Online therapy (also known as remote therapy) has been becoming increasingly popular in the past decade and with the spread of COVID-19 it became necessary and commonplace. Within my busy City practice I am expert in using platforms such as Skype and Zoom to provide the full range of therapy services, as this flexible approach gives assurance that treatment will not be disrupted by hectic schedules and, more recently, lockdown restrictions.
Whilst the thought of communicating through Skype or Zoom may elicit initial apprehension for some, I have been gaining experience in working online since I began treating clients in private practice in 2014. Their busy diaries and frequent international travel made it necessary to avoid interruptions to treatment. Of course, the last year has required all my clients adjust to working online, and overall I have found it to be just as effective, with the therapeutic relationship remaining strong and connected. Interestingly, recent studies show that online therapy can actually be more effective than face-to-face therapy!
Practically there are benefits as attending sessions has become more convenient and clients that wish to ensure they are working with a highly-experienced therapist have been able to do so regardless of where they live, including regular enquiries from outside of the UK. Many people live in remote areas and lack access to services. Others may have issues requiring specialist knowledge. It’s essential to find the right therapist that you feel understands you and your difficulties. Online therapy allows you to connect with the right expert no matter where you are.
If you’re accessing online therapy from home, it’s important to try and find a quiet space where you’re least likely to be disturbed. However, for many that’s easier said than done, and you may have children off school or live in a shared house, which can make finding a quiet space tricky. If you have another adult in the household, such as a partner who could look after children or a discreet flatmate who could stay out of the way, then it’s a good idea to let them know you need a bit of quiet. Remember, online therapy sessions can be entirely flexible, so you can make sure you’re scheduling a time that works for you.
You could also consider getting outside for your sessions. Clients have dialled in from parks, garden and squares! Anywhere that means you’ll still have peace and quiet with sufficient space not to feel restricted by others’ presence.
Try to block out background noise perhaps by wearing headphones during your session, and mute notifications on your phone or tablet so you’re not distracted by them.
I encourage clients to be active in the therapy, and this can include making notes during the session in a therapy notebook, or using their mobile phone to record the session and listen back to it between appointments. Taking photographs using their phone camera of diagrams is encouraged, and when using Zoom and Skype clients can record a video of the session to keep for future reference.
Don’t hold back during your online sessions, make sure you’re getting things off your chest in the same way by allowing yourself to become fully immersed and really get the most out of your appointment.
I have found that many clients have benefited from the human contact of online therapy during lockdown or when self-isolating. It has helped them remain connected to the outside world which, in itself, has boosted their mood and wellbeing.
To schedule an appointment or ask further questions about online therapy, please contact me on 020 7357 9403.