In recent times, the landscape of mental health care has seen a dynamic shift towards telehealth counseling sessions. As technology continues to reshape the way we interact and seek support, online therapy has emerged as a convenient and effective alternative for many. Embracing the virtual realm, telehealth counseling offers a gateway to professional mental health support from the comfort of your own space. In this blog, we’ll explore the myriad benefits and essential strategies to ensure you make the most out of your online therapy sessions, empowering you to navigate this innovative approach to mental well-being and get the best possible support for your needs.
There are many reasons why people choose telehealth therapy: Avoiding traffic, chronic illness, staying safe during a pandemic (cough, COVID-19, cough), time, convenience, wanting to see a therapist in a different city… All wonderful and valid reasons! And, while meeting with a therapist virtually may feel a bit different than a face-to-face session, there are some surefire ways to get the most out of your session.
How to prepare for your telehealth counseling session
- Ensure Privacy
This can be hard if you live in a small space or have kids, partners, housemates, parents, or family around. One major way to ensure privacy is to communicate with the people you share space with. Let them know that you’ll be in an appointment and can’t be disturbed. If they need reminding, you might want to tape a piece of paper to the door reminding them to respect your space. If you have young children, consider exploring whether another caregiver can look after them during the session time. If you’re the sole caregiver, you might look into finding a therapist who offers late sessions so you can meet after the kids are asleep. If you can (and if it’s safe!), lock the door. For additional privacy, wear headphones. If you are unable to have privacy in your home, consider taking the session from your parked car.
- Check WiFi Connection
This one is simple but important! Before each session, make sure your WiFi connection is up and running. With telehealth, there is always the possibility of some technical issues (it happens!), but we can do our best to mitigate that by testing Internet speed prior to logging on.
- Make Your Space Special
Remember that this therapy session is time you’re using to care for yourself. With virtual telehealth sessions, it can be easy to get distracted by life and for the session to feel like one more “to do” in the day. Do your best to make yourself and your space feel comfortable and lovely. This might mean wearing comfortable clothes, making a hot mug of tea, lighting a candle, or keeping tissues handy. By spending a few minutes readying your space, you will likely feel more settled in for the work you’re about to do with your therapist.
- Ground and Prepare
Before your session, take a minute or two to tune into yourself. How are you feeling? What are you needing from your session today? If there are any things that you didn’t get to process in your previous session or questions you have for your therapist, write them down. Taking a couple of moments to slow down, ground yourself, and tune in is going to help you make the most of the session time you have.
- Consolidate and Process
After your session, spend 5-10 minutes consolidating what you’re taking away from the session. This could mean journaling about how you’re feeling, taking note of your “a-ha” moments, writing down the homework you’re going to focus on, or jotting the topics you want to start with next session. Then, put the journal somewhere safe, take a breath, and transition back into your life.
Look at that! You are all set to go for your telehealth counseling session. If you’re having any questions, concerns, or struggles with telehealth counseling, remember that you can always reach out to your therapist to explore and process more deeply. You are also welcome to reach out to our Estes Therapy team if you’re in California and interested in scheduling a telehealth session. We’re here for you.
*Note: You must be in California to receive virtual counseling services from Estes Therapy.