Getting the Most Out of Teletherapy – Guidelines and Tips to Make Your Sessions Great

Teletherapy is a great alternative to traditional in-office therapy visits, even more so during times of pandemic and stay-at-home recommendations.

Concerned about privacy or commute times to your therapist’s office? Teletherapy offer great benefits by limiting your exposure to being recognized at the practice by friends or acquaintances and saves you time from commuting to and from your appointments. Plus, teletherapy offers you lots of flexibility in scheduling your appointment times.

To get the most out of your teletherapy sessions, we have put together some guidelines and tips, which we hope you will find helpful.

Prior to Your Session

  1. Make sure that you have completed and signed a telehealth informed consent form located on our website at: https://hipaa.jotform.com/200824630603142.
  2. Do a test of the recommended conferencing software before your session to make sure it will work.
  3. Have a plan in place with your therapist should there be a technology breakdown, like trying to reconnect in 5 minutes. If reconnection is not possible, continue the session via phone.
  4. Have an emergency plan in place, providing your therapist with a local emergency contact to you who can help in a crisis.

During Your Session

  1. Find a place in your home where you will have as much privacy as possible.
  2. Dress appropriately, as though you were going to see the counselor face-to-face. Avoid pajamas or other clothing that may be too revealing or inappropriate.
  3. Sit somewhere that will be comfortable for you for the duration of the session.
  4. Use earbuds for privacy and better sound quality. This will help prevent feedback through either party’s speakers.
  5. Place your screen on a stable surface to avoid excessive movement.
  6. Make sure that your head is positioned toward the top half of the screen and not the bottom half.
  7. To avoid disturbances and distractions, place your phone in Do Not Disturb mode blocking incoming calls. If you are concerned about forgetting to restore your phone settings, use an app like Do Not Disturb, which will restore your settings after a specified amount of time, say one hour.

To Get the Most Out of Your Session

  • You may have questions prior to your session about privacy, videoconferencing software use, the risks and benefits of teletherapy, or what to do in an emergency. Check in with your therapist regarding these topics to make sure that you both are on the same page.
  • Write down prior to your session what would be important for you and your therapist to address. Focus on one or two areas. This will give your session clear direction and help it to be a productive session.
  • Give some thought to what you hope to achieve. The more specific you can be about your concerns and what you would like to see happen by the end of the appointment, the better. By expressing these ideas at the beginning of the session, you and your therapist can move quickly to clarify your goals and focus areas.
  • Consider jotting down some notes. You may not be able to remember every detail of a session, especially if you have a meaningful insight or the therapist makes a great point. By writing these points down in a notebook, you will give yourself the opportunity to benefit in the future from these key ideas.
  • Plan for homework. Much of what is beneficial about therapy happens through the work you do after the session. You and your therapist should consider what will be good for you to work on before your next appointment.

To get a downloadable copy of our guidelines and tips, please click here.