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Virtual Therapy: How to Make the Most Of Your Telehealth Sessions

Since the pandemic, the landscape of mental health treatment has drastically shifted. Today, more and more people are meeting for virtual therapy sessions. While people were once dubious, the American Psychological Association (APA) has gone on record stating that telehealth sessions are convenient, effective, and here to stay.

That said, therapy is a significant investment of money, time, and emotional energy. You're trusting a mental health professional with your well-being, so it's important to focus on how to get the most out of this time together. In this article, we'll review how to best prepare for your telehealth therapy.

Are Virtual Therapy Sessions Right For You?

Besides the physical office location, virtual sessions follow the same format and conditions as in-person therapy. Your treatment will focus on your specific needs and goals. Your therapist will still maintain the same laws and ethics as they would in a traditional format. They will initiate the same kind of informed consent process with you.

With that, virtual sessions may be a good option if you:

  • have a busy or inconsistent schedule

  • want to work with a specialist who offers telehealth services

  • value the convenience of meeting in your own private space

  • feel more comfortable opening up in the comfort of your home

Making the Most Of Your Online Therapy Session

The most important takeaway of any therapy treatment is that this service is about you, your needs, and your preferences. A good therapist will do their best to accommodate your treatment, but it's crucial to focus on giving this process your full effort. Here are some strategies that may help you feel more prepared for your virtual work:

Communicate Your Therapy Preferences

If you've benefited from in-person therapy in the past, it can be helpful to outline any concerns you may have about transitioning to virtual work. For example, some clients have concerns about their therapist missing nonverbal cues or micro-expressions over the computer. If that's the case, vocalize your needs. Together, you may both be able to collaborate on what will help cultivate your connection and make the most of this time.

Mind Your Physical Environment

Your therapist will take the necessary lengths to ensure that your therapy sessions are confidential. But you also want to consider where you're logging into your appointments. Ideally, you should aim for a comfortable, quiet environment free from excessive distractions. If you live with family members or roommates, let them know that you will be unavailable for the duration of your session and think about investing in an inexpensive white noise machine. Consider setting your phone to 'do not disturb' and eliminating other potential interruptions.

Mitigate Technical Issues

Technical glitches are one of the main detriments of online therapy, but you can do your part by testing your device and assessing for any connectivity issues in advance. If this is your first session, you will need to set up your account in advance, and you should spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with your provider's platform before your appointment begins. Finally, make sure that your device is updated and can accommodate video sessions.

Implement a Pre-Therapy and Post-Therapy Ritual

Don't make the mistake of transitioning from one task to therapy in a single moment. Instead, consider how you can devote some quiet time in the few minutes leading up to your session. Some people choose to journal or meditate to best set their intentions. Consider creating a simple self-care ritual to refer to after your session. This could be as simple as writing down a few takeaways and making a cup of coffee for yourself.

Push Yourself to Open Up in Therapy

Every therapist has their own unique style and way of practicing. However, it's important that you focus on what feels most pressing to you. This may change week to week, but the more direction you provide your therapist, the more likely they are to help you maximize your time together. With that said, if something isn't working, speak up! Therapists generally welcome and even encourage clients to share their honest feedback. If you don't like a certain suggestion, let your therapist know. That way, you can both pivot together.

Online Mental Health Services With Resurface Group

At Resurface Group, we offer a variety of virtual services for clients experiencing mental health issues, substance use disorders, and more. We're dedicated to increasing the accessibility of mental health care throughout the country, and our telehealth services are customized for each individual's needs, schedule, and treatment plan.

Our fully virtual program, Resurface Connect, offers effective and convenient treatment for clients throughout the state of California. We're also in-network with most major health insurance providers (click here to verify your plan). If you'd like to learn more about our mental health providers or services, we welcome you to contact us today. 

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