Preparing for your First Video Psychotherapy Session
Video Psychotherapy is a great way to connect with a therapist that can be convenient and supportive.
In this article, the Senta Counselling team has put together some helpful information for you on how to prepare for a first psychotherapy video session. If you are thinking about starting Video Psychotherapy or looking to learn more about what it involves, these suggestions will be insightful for you.
First off, let’s talk about why video psychotherapy can be pretty great:
The benefits of Video Psychotherapy include: feeling more comfortable and at ease about opening up because you’re in your own home space, if you have had a hard session you know you will be right in your home and not have to make the trip back home, more flexibility on when you can schedule appointments with your therapist, and receiving effective treatment that is the same treatment you would receive from a therapist in-person – except more conveniently. Teletherapy can be particularly helpful for individuals who have limited mobility, anxiety related to leaving the home or driving, lack of access to transportation, or living in a remote area. With the ease of technology today, your therapist can send you readings and handouts to complete at home in between sessions and you’ll be able to keep in touch with your therapist over e-mail.
Next, let’s get techy:
There are a few steps you will want to take to be sure your sessions will run smoothly:
- – Your therapist will e-mail you information prior to your session about getting set up on the secure video software they will be using for your Video Psychotherapy session. Read through all of this information, because all the steps you need to take to get set up in advance will be included.
- – Download the video software in advance on your prefered device.
- – Test out your audio and video settings with a mock call.
- – Set up for your session in a place in your home that has a good wi-fi connection and is close to your router.
- – Ask other family members or roomates to not stream videos or be on a video chat while you’re in session, as this could potentially reduce the quality of your video session on your device.
- – If the video gets choppy, know that you can switch off the video at any time and just use audio, until your wi-fi strength returns.
- – Charge your device in advance and keep your charger nearby.
- – Make sure that your device software is up-to-date so that the video software will run well.
- – Trust that the video software you therapist will select will be secure with end-to-end encryption and that it will meet privacy standards and laws for the protection of your personal health information.
How to create privacy in your home:
One of the main reasons that people are reluctant to try out therapy from home is concerns that other family members or housemates will overhear you talking. Luckily, there are tonnes of ways you can create more privacy in your home space.
- – Find a space that is typically away from the main action of where everyone hangs out in your home.
- – Use a room that has a door that you can shut. If it locks from the inside, even better so there are no surprise interruptions.
- – Place soft music near the door or on the outside of your door. If you have a white noise machine, that’s a bonus for soundproofing.
- – Let family members or roommates know that you have an important meeting and that you’ll need privacy.
- – Schedule your session at a time when you know there will be less disruptions.
- – Use headphones with a mic attached so that your therapist’s voice is private and so that you don’t have to talk very loud to be heard over the video.
- – If the weather is nice, head out for a walk and talk session or set up in your backyard.
A few more prep tips to really make your session great:
- – Set up somewhere cosy in your home that feels comfortable for you.
- – If you’re not keen on being super up close on camera, set your device further away from you. Your Psychotherapist will want you to be comfortable, so whatever works for you, works for them.
- – Jot down some notes on what you’d like to cover in your session and then keep a paper and pen nearby to take notes during the session, if something comes up that you want to remember later.
- – Have a glass a water or your favourite tea prepared in advance.
- – If you prefer not to see yourself or find your video image distracting – put a post-it note over the part of the screen that you are displayed on.
- – If you’re not in the mood to be on camera, you can suggest to your Psychotherapist that you chat by audio-only – and this is totally okay!
Giving feedback to your therapist is an important part of the process:
Talk to your therapist openly if you have concerns about your session or you are worried that it will feel awkward. The best way to face these types of fears or apprehensions is to say them out loud, so that your therapist can help you feel more comfortable. If there is anything your therapist can do to accommodate your needs, your therapist will welcome your feedback. Your therapist is there for you, and your well-being is their primary focus.
Remember that with any new experience in life, teletherapy gets more comfortable once you have tried it out a few times. Most clients find that by the end of the second session, they have adjusted to the video format and feel more confident that the process will work for them. If you think it might be something that could work for you, the best way to know is to try it out.
Book an appointment:
At Senta Counselling Services, our therapists are trained to provide effective Video Psychotherapy. If you are interested in booking a first appointment with one of our therapists fill out a Counselling Appointment Request Form We offer appointments to anyone living in Ontario, Canada.
Video Psychotherapy during the COVID-19 outbreak:
During the COVID-19 outbreak in Ottawa, our therapists are available to provide Video Psychotherapy, Video Counselling and Video Psychological Services to residents living in Barrhaven, Ottawa and across Ontario.
If you have experienced a loss of income or financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak our therapists are offering reduced rate options. If you feel that you need a brief 30- minute mental health check-in while you are “Staying Home”, we are here to help and you can reach out to us at any time to schedule your appointment.
Article written by Cassandra Petrella, MA, Registered Psychotherapist & Clinical Director at Senta Counselling Services