Bringing Therapy Online
In this time of community lockdown, homebound families and individuals continue to struggle with mental health and difficult relationships. The isolation resulting from not seeing friends and family due to this time of social distancing may be very difficult for some who lean on their outside connections to keep themselves feeling happy and healthy. Especially for those whose home life is one of the main sources of strife in their daily life, this can be a time of pain and desperation.
We’ve discussed strategies for coping well within the home over this extended lockdown period here, but now I want to take the time to discuss the effectiveness of bringing therapy online. Now is the time to reach out and access help online when you are feeling trapped and overwhelmed within the home.
As we are all adjusting to this “new normal”, I have found great value in meeting my clients “face-to-face” through online video sessions. Despite not being in the room together, there is a real sense of “togetherness”, as we continue to build our therapeutic relationship online. This applies to old and new clients alike. The following are some important elements to consider when accessing online therapy:
Importance of a Secure Platform
When we meet in person in my office, your confidentiality is one of my top priorities. How do we extend this to online therapy? It is important to use a secure platform that does not open us up to the risk of unwanted information leakage. I will send you an email invitation to download the free secure software in time for your appointment.
Find a Quiet, Safe Place to Talk
Just as important as technological aspects, is the security of your own environment at home. Ensure that you are in a space where you feel comfortable to share freely, just as you would in a quiet therapist’s office where your confidentiality is assumed and expected. If this is not possible, find a place outside in the backyard, or in your car, where you can talk freely. This is a time to be creative in order to access help.
Have a Plan
At the start of the call, create a backup plan for if the call drops, and a plan for intervening in the case of a crisis. As with all technology, there are times when it fails us. In this case we will pick up a phone call or even try a different platform to reconnect the call. Although this sometimes interferes with a sensitive moment in therapy, it is one of the times when patience is required as we do our best with the tools we have. It is also important for me to have an emergency contact for you in the case of a crisis, when we are not in the same location for me to access the right help for you.
Be Honest About if This is Working for You
Be honest with me about how this is working for you. I continue to receive positive feedback about video sessions, and there is a sense that we are truly able to connect through this online resource. Research (1) indicates that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy, especially for treatment of anxiety and depression. However, it is important to be honest about any particular struggles you may have with the model and any limitations you experience.
I look forward to meeting new clients online and working together to make the most of our current circumstances! It will mean meeting in person will be all the sweeter.
See you online!
(1) Andrews et al. (2018). Computer therapy for the anxiety and depression disorders is effective, acceptable and practical health care: An updated meta-analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2018.01.001