Successful telehealth therapyThe onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the widespread adoption of remote work, and with it, remote therapy. ‘Telehealth’ or “teletherapy” offers many advantages, but conducting therapy virtually brings its share of challenges. Here are some tips for successful telehealth therapy.

  1. Prioritize confidentiality and privacy.

    In-person therapy provides confidentiality and privacy with sessions conducted in a professional therapy setting. With virtual therapy, it’s up to you as the client to ensure you are conducting sessions from a private space. This can be tricky if you share your living space with others, so it may require some creativity and boundary setting. Explain matters to your roommates or partners; see if they would be open to running errands, listening to music, or watching TV during your sessions. Or consider investing in an inexpensive noise machine or fan to place outside your door.

    Some clients use walk-in closets or parked cars as locations for their telephone sessions. Although remote therapy does offer flexibility about where you can conduct sessions, you should avoid taking Telehealth calls from public places, while running errands, or when traveling. Such multitasking impairs your ability to be present during the session and can compromise confidentiality. Prioritize safety and comfort when choosing your location for Telehealth, and do not be afraid to openly communicate with others to ensure privacy.

  2. Successful telehealth therapyBe deliberate about your physical space.

    As well as providing confidentiality and privacy, in-person therapy is conducted in a space designed for therapeutic work. This is not the case with Telehealth. Your physical space is not tailored for the purposes of therapy. On the contrary, in the age of COVID, our homes have become the ultimate all-purpose space, particularly for those in small apartments.

    While it may be a challenge, do your best to take therapy calls from a location that is distinct from your workspace. This can signal to your mind and body that you are switching out of “work mode.”  This may be limited to switching sides of your table or desk or shifting to a more comfortable chair, but even small changes in your physical environment can help you mentally transition.

    Use sensory tactics like a fresh glass of cold water as a valuable reset. They can help signal that you are switching into the therapeutic hour. Consider lighting a candle, preparing a hot drink, or wrapping yourself in a comfortable blanket before the session as part of creating a relaxing and comfortable space for therapy.

  3. Take time to get in the right headspace for therapy.

    For many working professionals, Telehealth has made it more tempting than ever to squeeze a therapy session into an already packed schedule, shoehorning the appointment between work meetings or to-do list items. Traveling to a physical office for therapy provides time to mentally prepare for the session. In contrast, preparing for Telehealth may be as simple as opening a new tab on your screen seconds before the session begins. Try to allow at least 10-15 minutes before your therapy session to fully step away from your day-to-day tasks.

    Instead of working right up to the time you launch your call, try spending some time mindfully engaging in activities that will help you settle into your session. This could include a brief guided meditation, updating a journal, or taking a quick walk around your block. Silence your work chat and email notifications and put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’. This will not only help avoid distractions but will also help attune you to the session. Depending on your profession and responsibilities this may be a challenge, but committing to fully showing up for your therapy will help you make the most of your sessions. “When you are in the room, be in the room”


  4. Preemptively address any technology concerns.

    It may seem obvious, but ensuring you have a stable network connection, working headphones (to ensure privacy), and fully charged devices, will help avoid interruptions by technical difficulties. If conducting Telehealth through video sessions, consider minimizing your own video preview on the call platform. Many people are distracted or embarrassed by their own video preview, and this impairs your ability to be fully present, authentic, and vulnerable during your session.


  5. Prioritize containment and decompression after the session.

    Therapy can be emotional and draining, and transitioning from this headspace can be a challenge. In-person therapy offers the advantage of a specific physical space you enter and exit. It creates a space in which you can “contain” the content you’ve discussed until you return for your next session. It is important to develop your own strategies for transitioning from this mental space when you’re engaging with virtual therapy. Similar to the preparation before therapy, it’s important to set aside time to decompress afterward. Breathing techniques, journaling, meditation, or simply a well-deserved nap will all help you transition to the rest of your day!

    Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation or to book an appointment.