It’s been said quite a lot recently that “everyone should go to therapy” and while it may be true, it doesn’t mean that going to therapy is easy for everyone. However, with the increase of telehealth and teletherapy services, going to therapy has become easier than it has ever been before.
While starting therapy may feel a bit nerve-wracking and overwhelming at first, there are so many benefits that come along with it. That’s why we’ve put together all the information you need to get the most out of your teletherapy sessions!
Keep reading to find out
- What teletherapy is
- Questions to ask at your teletherapy appointment
- How to prepare for your teletherapy appointment
- And general tips for getting the most out of teletherapy sessions
What is teletherapy?
Teletherapy is an alternative to in-office therapy that allows you to do therapy with a licensed clinician on secure video conferencing platforms. With a large increase in use during the Covid-19 pandemic, teletherapy and telehealth technology has become well designed and more user friendly.
While you may prefer in-office therapy, teletherapy has many benefits and has been shown to be just as effective in treating disorders like PTSD, generalized anxiety, insomnia, and eating disorders as in-office therapy.
Some of the many benefits of teletherapy include:
- Being able to work with a therapist from anywhere in your state.
- No need to leave your home
- Cuts down on time required for commuting to and from a counseling office.
Preparing for your teletherapy appointment
While there are many benefits that come along with teletherapy, namely the ability to have a session in the comfort of your own home, it can be a bit harder to get in the headspace for therapy when you are taking your appointment virtually.
With in-office therapy it is often easier to get in the mindset of therapy as you drive to the office or wait in the waiting room, often filled with elements meant to be relaxing to incoming patients. Without the transitionary period from your home to the office or the physical change of scenery, creating a sense of calm or having a pre-therapy routine that helps you get into that space can help improve the quality of your session.
Some things that can help with creating a therapy space include:
- Taking your call in a private, comfortable and less-frequented part of your house or apartment.
- Making a warm drink before your appointment.
- If possible, scheduling your therapy session during a time when you feel you focus best or are best able to be present.
- Creating a brief list of things you’d like to discuss with your therapist.
Technical to-dos for teletherapy
A large part of preparing for your teletherapy appointment is making sure that your technology is working. When you’ve done everything to get relaxed and in the headspace for therapy, spotty wifi can make it difficult to remember the information you’ve received from your therapist and can make the session more stressful than it is.
Making sure that your device is fully charged and your internet connection is strong is important for teletherapy. Logging onto your therapy platform a little early may be necessary for checking your audio and video quality while still making sure you arrive to your appointment on time.
During your teletherapy appointment
When sitting down to talk to your therapist, whether it’s for the first time or the fifteenth, it’s good to have a brief list of things you’d like to discuss during each session. This may be something that you and your therapist planned to discuss ahead of time or something that you thought of between appointments.
Taking notes is another great way to get the best out of your therapy appointment. Even after multiple sessions with your therapist there can be a lot of information in each session and it can be more difficult than you may anticipate to keep track of everything your therapist has said.
Reviewing your notes with your therapist at the end of your session can also be incredibly helpful at improving your therapy experience and allowing you to get the most out of each session.
Remember that therapy is intended for helping you improve. Ask questions. Ask your therapist to clarify something that you feel confused by or repeat something that you may have misunderstood or misheard the first time. Asking questions is so important in getting the most out of your therapy appointments.
For continued teletherapy
Whether it is your first time trying therapy or your fourth time, continued therapy is important for working through whatever it is that is complicating your life at the moment. However, it is not enough to just go to therapy sessions every week.
Journaling, working on exercises that your therapist recommends, and educating yourself on the type of therapy that is standard for your mental health conditions can be great ways of taking your therapy experience to the next level.
Here are some great ways to implement therapeutic practices into your life outside of teletherapy sessions:
- Journaling about your feelings or free writing in a journal can help you map out your thoughts. Or, if you find that you tend to ruminate or over analyze your thoughts, it may be helpful to free-write onto the page and not reread what you’ve written for at least a day.
- Reading books, blogs, or articles on topics discussed in therapy. Gaining more knowledge on some things that you discuss in therapy can make it easier to connect these things to your daily experience.
- Finding a mindfulness practice such as meditation or yoga to incorporate into your routine.
Most of all, remember that therapy is about giving you support and skills that help you with your mental health. If you really like your therapist but feel like there is something you’d like to change about how your sessions are structured, or maybe feel like you need more specialized care, don’t be afraid to share that with your therapist. Trust the process and take it at your own pace.