How to Get the Most Out of Your Teletherapy Session

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Many people may participate in telebehavioral health for the first time during COVID-19. While online counseling may be unfamiliar to you, with the right preparation, it can feel very much like the traditional, in-person therapeutic experience.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your teletherapy session.

Before Your Teletherapy Session

One of the advantages of in-person therapy is that you are removed from distractions. To replicate that experience at home, try these tips:

  • Make sure you find a quiet space in your home.
  • Consider going to a space that you don’t frequent often. For example, if you are in your home office all day, consider sitting in your car for your appointment.
  • If you live with others, make them aware that you will be unavailable during your session. You may even want to put a sign on your door to let them know you can’t be disturbed.
  • Get dressed as you would if you were going to treatment in the office.

In addition, make sure your technology doesn’t hinder your experience. Consider testing before your telehealth session begins.

  • You want to have a strong internet connection. Some internet providers are offering free services during COVID-19.
  • If you are teleconferencing, make sure it’s in a spot where you get good reception.
  • Use headphones to improve sound quality.
  • Be prepared to answer your phone at the time of your appointment. It may come from an unfamiliar or private number.
  • If video conferencing, log on a few minutes early so you’re ready to start on time.

What to Bring With You

Many behavioral health counselors will encourage clients to journal or write down their thoughts and observations in between appointments. Don’t assume you’ll remember everything that you want to discuss. Write down issues to address, changes in symptoms, questions, priorities, etc. Have that list next to you for each telehealth session.

In addition to any notes, think about things you might need during the session to avoid interruptions, like water, pen and paper, and a backup pair of headphones.

During Your Session

If this is your first session, discuss your goals with your therapist. If you moved from in-person therapy to teletherapy, tell your counselor about what you liked about your previous visits. That way, you can work together to replicate that experience as much as possible.

During your session, make eye contact if you are video conferencing. You may also need to talk slower than you would in person. Speak clearly and check in to make sure you are being heard and understood.

In addition, stay focused on your therapy session and avoid doing other tasks like laundry or checking emails. Again, you want to replicate the in-person experience as much as possible.

When your session has ended, review your notes and action items. Jot down anything you might’ve forgotten to write down. This will help to ensure your next teletherapy session is just as productive.

Be patient. It may take a few sessions for you to feel comfortable. With the right preparation and commitment, online therapy can be just as effective and enjoyable as in-person therapy.

Telebehavioral health services allow those with substance use or mental health disorders to receive treatment from the comfort and convenience of their home. Learn more about teletherapy and how you can start with Pyramid Healthcare.

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