Telehealth is very similar to face-to-face therapy in many ways. Participants get to hear each other and notice any voice changes, see each other’s body language and – most importantly – feel that they are being listened to and understood. However, telehealth can feel different as people are not in the same physical space. It can be unfamiliar at first, and technical issues and video buffering might need to be overcome. But we are adaptable. We will learn. We can make the most of this time. Our need to connect with others and ensure good mental health for our children and ourselves is more vital than ever.
How to do it
Here are some ideas to help make it easier to connect with your therapist remotely.
- Find a private, comfy spot in which you feel relaxed and are comfortable with your therapist seeing. (There’s no judgement for messy houses, but you might not want us seeing your collection of vintage Cabbage Patch dolls!) For some, this space might even be the car.
- Use headphones if you can. This gives better audio, as well as some privacy – other people will only hear one side of the conversation.
- If you’re finding it hard to get into the zone, let your therapist know. This is completely normal: it can be challenging to learn and adapt, especially in times of stress. Sometimes this experience will even be the best place to begin.
- Have everything you need nearby: a notepad and pen, a cup of tea, a glass of water – whatever.
- If you’re using a computer or tablet, keep your phone handy as you might need to text/call if there are technological hiccups.
- Make sure you have a plan for what happens if you get disconnected. (Depending on the platform used, but you might need to log in again.) It’s a good idea to agree on a backup plan as well: for example, after a couple of failed attempts, your therapist will phone you.
When people are stuck at home, it’s tempting to put things like self-support and children’s therapies on hold. We’re all navigating a lot of change – if you need to pause your sessions, that’s fine. But this is also a great idea to put time and energy into supporting yourself, and into helping your children remain mentally strong.
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