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Getting the most from Online Therapy

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Online therapy can be an effective and convenient way to meet with your therapist. Here are some tips for getting the most from your online sessions:

Creating a therapeutic space

A real benefit of online therapy is that you can meet with your therapist from the comfort of your own home. You can create an atmosphere which feels safe and relaxing, and this can really help to put you in the right frame of mind for your therapy sessions.

When choosing a location for your sessions, it is important to find a space that is comfortable, quiet and as distraction-free as possible. Try to make your surroundings peaceful and appealing – somewhere that you will enjoy spending time. A warm drink or wrapping yourself in a blanket could help you to relax and feel at ease.

Getting familiar with the technology

If you are not familiar with the technology used in online therapy, it can be helpful to have a practice before your first session. You could arrange a call with a friend or family member to get used to the settings, and to make sure that your camera and audio are set up correctly.

If seeing your own image on the screen feels awkward, you can select the option to “hide self-view” in the settings. Our therapists can guide you through this process if you are unsure. Also, if you are worried about being distracted by background noise, you might want to try using earphones during sessions.

Making sure that devices are fully charged (or that you have a charging cable nearby) will avoid interruptions to the session. It is also helpful to find somewhere to prop your device at eye-level so that you do not need to hold onto it.

Technical issues during sessions can be very frustrating, but sometimes these things do happen. At the start of your therapy, your therapist will send you a Psychotherapy Agreement which includes detailed steps of what to do if the connection is lost. This means that, should a problem occur, you will know exactly what to do.

Being fully present

Being fully present and in the moment can really help you get the most out of your therapy sessions. Therapy should be a time to deeply focus on yourself, so avoid having anything in your eyeline which could draw your attention away – such as a pile of laundry that needs sorting. It is also really helpful to turn off app, email or text notifications as they can be very distracting.

Try to make sure that you have anything you might need during your session to hand, such as a box of tissues or a drink. It is also helpful to remind the other members of your household that you should not be interrupted during your session.

Protecting your privacy

It can be hard to speak freely with your therapist if you are worried that other people can overhear you. If you live with other people, ask them to avoid coming near the room that you are in during sessions. If it is not possible to have privacy at home, you could try an alternative setting, such as a quiet park or sitting in your parked car on your drive.

Creating a transition before and after therapy

Having a transition into therapy can really help you to get in the right frame of mind for your session. Similarly, having a transition period after your session gives you the chance to reflect on what you have been exploring. You can choose how to create these transitions as part of your online therapy routine.

Before a session starts, you may want to sit down a few minutes early so that you can settle in and relax. You could try a few minutes of meditation during this time, or a short grounding technique. This can help you to feel fully present and ready for your session.

It can also be helpful to allow yourself some time after sessions to process any overwhelming emotions and reflect on what you have been discussing. You could use this time to meditate, journal, or go for a walk. This can really help you to transition back into the “real world” after the end of your session.

Give your therapist feedback

Your therapist’s goal is to help you to get the most out of your therapy sessions so, if something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to let them know. For example, you might need to ask them to sit closer to their screen, or to put an extra light on if you are having difficulty seeing their face clearly. If you find that the communication method isn’t working for you, let your therapist know so that you can come up with an alternative.

Telephone therapy

If you feel that you would prefer to have your therapy sessions by telephone, the above tips are also very relevant. Kathryn offers telephone therapy in addition to online therapy, and is happy to answer any questions you may have about these types of sessions.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to find out more about online therapy sessions.

Kathryn & Penny

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