How to Get the Most Out of Online Therapy

 
 
 
 
 

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.  

 

"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

 

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.

 

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.​