My clients and I have discovered some things to avoid in online therapy to ensure the best possible experience. I’m an online therapist located in Katy, Texas which is a suburb west of Houston. I provide teletherapy to adults living throughout the entire state of Texas. Here are some of the things we’ve learned to avoid.
Don’t consume alcohol, smoke, vape or use other substances immediately before or during an online counseling session.
It may seem like pouring yourself a glass of wine or vaping during your session is harmless. Or maybe it even seems like an idea to take the edge off of any nerves you may be feeling about online counseling. You should avoid using substances including alcohol, nicotine and marijuana immediately before and during online therapy. While you may or may not overuse any of these substances, your uninhibited presence of mind and full ability to consent to online counseling services is important. What if you’re struggling to participate in sessions without the use of substances? It’s important to discuss your feelings and concerns with your online counselor.
Avoid poor internet connection for your online therapy appointment.
Most online counselors rely on virtual platforms like Simple Practice, Zoom or Doxy.me to host their video counseling appointments. These platforms require strong internet and a fast connection speed. Check your internet strength and speed ahead of time from the location that you plan to join from. Hard wired internet connection may help, but most fast speed wi-fi connections are sufficient. If you’re going to be traveling or away from your usual location for your online counseling session, have a back up option ready like a charged cell phone in case your connection will not support a video session.
Try not to be too rigid with your expectations and assumptions about how online counseling will go.
Especially when you’re meeting with an online therapist for the first time, try and hold your expectations loosely. Any technology based service may glitch from time to time. However, once video and sound issues are worked out, the next appointment should go much smoother. Most technological glitches will be resolved quickly and easily. Using wired headphones with a microphone can help. Turning off bluetooth may also help. If you or your counselor hear an echo, try adjusting the volume on one or both sides. Communicate with your counselor if you’re not hearing or seeing them, and assume that they will communicate with you if they’re having trouble seeing or hearing you.
Do not multitask while participating in teletherapy.
Driving a car, watching TV, baking a cake while participating in your online counseling session may interfere with your ability to be mentally present in your session. Some things like caring for children during a call may be unavoidable, but try to limit distractions as much as possible during your session in order to make the most of it. If you must have your session in a vehicle, please be sure you can park somewhere safely until the session is over.
Don’t settle for less than what you need and deserve from online psychotherapy.
Knowing what to avoid in online therapy can help, but ultimately, online counseling needs to work for you. If you’re struggling with some aspect of teletherapy, tell your therapist. Most online counselors will actively work to problem solve with you. If you decide online therapy isn’t working for you, or it’s just not working with your specific counselor, seek out a different provider. Your mental health and emotional well-being are worth too much, to settle for something that doesn’t feel helpful.
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Looking for Online Counseling in Texas?
Anne Russey Counseling provides online therapy in Texas. Specialty services include anxiety treatment, counseling for moms including postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety treatment and LGBTQ+ affirming counseling. Contact Anne for a free consultation or to schedule an initial appointment.