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So you've signed up for online counselling, and its going well so far. Or perhaps you're getting ready for your first session. What can you do to make your sessions feel productive and high quality on your end ? There are basics of a good online therapy session you probably already know:
be on time
check all technology is working in advance and is charged
ensure you have privacy
turn off alerts and close other windows
wear comfortable clothes
have tissues and water nearby.
But what else you can do to maximise your therapy sessions?
1. Build in preparation time before your session.
Being on time for your therapy session is one thing. But being ready for it is even better. This doesn't mean you should know exactly what you're going to discuss, or you should prepare notes for your session ( although those are definitely welcome). But it does mean you should be ready to have your appointment, and not be getting your space ready while on the call, or be just getting in the door from somewhere else when your counsellor calls. Being at your computer or phone 10 minutes before your session will help you settle down, feel more calm and be fully present to engage in your session.
2. Ensure Privacy
You might be having your sessions whilst other people are in the house. This can mean you might hold back or not get the most out of your session if you're worried about others overhearing you. Consider talking to others in the house to see if your sessions can coincide when they are out of the house or doing other activities which would hold their attention while you talk. Maybe even consider giving them earphones if your really concerned about privacy. If it’s your children playing in the other room, it might be the one time a week to relax your TV rules and sit them in front of a movie.
3. Speak up if your therapist needs to reframe.
If your therapist has moved and fallen out of frame on your video call or if the lighting is really bad and you cant see their face very well please don’t feel you can’t say something. You are, after all, paying for the experience. Also speak up if their volume needs adjusting. Let your counsellor know if there's any issues with volume or visibility and they will be happy to adjust for you!
4. Don't use your phone if you can help it.
Anchor your phone against something if you must use it. This is a therapy session, not a casual chat. Not only will holding your phone in your hand mean you are distracted, it’s not fair for a therapist to have to deal with the movement a handheld phone entails, it often causes dizziness and headaches for your therapist looking at a shaking phone for an hour ! Use a larger screen if you have one. It’s more intimate, and clearer for you.
5. If something happens in your house on the call, be honest.
Kids fighting? Someone at the door? Dog knocked over something valuable? Really need the loo? Let your counsellor know. Its better to address the issue, than hide it and continue to stress about it so you don't get anything from your session.
6. Know how to use a personal hotspot as a WIFI backup.
If you don’t know how to ‘tether’ your mainframe computer or laptop to your phone’s internet, now is the time to learn. This means that if by bad luck your WIFI goes down, you can quickly get back to your therapist and finish your session.
Not yet in therapy and time to get started? Book a session here and get started with an experienced online therapist.