The New Normal: Therapy on YOUR Couch. What you can do to make the most of tele-therapy.
As of the writing of this blog, we in Minnesota are 10 weeks into our “shelter in place” order from the Governor. Our practice has gone to mostly tele-therapy.
There are some lovely things that happened as we transitioned to virtual therapy. I have met dogs, cats, and children. I have seen people’s homes and they have seen mine. I have done therapy with couple’s in their beds, in their closets, in their cars, and in one case, I did a session with a person in the bathroom. (This person wanted privacy other family members, namely their partner and children). All of this has made our connection stronger. We are just people trying to get through this crisis.
In order to get the most out of your tele-therapy session, here are some quick tips:
Find a good space. As I mentioned above, I have met with people in their cars. Sometimes a car is a great space, because of the privacy it provides. The downside is the internet connection may not be as good. Mostly find a private space with minimal distractions.
Make sure your face is visible. Your therapist will want to see you, much in the same way as in-person therapy, visual expressions are important. Adjust your lighting, there is nothing worse than doing therapy when someone is silhouetted.
Set yourself up for success by finding a good internet connection. Being on WIFI is preferable to 4G LTE connection. Laptop/tablet is preferable to phone.
Minimize distractions by turning off notifications.
Expect problems and have a plan for how to handle them. The internet connection isn’t always stable. Make a plan for what to do if you get frozen or dropped.
If you are comfortable, show your therapist your surroundings and have your therapist show you theirs. Therapy is all about connection.
Attempt to be in the same room and sit close enough together to both be on the screen.
Invest in an external microphone for your computer so that your therapist can hear both of you.
Remember that your therapist cares about you and wants to support you throughout this crisis.