Online therapy is very different than an in-person session. Here are some tips that can help you adapt better.
The coronavirus outbreak has created a complex landscape for mental health and wellness. People are stressed out due to the virus, financial uncertainties, communities in crisis and more. There’s also the fact that, since we’re spending most of our time indoors, there’s plenty of time to think about the long list of problems that are plaguing us.
While online therapy is better than no therapy, there’s a learning curve for everyone involved, from patients to therapists. Here are 5 things you can do to make the most of your therapy right now:
Change anything that’s bothering you about the new set up
There’s a long list of things that make teletherapy less effective than real-life therapy, like poor wi-fi or awkwardness over having to see your face at the bottom of your screen as you’re confessing your deepest and darkest feelings.
Therapy relies on body language, physical cues and open and vulnerable conversation. A lot of that is lost once you decide to cross over to teletherapy. Still, you should be as flexible as possible and work with the problem. If your room is messy and you don’t feel like having therapy there, be sure to clean up your space before your session and put yourself in a comfortable position.
Make sure your internet connection is working, add a video background, or anything else that will help ease you into this new virtual setup. If you have roommates and feel like the walls are too thin, try having your session while going on a walk or in your garage.
Don’t be ashamed of what’s stressing you out
The pandemic is a strange time for stress. It may feel like you’re being selfish when you’re worried about toilet paper while others are losing their jobs and lives. But all of your feelings are valid, especially in therapy. It’s important for you to discuss them and address them — hopefully with a therapist that makes you feel like you’re being heard. When you address your feelings you’re much more likely to be in a better mental state.
Discuss your biggest pandemic fears
Is the pandemic keeping you up at night? Now that we’re living in timeless times, when there’s no everyday occurrences that can provide padding for your therapy sessions, it might be a good time to discuss these scenarios with a professional. Discussing these fears and acknowledging them alongside an expert will validate your emotions and make you feel safe, removing the fear of the unknown.
Name your feelings and emotions
With teletherapy, you might need to work harder in verbalizing your emotions and feelings in an attempt to help your therapist deliver the best results. Therapists are experts and decipher your feelings through your facial expressions and eye contact. It may be more taxing to try to name these feelings yourself, but it’s a good long term exercise that will leave you better equipped to handle problems and your own emotions.
Know that it takes time to adapt
When in between sessions, try journaling, writing down possible conversation topics and memories that could work for your therapy. These moments can serve as conversation starters and can help you feel more prepared and less awkward over your virtual therapy session.