Grace Ballard, MA, LPC, CST  |  AASECT Certified Sex Therapist

Love and Hate in the Time of Teletherapy

Since we will be meeting by telehealth until this coronavirus pandemic cools down, I’d like to share some tips to facilitate our best experience together.

Phone

I truly appreciate therapy by phone.  It provides a sense of personal space and privacy, and you may feel more able to relax and speak freely.  I have utilized it for years, both as a client and as a therapist.  I have witnessed clients going deeper and accessing new breakthroughs when we met by phone.  We

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all relate differently to proximity to others, and so I understand that for some, not sharing physical space could feel scary or unnerving.  We can learn about ourselves in talking through these feelings.

 

During this era of COVID-19, meeting remotely offers an additional assurance of physical safety.  There’s no need to worry about touching our faces or handling doorknobs.

 

When meeting by phone, I recommend finding a quiet and private location (sitting in a car can be a great option).  If you have earbuds with a microphone, I recommend using them.  Silence your phone and set it aside so that you’re not distracted by notifications.  Get into a comfortable and restful position, perhaps lying down.  Notice if there’s a temptation to get up and busy yourself with other activities, and as we would in person, put these impulses into words rather than acting them out.

Video

Video calls differ in that we are facing one another.  Here is a comprehensive guide on the equipment you need, how to prepare, and how to join the call.  You may want to test your connection prior to our call, which you can do by running a pre-call test.

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Please note: if you plan to use your smartphone, you will need to download an app ahead of time (called Telehealth by Simple Practice). You should receive a link to join our call in the appointment reminder email or text, so make sure you are receiving these notifications.  If not, check your spam folder and the preferences you set up in the client portal.

Love and Hate for Teletherapy

Although telehealth differs from meeting in the office, I have found it to be effective.   Benefits include:
  • Privacy – Telehealth can be the most private form of therapy.  No running into others on your way in or out of the office.
  • Illness and Disability – We can continue meeting if you are experiencing symptoms of illness or ongoing barriers to access.
  • Efficiency – No traffic, no parking.  Our meeting time can be flexible to your schedule, and with online scheduling, you can find your optimum time and even reschedule if needed.
All that aside, you may have thoughts or feelings about this format.  You may hate it!  And I welcome hearing your thoughts.  There are plenty of reasons to feel frustrated or disappointed by all that is happening in our world.  These are appropriate responses to a chaotic and frightening situation.
I hope you are safe and well in these challenging times.  I look forward to connecting with you in whichever format you choose!

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