Although we’ve been using teletherapy/telehealth options for some time to provide mental health services, we have moved to exclusive provision of mental health services for the time being to ensure we are keeping everyone safe and healthy. Here are several tips to help you have the best experience with your session over video.
1.) Privacy: Just like when we meet in person at the office, confidentiality is of the utmost importance to ensure a safe experience, enable you to share private information, and make it easier to process your thoughts and feelings comfortably. If possible, we suggest attending session in a quiet space where you can close the door. Some alternatives include sitting in a parked vehicle, where you can still access WiFi, or in a room placing a white noise machine by the door, just as we have at the office, to prevent noise transfer. No white noise machine? No problem! There are several white noise apps you can download to your phone. Using headphones also helps reduce the chances therapist’s voice can be heard by others.
2.) Connectivity: Sometimes, we can’t avoid the signal cutting out, but there a few things we can do to control it. Restart your computer before session, make sure there are no other tabs open, and if you have options, try meeting in a room closest to the modem. Additionally, you can try to plug in an Ethernet connection directly to your computer.
3.) Reduce distractions: Just as you wouldn’t surf the internet in an in-person session, try to avoid having other internet sites or email open during session to make the most out of our time together. Often times, you can set your device to do not disturb to reduce texts, calls, or emails that might be distracting or interrupt session.
4.) Teletherapy and Couples Therapy: Yes, therapy over video works for couples! We have successfully conducted sessions with both partners in the same room or with two partners in different locations. Interestingly, telepsychology provides us with flexibility we wouldn’t have had to manage our clients’ unique schedules.
5.) Teletherapy and Child Therapy: Yes, this is possible, too! We engage in a hybrid of parent work and individual child therapy time, depending on the child age. Using items in your home like, games, toys, as well as art supplies like crayons, markers, and a white board or paper, can work well to assist with the therapy process and assist with both acquiring coping skills and processing feelings.
Even if you’re not quite sure about it, we invite you to try one session and see how it feels. We have found that most folks feel much more comfortable with teletherapy by the end of session. We are also happy to address any barriers that are unique to your particular situation.
Dr. Maria Hanzlik