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Online Therapy and Coaching—Is it Right for You?

Last month, I wrote a bit about my move to only offering services online, and I wanted to share more about my experiences with online therapy, coaching, and supervision and ways to make your experience more fulfilling.

I first started providing clinical supervision online in 2018, and I’ll be

the first to admit I was skeptical. I was worried we wouldn’t have the same connection as we would have in person and things would be stilted and uncomfortable. My supervisees had the same worries; we talked about it during our first session. As with most new experiences, I subscribe to the idea that we’ll give it a shot for a few times and see how it goes. Worst case scenario if something doesn’t work, we reevaluate and find a new solution. Well, our doubts were unfounded. After just two sessions, we all agreed we were surprised at how easy it was to build rapport and connection (bonus that we could wear sweatpants). Since then, I’ve been doing more and more of my work online, and I’m excited to be entirely virtual.

I completely respect that virtual therapy and coaching isn’t everyone’s preference. There have been multiple studies that have concluded that video therapy sessions are as effective as in person sessions, and there are pro's and con's to virtual therapy:

Pro’s of Virtual Therapy
  • Shorter commute to therapy, easier to schedule because there's no need to account for drive time.

  • No risk of running into someone you know at the office.

  • Increased access to therapy, people who live in areas without specialized therapists can access virtual.

  • No concerns about sharing germs, Covid or otherwise.

  • You can have you own comfort items or pets with you.

Con’s of Virtual Therapy
  • Potential for interruptions and distractions during sessions: family, technical issues, etc.

  • Responsibility of confidentiality is on client, not therapist.

  • Technology is not everyone’s forte. When problems arise, they can interrupt the flow of the session.

  • Different dynamic than you may be used to with in-person therapy.

Here are a few ways to make online sessions go more smoothly:

  • Find a private space where you feel confident nobody else will hear you.

  • Use a white noise machine or white noise app if there are other people around during your session.

  • Use headphones to help with focus and privacy.

  • Make sure to place phone on do not disturb and try to limit other distractions. Let family members know you’ll be out of pocket for an hour.

  • Have your phone available nearby in case there’s a technical issue.

  • Be plugged directly into the modem or close by to improve connection.

  • Set aside this time just like you would if you were coming into the office (but bonus, you don’t have to account for travel time)

I just ask that you give it a shot for a few sessions, and if it’s still not working for you, I’m always happy to provide referrals for therapists seeing clients in person. At the end of the day, I want what’s best for each of my clients, whether that’s working virtually with me or another therapist in person.

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