Get your frequently asked questions about virtual therapy sessions answered and some pro-tips to increase your privacy and experience.
Virtual therapy can be convenient, effective, and confidential. Being able to engage in therapy from an accessible place can help you stay consistent with your sessions and enables you to select a space that feels safe and comfortable for you.
In this post I will share a few tips on how to set yourself up for a private and engaging virtual therapy session.
Selecting your personal, confidential therapy space.
The first two things to consider when selecting a space are, does the door lock? And, who has access to the space whether it's locked or not? If there are folks that will be around during your session or have access to the space and if you feel comfortable, it is suggested that you have a conversation with them about not entering the room during that time and respecting your privacy. Consider whether the person seemed receptive and agreeable before choosing the location. If you have any privacy related concerns, please consider bringing them to your next session.
For parents and caregivers: Childcare can be expensive and difficult to obtain. If you need to have your child with you during a therapy session, immediately and directly address this with your therapist to start a conversation. Therapy is a time for yourself and having children or others present during the session can be a distraction.
The next thing to consider in selecting your therapy space is, can someone hear the conversation outside the room? If so, consider purchasing a sound or white noise machine. You can also use a fan or other form of background noise. These devices to obscure sound would preferably be placed outside the door of the room you’re in. It is also strongly encouraged that you to use headphones for your sessions. This not only increases your privacy by not allowing others to hear what your therapist is saying, but also makes for a better quality sound experience during the session.
If you are having a hard time finding a confidential place to conduct your sessions, here are some suggestions of alternative spaces folks have used in the past: laundry room, walk-closet, basement, attic, a parked car in a safe private spot. Private does not necessarily mean secluded. Please ensure you are in a safe location. These are not always ideal but can be considered if there is not another available space. Please, be sure to make the space comfortable for you, wherever that may be.
Setting up for your session.
Virtual therapy is most effective when the audio and visuals are working well so the communication is seamless. From a visual perspective, a laptop, desktop computer or large tablet are ideal. The larger the screen the better. If you are using a tablet or phone, find a stable place to prop up the device so that you are not holding it and that the image is steady.
Regardless of the device you are using, try to set it up so that the camera is about level with your eyes. Books or other objects can be helpful in propping up your device or monitor. So much of communication is non-verbal, as such be sure your space is well lit so that I can see you.
To have the best connection possible, before each session it is highly recommended that you close all unnecessary web browsers or programs that may slow your internet connection. This includes any programs that may run in the background. It is also advantageous to have as few devices using the internet connection as possible during your session. Also, keep in mind that the closer you are to your WiFi router the better your connection; you can also consider plugging your computer directly into the router.
Finally, plug your device into a power supply to limit distractions in the event your device’s battery dies in the session.
Pre-session check list.
This is a little pre-session check list for you to complete before each session!
Close the door and turn on a noise obstruction device, if needed
Quit all unnecessary web browsers and programs
Disconnect devices that are not in use from the internet
Put on headphones
Plug in your device
Privacy is an integral component of therapy and should be a part of on-going discussion with your therapist.
I hope this information improves the quality of your therapy sessions and maximizes the positive impact virtual therapy can have on your mental health and well-being in a convenient and accessible way. Be well, Meghan Morley, LPC Owner & Licensed Professional Counselor Cognitive Pursuits LLC