions about teletherapy, we encourage you to reach out to us to learn more.