With the rise of teletherapy, clinicians need to adapt techniques for virtual sessions. However, positive patient outcomes of online therapy can still be achieved through appropriate preparation, pace and use of technology.
Prepare for the Session
Firstly, familiarize yourself with video conferencing platforms and practice using technology before client appointments. Also, gather any materials you typically use in-person that may still benefit remote clients, like worksheets or exercise guides.
Set Clear Expectations
At the start of teletherapy, discuss expectations, limitations and policies specific to virtual sessions. Cover guidelines around cancellations, session length, privacy and confidentiality for technology-based care. Ask clients about their comfort levelwith the chosen platform and technology resources available to them.
Set the Right Environment
Encourage patients to choose a private,distraction-free space for telehealth appointments. Consider muting smartphone notifications during sessions. On your end, minimize potential disruptions and have all necessary documents and resources in front of you before starting the call.
Maintain a Similar Pace
Try to maintain the session duration and flow that clients are accustomed to from in-person visits. This consistency and routine can provide comfort and predictability. However, allow more time for any technical difficulties that may arise initially.
Utilize Nonverbal Cues
Make consistent eye contact with the camera to maintain rapport and connection. Be mindful of your own facial expressions and body language. Periodically check in with clients to gauge their nonverbal cues through the screen.
Leverage the Technology
Use features within the teletherapy platform to enhance sessions. For example, use the annotation or whiteboard tool for exercises typically done on paper. Share files and resources digitally with clients when appropriate.
In conclusion, with adequate preparation and willingness to adapt, remote therapy sessions can still foster meaningful connection, insight and progress for clients. By establishing a comfortable and familiar virtual environment, maintaining a consistent session structure and pace, and leveraging technology effectively, therapists can effectively utilize teletherapy best practices to provide quality care.