Online therapy is a great solution for anyone who is looking to get some help with their mental health — especially for those of us who may not be quite ready to engage with a therapist or other professionals in person.
Now, online therapy can be a great tool for people who already have a relationship with a therapist as well as individuals who have never been to therapy. If you are looking to move your therapy sessions online it will likely take some adjustments for both you and your therapist. If you are new to therapy, online therapy can be a great option because it allows you to get the benefits of meeting with a therapist but in the comfort and familiarity of your own home.
Finding a Therapist
If you do not already have a therapist — or if you are needing to find a new therapist who can meet with you online — you may have an extra few steps when it comes to preparing for your first online therapy session.
Do Your Research
If you have never had a therapist before, you will want to do some research into different therapists as well as online therapy platforms. Remember, therapy is supposed to be a safe space where you feel comfortable sharing information about yourself and it is completely acceptable if you meet with a therapist but decide that they are not the right fit for you.
Look for a Licensed Provider
The term “therapist” is not legally protected in most states — this means that anyone can claim to be a therapist without actually having gone through the training and licensing process that makes them a true mental health professional.
Because of this, it is incredibly important that you ensure that the therapist you are wanting to meet with is properly licensed. Do not hesitate to ask your potential therapist for their license information — this is not disrespectful and you are entitled to know that the person that is helping you handle your mental health is properly certified to do so.
Find the Right Platform
There are a number of platforms today that you can use to get the therapy you are looking for. From large platforms such as BetterHelp to individual therapy sessions through a private practice, there are many different forms that online therapy can take.
Each of these options can has its own advantages and disadvantages and you will want to consider which type of platform will be the best option for you.
Consider Your Insurance Coverage
Many insurance plans cover therapy or other mental health care expenses. That being said, it is important to ensure that you are familiar with what your insurance covers. Some insurance plans will only cover a specific number of therapy sessions or only cover specific providers. It is also important to note that not all insurance plans cover online therapy and some online therapy options do not accept insurance of any kind.
Because of this, it is essential that you take the time to study your insurance’s coverage of mental health care and you look for a solution that works for you.
Make It a Priority
If you want to schedule therapy sessions (and you want to get the most of them), you need to make the time for it. Block out enough time to prepare for and engage in your therapy sessions and be present and in the moment with your therapist.
Preparing for Sessions
After you have chosen your therapist, you are ready to start preparing for your first session
Okay, let’s elaborate. Try jotting down some notes about things that you want to discuss with your therapist. Know what your goals are and be able to communicate them clearly to your therapist so you can get the most out of your sessions.
In therapy sessions, you are going to talk about the personal information that you likely won’t want your housemates or coworkers to know. It is a good idea to find a quiet and private space where you can take your therapy sessions where people are not going to be coming and going so that you don’t get distracted and you are able to focus completely on your session.
A therapist’s office is designed to be a comforting and soothing space and you can achieve a similar effect by creating a comfortable space for yourself at home. Rather than taking your therapy session at your desk — where you may do your work during the week — try getting cozy on the couch or in a plush armchair with a soft blanket or a nice warming cup of tea.
Hide the Camera View
We all get distracted by seeing ourselves in the corner of our video appointment. We see movement in our periphery vision and we are immediately drawn to it. This can distract us from our appointment and because of this it can be a good idea to cover the view of yourself in your video session or turn your video off if that is more comfortable for you.
Test Your Technology Beforehand
Is your device charged? Do your camera and microphone work? What software will you be using for your appointment? Some therapists use platforms like Skype or Zoom and some others may use more specific software so it is a good idea to ask your therapist what you need to be ready for the appointment.
Find a Schedule that Works for You
When we live with other people it can be hard to know when the best time to schedule our therapy sessions are — especially if we want to be able to have a comfortable and private space to conduct the session. Take into account your schedule as well as the schedules of the others in your home and use that information to figure out the best time to schedule your therapy sessions.
Keep in mind that it may be challenging to get back to your normal day if you have been just going through emotional trauma with your therapist so it may be best to schedule your sessions after your workday or when you do not have to get back focusing on something.
Schedule in Processing Time
You’re likely going to have a tough time if you are trying to get back to work immediately after having a deeply emotional therapy session. So, to avoid this problem in your day, schedule in some additional time post-session to process what you talked about and re-transition into your normal day.
It will take time to see progress and it is important to not get discouraged if your first couple of sessions feel awkward. You are likely not used to talking about your deepest darkest secrets with someone you just met.
You will likely feel more comfortable after a few sessions, but if you are not, this can be a thing to speak about with your therapist. You can maybe work on the discomfort you are feeling together and if you find that you are simply not compatible with your current therapist you may want to switch to another therapist.
We hope that these tips help you to find the right online therapy platform (and therapist) for you. If you have more questions or are looking for additional guidance please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow.