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How to Get the Most Out of Online Therapy

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These days, I conduct therapy primarily online, and occasionally in an office (if the client is interested in meeting there).   Our online work can be just as impactful as in-person therapy, and tiny adjustments to our schedules, physical spaces, and technology all add up to create a comfy, private, and connected experience.  


Tip #1: "Pause" Before and After the Session

The first few minutes before and after sessions are precious and best spent being gentle to ourselves.  Try to take a pause between therapy and screen time. During the pause, any of the following activities can allow you to fully absorb the benefits of therapy:

  • Resting in a chair and sipping a soothing beverage

  • Journaling

  • Repeating a motivational phrase

  • Taking a short walk


Tip #2: Set Up Your Space to be Cozy, Private, and Dedicated to Therapy

To increase the physical comfort of your therapy space, consider bringing any of these materials into it:

  • Soft and cuddly things (e.g., blankets, pillows, and even pets who don’t distract us)

  • Other comforting tactile objects (e.g., fidget toys and stress balls)

  • A soothing or refreshing (non-alcoholic) beverage to drink 

  • Relaxing lights

  • Soothing scents (from essential oils, candles, lotion, etc.)

To increase your privacy, consider using these: 

  • Earbuds or headphones for listening 

  • Fans or white noise machines (placed just outside of our rooms)

Also, many people like to have a dedicated therapy notebook that they bring with them to sessions.


Tip #3: Reduce Distractions and Increase our Connectedness to Each Other


Before (or at the beginning of) the session:

  • Turn off notifications on your device(s).

  • Ensure your phone is nearby (and charged, in case the internet becomes faulty and we need to switch to a phone session).

  • Ensure that your Internet connection is stable.

  • Position your device so that the video screen will be around eye-level.

    • ​​ This helps us focus, feel more connected to one another, and reduce strain on our eyes, necks, and backs.​

  • Ensure you know how to use the main features of the video-conferencing platform.

At the beginning of the session:

  • Check your “Self View” to ensure the other person can see you clearly, and then shift your focus back to them.

During the session:

  • Unless it’s helpful for a specific therapy technique, try not to focus on your own video.  

  • Please note, you don’t have to maintain eye contact throughout the session.  You can take time to gaze at your surroundings and reflect.​

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