The global COVID-19 pandemic has helped increasing numbers of people become more open to online sessions with therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. And after such an incredibly difficult past year, more people are discovering that they, too, need to talk with a professional.
If you’re ready to speak with an expert for the first time or have a trusted person you now want to start seeing digitally, here are some tips to help you get the most from your sessions.
Check Therapists Qualifications and Techniques
As you would with any other health appointment, ensure that the therapist you want to see is adequately qualified before booking an appointment. Choose someone with the necessary education, license and experience to conduct sessions effectively, whether online or in person.
More specifically, before you book an online therapy appointment, ask professionals about how often they’ve conducted digital treatment programs and if they have precise techniques for making their assistance work well remotely. Some practices that might be helpful when you see a therapist on-site won’t necessarily translate to an online medium. Health practitioners need to know how to tweak or change their therapy choices to suit different clients and communication methods.
Examine Your Insurance Coverage
Take the time to read over your health insurance information to determine if your mental health sessions are included or not. Many plans incorporate this kind of care, but some don’t or might only cover a small number of visits. Similarly, not all providers cover telehealth appointments.
Work out what will and won’t be part of your coverage so you can plan and budget accordingly. Online sessions typically cost between $60 and $100 in the United States, which you may have to partially or wholly cover yourself. Note, though, that some online services make financial assistance available to those who qualify, so it’s worth investigating if you might be able to get help from that angle.
Find a Quiet and Private Place to Chat
One of the most crucial elements of a successful therapy session is being able to relax and be comfortable knowing what you say is private and won’t be listened to or shared by anyone else. When you attend appointments online, ensure you have a safe space to talk to your therapist. Locate somewhere quiet where other household members won’t overhear you. Ensure the spot you choose isn’t inundated with noise, as that limits how well you and your mental health practitioner can hear each other.
Positioning yourself in the right environment should help you relax and open up more during your session, which is a bonus. Find a comfortable place to sit as you interact with your therapist. Furthermore, do what you must to set yourself up for an appointment that can go by without distraction. Ask someone else to look after your children or pets during your session, and remind others in your home that you have a meaningful conversation coming up that they mustn’t interrupt.
Don’t let yourself get distracted by phones, emails, or other things during your therapy sessions, either. Turn off devices or switch them to silent so you can concentrate on your time with the designated mental health worker.
Set Up and Test Tech Tools in Advance
A successful online therapy service relies on access to decent tech tools, too. Set up devices and apps or other software well before your session, then test it all out just before your chat begins. Ensure everything is working as it should and make changes as needed. Test your video and microphone and consider lighting and camera position.
Ask your therapist or their staff if there’s a particular browser that works best for the platform used during talks, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. It pays to restart your computer before your session to iron out any glitches. Also, ask other people in your household to stop streaming content or doing other data-intensive tasks while you’re conversing with your therapist. In turn, the internet connection is less likely to drop out.
Some other tips for utilizing online therapy services over the coming months include preparing questions or topics in advance and allowing transition time after your appointment to process what was said and heard. Treat online therapy sessions as you would in-person ones. By following all of these suggestions for your next online mental health appointment, you should find it going more smoothly and you getting much more out of it.