The advent and progress of Covid-19 has brought with it a dramatic shift toward Telehealth services throughout the medical industry, just as online internet usage has changed drastically throughout many other industries. This change is particularly challenging in therapy because so much of the work takes place as a consequence of the relationship between the therapist and client.
Let’s take a look at some common questions many clients have about Online Video Counseling or “Teletherapy”.
My therapist is only doing Teletherapy, now what?
- Most states require that therapists have a conversation with their Telehealth clients about the limitations of Teletherapy. This is a perfect opportunity to clarify with your therapist how Teletherapy will work and any concerns you have about it. Many therapists take this opportunity to craft safety plans with their clients in case of an emergency. Rarely is it that we can prepare perfectly for life’s changes and much of this will necessitate an ongoing, periodic conversation between client and therapist in order to clarify, process, and – yes – also capitalize on the differences between an in-person session and Teletherapy.
Write down all questions or concerns you have about using Teletherapy before you contact the therapist. Your therapist will usually have a portal that they use and will give you instructions. Inquire with the therapist about the portal being HIPAA Compliant. Most insurers cover Phone and/or Online Video Counseling. If you have any questions about what your insurance plan covers, contact your insurer to inquire.
What am I missing by not going to my therapist’s office?
- Our environment influences how we think, feel, and behave. For example, our churches are designed in specific ways to facilitate an awareness of God’s presence. A therapy office wants to generate a safe, engaging environment so that a client can easily express their innermost thoughts and feelings. Ever since Freud placed his chair behind his client’s couch, therapists have fretted over the finer details of their office so that the environment elicits calm feelings and allows the client to more easily facilitate their free flow of thoughts. Many therapists using Online Video Teletherapy extend the same concern over their “background” on screen, but how can a client use their own environment to enhance their Teletherapy session?
Being aware of environmental cues is often more difficult for clients. Think of how you prepare for an in-office session: Do you dress a certain way? Do you take time in the waiting room to reflect? Does your therapist have candles or particular images in the lobby that help you? If it is not part of your session, you might say a prayer beforehand. Any of these considerations can be helpful in facilitating the kind of reflection and insight that characterizes most therapy. The most important aspect is to have a comfortable place for your Teletherapy sessions with as much privacy as possible.
Should I prepare differently for Teletherapy?
- Not necessarily. Again, this is a good time to talk to your therapist. Some changes might have to be made on account of the different online setting in which your therapy is now taking place. Just as we might need to address our environment so that it is less distracting and better disposes us to focus on the session, so too we might need to make a plan for the session or attend to it differently than an in-person office visit.
With so much of our work, social lives, and family communication now taking place through the medium of screens, it can be difficult to prepare ourselves for therapy the way we did in the therapist’s waiting room. Taking some time beforehand to jot down important points or questions to cover can be a good way to utilize the session efficiently. Many people find it easier to take notes when they are at their desk or table during a Teletherapy session then they did on their therapist’s couch during an office visit. This can also help with remembering any homework your therapist recommends.
Are there any benefits from doing therapy from home?
- YES! Many clients and therapists have reported greater satisfaction in having sessions by Telehealth. Some clients prefer the comfort of their home for digging deep, others feel safer expressing heavy emotions when the screen is between them and the therapist. Other clients enjoy the greater flexibility offered by many therapists via Telehealth. Telehealth also cuts down on commute times or taking time away from other commitments. What is more, many studies have shown that in most instances Teletherapy is just as effective, and even sometimes more effective than in-person sessions.
Not all of this advice is unique to Teletherapy. Some of the points are simply good reminders about how to prepare for a therapy session of any kind. One of the hardest parts of any transition is knowing what to maintain and what to change.
Remember, the therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist is essential to the successful outcome of therapy. Working with a Catholic therapist by Teletherapy can make a huge difference in your healing. Engaging a Catholic therapist whose philosophical views, understanding of and reverence for the dignity of the human person is based on the wisdom of the magisterium and traditions of the Catholic faith further increases your chances of success with a greater likelihood of finding deeper peace, more fulfilling relationships, and lasting contentment.
CatholicTherapists.com has Catholic therapists available to provide counseling in the safety of your own home by either Phone or Online Video Counseling ("Telehealth"). You can search for a Catholic therapist on our website offering Phone and/or Teletherap: HERE
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