Believe it or not, teletherapy is starting to take over the world of counselors. Coronavirus has forced these professionals to transform into a more digital approach as compared to a physical one. However, as a mental health practitioner, it might be challenging for you to give the best possible service if the setup is not face-to-face.
“Fortunately, interactive video is easy to set up these days, and most types of work you would do at a therapy office can be adapted to it. However, even over video chat, you will notice barriers to full communication and a dampening of your ability to read a client’s cues and responses. Clients’ communication output in a therapy session includes subtleties and nuances, both auditory and physical, that are easily missed—or impossible to discern—in a video chat session.” reveals Kirsten Bradbury, Ph.D.
With these in mind, listed below are some professional tips for a more effective teletherapy setup.
Set Up The Right Equipment
A lot of people might say that being in the same room with your counselor has a different feeling when conducted online. However, there’s a way to go about this. The key to reaching a suitable environment is by ensuring high-quality video resolution and proper sounding.
Your session might be a little bit distracting if you and your client face a blurry video. Add to this a crackling and choppy audio. Chances are, you won’t reach the emotional and sincere conversation tone you need.
Therefore, make sure to invest in a high-resolution webcam. Buy an external one, and not rely on the low-quality built-in camera that your laptop has. Pair this with a headphone that resonates with the best sounds.
Focus On The Client
Always keep the spotlight on the client. Even though you are in the comforts of your home, stay away from distractions. Do not let your mind wander around the room. If your client sees that you are not paying attention, he or she will most likely feel uncomfortable opening up to you.
Keep Everything Confidential
Trust is the utmost foundation between a counselor and a client. Yes, this might be easy to fulfill if you are doing your sessions face-to-face. However, this might be a little bit challenging if you are conversing online.
The discussions that you will be having your clients are full of protected health information. As a mental health practitioner, it is your responsibility to keep these details secure, safe, and confidential. The way you can do this is to choose software that provides lock security. Look for something that guarantees full HIPAA compliance.
Ask For Clarification
Everyone’s in a rough patch right now. With the emergence of coronavirus, more and more people are having a hard time digesting their feelings. They don’t know how to go about with their emotions in these trying times. Therefore, you need to help your client process all of these feelings.
To be able to do this, always ask for clarification. Do not assume anything, as this might only worsen the way you handle their emotions. It is your job to analyze and assess the situation correctly. If you come up with a misconception, you would only complicate their issues, and this will hinder them from progressing.
Practice In Front Of The Camera
Since you are not used to this kind of setup, it might be difficult for you to handle your session. You might feel awkward talking to the camera. However, with a little bit of practice on the side, you’ll feel more natural facing it. It is essential that you feel comfortable with this since for you to be able to deliver the most productive therapy session.
You can even practice video chatting first with your family member, friend, or colleague before starting a client call.
Establish An Accessible Payment Option
Since you are offering online sessions, it makes sense that your payment option should also be online. Do not let them get out of their houses to pay you. It is contradicting your teletherapy setup. There are a lot of online services that you can tap – Paypal, online banking, and other money delivering apps. Just make sure to record all incoming and outgoing transactions.
Teletherapy sessions are something new. However, with the physical distancing guidelines that COVID-19 brought, it will be difficult for face-to-face discussions. Just stick with these six tips above, and you’ll be on your way to a productive therapy session for your clients.