Teletherapy isn't usually my go-to. I'm a relational therapist. For me, therapy isn't about just the words, it's about the feelings, and the experience. I prefer to share a space with you. So that we can really feel what it's like to be in each other's presence.
But there are times and situations in which telehealth becomes my go-to. And in light of the current public health risks, now is such a time.
The reality is that in these times, telehealth is the only way to keep one another safe. And research shows that it is equally effective as in person therapy. And to be honest, in my own experience, once you get used to meeting virtually, it begins to feel alot more comfortable.
Online Therapy for Adults
Therapy online is pretty similar as therapy in person. Find a private, comfortable place to be, and of course, make sure your internet is strong. Once we both log in together, you will see me, I will see you, and once we take a deep breath, it will start to feel just like we're in the same space together. Just you, me and our thoughts, feelings. Just like in-person therapy, it's important to talk about how you're feeling and experiencing the "room" or the virtual space between us. If something doesn't feel right, talk about it! If something feels good, we can talk about that too. Most importantly, during this stressful time, online therapy can provide you with an anchor: even during the most difficult times, people can be depended upon, people will show up for you, and you can take care of yourself, your emotional needs.
Online Therapy for Kids
Online therapy with kids can be especially tricky, but can also be very rewarding. Kids often like to be in virtual spaces, AND they tend to enjoy the opportunity to show their therapist their home, the places where they "chill out", their favorite toys and of course, their pets! Letting the therapist "in" like this strengthens the therapeutic relationship, allowing kids to feel even more safe to talk about difficult feelings--and ways they cope with them in real time, in their home.
Believe it or not, online therapy with kids can also look like playing "together", similar to therapy in the office. When I work with children, I will usually ask parents to make sure that kids have a private place to talk, and that they enable kids to have easy access to toys or art supplies that we might use together, like crayons, markers, paper, play doh, story cubes, etc.
Just like any other change, kids might feel funny about online therapy at first. But usually after the first session, they change their mind. Because still, we have fun! This in of itself teaches flexibility, but also continuing therapy even in this uncertain, anxiety-provoking time shows kids that they can still act to keep themselves well, and that the adults they trust will show up for them, no matter what, even during the though, scary times of life.
If you're unsure about online therapy, that makes complete sense--we're all unsure of alot right now. And it's "normal" to feel unsure about things that are new. But think about a really good tv show or movie you've seen lately. Did you feel connected to the characters? Forget about the real world for a while, and become engrossed in the story? At it's best, that's just how online therapy works. So don't hold yourself back from getting the support you need; instead consider that online therapy might work for you.