Demand for Online counselling and therapy increased significantly at the start of the pandemic. Initially, social distancing measures meant all face to face therapy moved online out of necessity but while counselling and therapy was soon deemed essential services, the prevalence of Online Therapy remained due to its safety, accessibility and convenience.
Covid19 has created or exacerbated mental health issues for a large number of people. Many have experienced higher levels of anxiety and stress. Limitations around social contact have led to loneliness, isolation and depression. Working from home, while eliminating tiresome commuting, has blurred the boundaries between work and personal life and the intensity of working and living in the same, often restricted physical space has created relationship difficulties for couples and families.
All of this has led to increased demand for mental health support and for those needing professional help Online Therapy can be a lifeline, either as a preferred method of therapy or as a supplement, for convenience or accessibility, to Face to Face therapy.
The pandemic has altered how we live our lives and we have quickly grown accustomed to the migration of many aspects of our lives online and counselling and therapy is no exception. While initially online counselling and therapy can seem less intimate than traditional face to face therapy, the relationship and communication between client and therapist remains the key focus of the therapy and the platform very much becomes a secondary aspect. Online therapy can also facilitate disclosure due to a sense of anonymity and it can also feel like a safe way to put a ‘toe in the water’ for those who may previously have shied away from therapy.
If you are considering online counselling it’s useful to think about how you can optimise this opportunity for yourself:
Here are some tips to get the most from your Online Therapy Sessions:
- Find a place in your home which will give you as much privacy as possible. If you live in a shared space, and most do, this might involve asking others in your household to use this opportunity to go out for a walk or do an errand, simply not interrupt you, or perhaps give you some space by playing some music in the rest of the house so you are not at risk of being overheard.
- Make sure that you are sitting somewhere you will be comfortable for the duration of your session.
- Set your video or phone screen up on a stable surface so you can see your therapist and vice versa. This doesn’t require fancy technology, just prop your phone or laptop on something that will allow you to relax and concentrate on the interaction between you and your therapist.
- Close down any emails, programs, notifications or pop ups which might distract you during your Online therapy session.
- Check whatever technology you intend to use is working and make sure you have a stable internet connection.
- It is worth considering using earphones or earbuds to shut out any background noise and eliminate any feedback from your Therapist’s microphone.
- Have a backup plan with your Therapist in case there is a technology problem during your session. A rupture or abrupt end to your session could be unsettling so a plan to continue by phone as an alternative for example can avoid this.
- Prioritise your online therapy session. This is your time to talk through whatever may be troubling you so make sure you give yourself the support and time you need.
Online Therapy sessions can be a powerful tool and a valuable source of psychological support during a difficult time so don’t hesitate to reach for it to support your mental wellbeing.