With the experience of the Coronavirus pandemic and of being in lockdown, many of us have become more used to accessing services and working online.
More importantly, the collective traumatic experiences of the COVID 19 situation have caused a strain on people's lives and mental health, often bringing to the surface old problems or causing new problems, like in the case of grief and loss, uncertainty and Coronavirus induced anxiety. Online therapy can be a good way to look after your mental health and make sure that stress levels don't accumulate, causing worse problems down the line.
Although the online medium presents its own advantages and disadvantages, in my experience psychotherapy and EMDR conducted online can work just as well as in person therapy. Surprisingly, it can feel just as intimate and 'face to face' as if we were in the same room, sometimes more so.
There are also some differences. Online we would be missing some of the information coming from body language and from the immediate sense of someone being physically present in the same room. Technology can get in the way and interruptions can happen, as there is less of a separation between day to day life and therapy.
However, there are things we can do to get the most out of therapy and make up for these differences in the online medium. One of the ways we can do this is by making sure to have online therapy from somewhere private, preferably indoors, with a door you can close, with good WIFI, where you can be on your own and ideally without being interrupted. If these conditions are hard to achieve it might still be worth getting in touch to see if we can come up with a solution together.
With a good WIFI connection things are generally smooth but occasionally it may happen that the image slows down or freezes for a few seconds, to then come back online on its own. This is normal. Should we experience some more persistent connection problems we would then have an option to try an alternative platform, like Whatsapp, or failing this we would continue the session over the phone.
In terms of the technology it works well to connect from a laptop, preferably at eye level, but a phone can work as well if propped on some books or similar. It also works well to use some headphones as this improves the audio quality and overall experience of the call and makes the session more confidential.
I offer therapy on Zoom as I have found this to be a reliable platform with some interesting functionalities for therapy. To keep the sessions secure, I routinely use a waiting room function and generate different password protected meeting links for each client.
Just like a normal session, to keep the work safe and contained, it would still apply to make sure you are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the Zoom session and to agree beforehand on a GP and emergency contact to reach out to in case of emergency.
If you would like to start online therapy, feel free to get in touch.