Guidelines for online therapy Guidelines for online therapy

Guidelines for online therapy

Sinead Sinead

These guidelines are not meant to replace any training your therapist might have had for online therapy. They are a natural complement.

1. Set the frame

Remember to check the following:

  • Light can really affect the quality of video. Natural light is better than electric light, so place your computer next to a window, if you can. You can also try to use several lights.
  • Make sure you're aware of everything visible in your camera's viewport and you're comfortable with what your therapist can see.
  • Remember framing. Make sure your eyes are roughly one third of the way down the screen. This ensures that you're well-centred in your picture.
  • Hold the session in a space where you can't be overheard or interrupted. Same goes for the virtual space you inhabit - turn notifications and other apps. 
  • Make sure you can hear and see your therapist, and they, you. If they need to move their camera so you can see them better or use headphones for better sound quality, it's better that you settle this at the start of the session, rather than later.

2. Check connectivity

Online therapy relies on having a good connection. Your therapist will make a judgement call about the connection and troubleshot or reschedule the session if there are any problems.

  • Whatever channel (Unmind calls, Zoom, etc.) you use for your session, make sure you have a second channel as fallback. You will have agreed this with your therapist at the beginning of your relationship. Check the session details before you start and make sure you have these details. 
  • Know basic troubleshooting. If the connection is choppy, delayed or just bad, stop the session and dedicate a few minutes to troubleshooting.

3. Acknowledge the medium

Don't try to pretend that you're in a therapy room. The space and the medium matter - don't fight them - use them.

  • Practice technological self-care. As with all tools, technology has drawback and advantages. It's up to you to practice self-care in a way that takes into account the technology. Make sure you take regular and appropriate breaks.
  • Engineer your sessions. Do you have better sessions when you are at home, in your room, or when you are at work, in a conference room? Is it better when you prepare the session by setting up your environment? Pay attention to these details, watch out for opportunities to make the most of your session. It's okay to talk about these things. It's okay to talk to your therapist about the kind of space the two of you are creating for your sessions.

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with us here.

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