Are you curious whether seeing a therapist via telehealth is just as “good” as seeing them in the office? Given changes brought on by Covid we’ve seen a huge shift toward therapy services being delivered via technology. Here are 3 tips to set yourself up for success if you are pursuing this route for therapy.
While teletherapy may not be your first go-to in regard to preferences for seeing your provider, many of us have had to make this adjustment fairly quickly. I believe there are pros and cons to each (in office vs telehealth) and telehealth can increase accessibility for those who are too busy or too far away from the office to make begin therapy otherwise.
However, a big element that I believe has not been totally addressed is that while seeing your provider online may be necessary or increase access to services, it will require you to do some prep work ahead of time in order to continue getting the most out of your sessions.
So if you are trying to adjust to telehealth, here are a few ideas for you to try:
- Set a consistent, private, and comfortable location for yourself. I know this might sound like a no-brainer. However, without a plan it’s easy to get pulled into the craziness of life and end up taking a therapy call from the side of the road (also if this happens occasionally, don’t sweat it – life happens). By planning to take your calls from the same space every week you are setting your nervous system up for regularity and building a routine. This space should allow you to feel safe expressing and engaging with all of your emotions. So take a minute to ask yourself, is the space that I take my office calls the same space I can process my relationship stressors? If you don’t have a lot of flexibility in your location (maybe you only have one space to take your calls at home to keep privacy), think about how you can shift your mindset.
- Plan. Plan. Plan. My clients know that I love when they are actively engaging with the work outside of session. This includes coming to session with a general plan of what they want to talk about. If you are preparing yourself for therapy intentionally, you are inherently going to get more out of the process. Here are some questions/prompts to help you decide what to bring to session if you need a few ideas:
- What trigger are you processing this week?
- If you’re reading a book, what are you connecting with? What do you agree/disagree with?
- How are you feeling about the therapeutic process? How are your littles feeling?
- What are you hesitant/feeling ashamed to ask about?
- Set “the mood” with comfort items such as a candle, comfortable seating, and/or a fidget toy. Finally, take a moment to picture your ideal therapy office. What does it feel like? What is the lighting like? Now how are you able to bring those elements into your telehealth sessions? Bringing items such as a comfortable blanket, fidget toys, and/or a candle can help your mind to switch into therapy mode. These items bring comfort and signal to your brain that you are safe and able to process your emotions. You can tap into this experience anywhere you are.
The more that you imbue meaning and intentionality into you therapeutic process, the more you will receive from the process. While an office can offer some advantages, it doesn’t hold a candle to our collective creativity and ingenuity. As we continue to evolve with the coming challenges I encourage you to look to your strengths as you decide how you will honor yourself in the process.