Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had no choice but to shift our lives onto a variety of digital platforms. Conference room meetings have moved into virtual meeting rooms. Fitness classes take place over the computer. Family time takes place via FaceTime or video chat. Even game night has gone virtual!

Well, therapy is no different than these other activities. More and more therapists are offering sessions via Telehealth, and studies show that these virtual counseling sessions are just as effective as their in-person counterparts…provided you put good practices into place.

Here are 6 tips to help you get the most out of your online counseling sessions:

1. Find a private space that is comfortable and quiet—somewhere you feel safe. Silence your phone and limit distractions from the outside, including your family, pets, and any loud noises. Set aside an hour of interrupted time, just for yourself.

2. If your therapist recommends having any items on hand, get them ready before you join the session. This may include a pencil and paper, or “homework” from a previous session. Preparing these items in advance of your session will ensure the continuity of your conversation.

3. Make sure your WiFi connection is stable. Close out of any programs running in the background, and ask family members to refrain from high-bandwidth activities while you’re in your therapy session, for example, streaming movies or gaming.

4. Test your technology. Make sure your computer or smartphone’s video and audio are working, and—if possible—download the application that your therapist will be using prior to joining the session.

5. Center yourself in the camera, and look straight at it. This might feel strange, but you’ll discover that, when your therapist does this, it feels as if he or she is looking right at you. Maintaining eye contact is important, and will help you fully engage with your therapist during your virtual session.

6. Pretend you’re talking in-person. Yes, a virtual environment feels different…but try to let go of the fact that you’re on a video chat with your therapist. Eliminate the two-dimensional limitations of technology and imagine you’re in your therapist’s office. If you’re working with a new therapist and can’t visualize their office environment, then pretend instead that you’re chatting with a close friend.

At Alleviant Health Centers of San Diego, we use a 100% HIPAA compliant Telehealth platform to perform virtual counseling sessions. You can rest assured that your online session will be secure—no one but you and your therapist will have access!

Right now, times are challenging—perhaps more challenging that we’ve seen in our lifetimes. People who don’t typically struggle with depression or anxiety are feeling the stress of current events, and those who do struggle with mental health disorders may need more support than ever. Alleviant Health Centers of San Diego offers a wide variety of innovative and integrative health services to alleviate both physical and emotional pain, and help patients reclaim their happiness. Request a free consultation using the brief form below and find out how we can support and enhance your personal journey.

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