Our practice has been utilizing telehealth the past couple of weeks, and as we transition we wanted to offer some information that might be helpful.
Much of what you’ve already been working on in the office can continue to be explored, worked and improved upon at home. Tangibly bringing therapy into other areas of your life has even more opportunity to bring insight and awareness.
Even separated by a screen, they are present with you in your hardships, emotions, explorations, and victories. Even as far as the vast unknownness of our situation with a pandemic we have never faced before, we’re in this together.
One helpful part of therapy that is usually happening every session is a process called co-regulation. Coregulation is the process by which our nervous system is regulated or soothed by the presence of another. Seeing another person’s face, hearing their voice, being mirrored in our emotions all help calm our nervous system. And this process of co-regulation can still happen over video sessions.
We are using a HIPPA compliant telehealth system, consistent with our practice – it is safe and secure, and our sessions are not recorded.
Telehealth, especially during this season of COVID-19, always has its interruptions. A dog or a cat may enter a screen, a child may need his or her parent in the middle of the session, or a spouse may accidentally open the door to the room a session is in. The therapist understands these interruptions and expects them. For the therapist, it can be nice to see the faces of the people or pets that a client has talked about. We can always pause and get resituated.
For so many people, their pets are such a huge resource for them. We have a unique opportunity through video sessions to meet your pets (which we love!) and to use them as a resource the help with grounding and nervous system regulation. If you’re feeling activated in session, feel free to invite your pet to join you and notice the change in your body as you hold them and pet them.
For couples doing therapy, we have noticed that each person is able to see their partner’s face on the screen as they are sharing and be able to read emotions and expressions as they respond to each other more quickly.
Telehealth has allowed our clients to see their therapist from home, which has allowed them to limit travel time and gain back time in their day that they would usually have had to take out in order to get to an office.
The ability to have therapy from the comfort of your own home can create some safety as well, because you can structure it how you like. You may choose to have therapy in your favorite room of the house, or even in your backyard. You might have a cup of coffee, while wearing your pajamas, whatever it is that makes you feel safe and comfortable.
Take a moment before your therapy session, to come out of “work mode” and drop into your body. If you don’t have time before your session, just let your therapist know and you can do it together.
It is helpful to be in an area with good WiFi, this helps the connection with your therapist to be as natural as possible.
Make sure you’re in a place that feels private. Some clients like to use headphones and put on Alexa to sound machine mode. Others may go to their car or a quiet room in their house.
The viewing experience is typically better on a computer rather than a cellular device.
However, even if none of these things are in place, we can still do good work. Like the rest of life, it won’t always be perfect. Sometimes you may be interrupted, or the Wifi might glitch.
This is something many of us struggle with. While at times teletherapy is not perfect, it can all the same be good. Embrace the imperfections. There are going to be technical difficulties and potential interruptions just by the nature of connecting through the internet at home. That’s okay! It’s all part of the therapeutic process. We can laugh about it together and we can process it together. We don’t have to be perfect to be productive, connected, or successful.
It’s okay to sort through this change together and ask questions. It’s okay if it feels awkward and weird- especially at the beginning. We are very open to feedback. Tell us what’s working, and what’s not. Let us know if you can’t see us, hear us, or need us to adjust. We want to help, and we can brainstorm ways to problem-solve together.
We are grateful to get to journey alongside you during this time, whatever it looks like.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions!
The Phoenix Counseling Collective
~Elisa, Caleb, Lindsey, Brittany, Kim, & Molly ~ all collaborated on this post
*Please note that while this transition to telehealth is not a permanent change, we do not have an end date at this time.
The Phoenix Counseling Collective
531 E. Lynwood St. Phoenix, AZ 85004