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Most Hollywood movies paint therapy as an easy, fun-filled process that delivers instant results. But that isn’t quite true. Sharing your mental and emotional challenges with someone else can be a daunting task. And having to do so via virtual platforms can make therapy even more challenging.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, online therapy is now extremely common. You need to be able to share your fears and worries with someone who truly understands you and can also guide you on how to successfully thrive during these challenging times.

Here are 7 ways to ensure a smooth (or not-so-rocky) transition into online therapy and a very effective overall experience.

1. Choose a Style or Format That Works Best For You

Online counseling comes in various formats; audio-visual sessions over a webcam or phone calls.

If you prefer a bit of flexibility in your therapy sessions, some platforms offer a combination of audio and video sessions. So, you can engage in a video call with your therapist today, and another day, have a full session over the phone.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Examine your daily schedule, and more importantly, your preferences to help you select the most suitable online therapy option.

2. Be Intentional – Prepare!

When you walk into your counselor’s office, chances are you have a list of questions or issues you want to discuss. You hope to have gained clearer insight or understanding when the session comes to a close. That same mental preparation you put into a physical meeting is also required for online therapy.

Write down your concerns and worries. Think about how you want the session to go and what you want to focus on. Prepare yourself mentally to get the best results.

3. The Right Space, the Right Time

Therapy is hard work. To be effective, it requires your full concentration. Enclosed in your therapist’s office, you are faced with little or no distractions.

With online therapy, there is always the possibility of being distracted either by your kids, your partner, or a roommate.

To get the most out of each therapy session, set aside a space in your home where there will be virtually no interruptions and where you can maximize privacy.

Don’t try to slot your counseling time in between your house chores or while you’re on the way to work. Therapy is a personal time requiring quiet ambiance and deep thinking.

4. Yes, It Might Be Awkward at First

For some, online therapy works like a charm. If you don’t fall into that category, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Just as with entering a new environment or trying something new, there will be difficulties and challenges. A bit of awkwardness is also understandable. Rather than shy away from it, prepare yourself mentally to expect it. Understand that it’s okay to feel awkward during the first couple of online meetings.

You can also bring it up during the session, so you both can talk about it and find a way to work through it.

Remember that patience and consistency are the pillars of effective therapy. So, keep at it.

5. Say It As It Is

One of the biggest downsides of online therapy is the loss of observational skills. Face-to-face with your counselor, you don’t have to say anything about your inner turmoil. Your body cues speak for you.

On a webcam or telephone, the ability to read non-verbal body language is lost.

To ensure your counselor understands exactly how you’re feeling, you have to say exactly how you’re feeling- be specific.

6. Be Creative

The beauty of teletherapy is the opportunity it provides for you to be creative with your counseling sessions. Rather than the standard format of couch- or chair-therapy, you can decorate your chosen space with soothing sounds and scents for a more impactful experience.

If your pets keep you grounded, you can also cuddle them during counseling and have them say hi to your therapist. It brings a touch of personality and comfort. You’ll also find it much easier to really talk about your feelings.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Feedback

If you have yet to ‘click’ with your counselor after several online sessions, find the platform difficult to use, or notice your counselor struggles with the platform as well, do not suffer in silence or assume the online therapy concept just doesn’t work for you.

It is important that you speak up. Tell your therapist when your expectations and needs are not being met. By having an open, honest discussion, you both could come up with ideas to make the sessions more personal and effective. If you can’t, understand that it is okay to part ways.

As mentioned earlier, the choice is always yours. Adjusting to online therapy can take a while. But these 7 tips will guide you on how to make the most of your teletherapy sessions.

Start Online Therapy in Baltimore, MD

Part of life is adapting to the inevitable changes and challenges.  Thus, with COVID-19, the therapy world has also had to adapt to the current times through online therapyOur therapists are available to assist you to grow with the changes of life and any challenges you may be facing.

Other Services at New Connections Counseling Center in Baltimore, MD

At New Connections, we recognize that other issues also come into play when dealing with the seasons of life, which is why we offer, anxiety counseling, depression treatment, and therapy for sexual assault survivors.  We provide counseling for relationship issues and alcohol abuse treatment as well.  Contact New Connections Counseling Center to discuss our other services.

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About the Author:

Cathy Sullivan-Windt

Psychologist (Ph.D.) & Owner

Cathy is a licensed counseling psychologist with almost 20 years of experience. She specializes in women’s counseling, anxiety treatment, sexual assault recovery, life transitions, and relationship issues.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature, traveling, reading, and being with her family and friends.

Read More About Cathy

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