With a steady rise of demand from the public, more and more practitioners are starting to offer counselling services online. For a client, this can be a really great option, especially if there are mobility issues, time restrictions or great distances that are in the way of in-person meetings. I am one of many therapists who does offer video sessions and genuinely believe that when appropriate*, this service can be a fantastic and accessible option for many seeking support. That being said, it is also important to recognize and evaluate the limitations of this service carefully before committing.
Below, I've listed a few important factors to consider before booking your first video therapy session, that you may find helpful.
1) Online therapy can never be 100% guaranteed to be confidential.
While there are many platforms offering video meetings, no online platform can ever guarantee that there would not be any unforeseen hacking or privacy compromise. Of course, the likelihood is very minimal, but it's always good to do some research on the platform offered before hand to ensure they comply with a certain standard of safety. I prefer zoom.us as it is very easy to use and has great video and quality audio, in addition to advanced security features!
2) It may not always be as effective as in-person meeting.
Depending on the nature of the topics discussed, some clients find it more difficult to experience deep emotional release due to lack of in-person connection between them and the therapist. Sharing physical space can often offer a level of comfort and rapport that may be a difficult (though not impossible) to achieve online. That beings said, it is worth mentioning that many people do find it reassuring to be in the safety of their own home/office when speaking about sensitive subjects and exploring new emotional grounds.
3) You are in charge of your environment.
When you are in a therapists office, you can rely on the fact that the space was designed with your comfort and relaxation in mind. However, for online meetings, it is up to the client to ensure their comfort and privacy during the length of the session. It's important to consider possible interruptions, especially if you are home and not alone. Your seat, the temperature of the room, the lighting and the noise level are all contributing to the level of engagement and focus in session. Therefore, it is important to take the time and consider these various factors to get the most out of your appointment.
Oh yeah, and don't forget to turn that phone off too!
Hopefully, this blog was helpful for getting some clarity and perspective on the topic, but if you are interested in finding out more, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me!
*Disclaimer: Video therapy is not suggested for those who are seeking counselling for trauma or trauma related symptoms due to safety reasons, as triggered responses can vary and be unpredictable.
Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!