Online therapy is becoming more and more common; because of its versatile and flexible use, it appeals to many people and makes it available in an incredible variety of situations.
Compared to face-to-face, there are some differences, but both styles deliver positive outcomes.
Face-to-face therapy allows client and therapist to meet in the safety of the therapy room which is carefully organised in order to allow the development of a working relationship based on trust, openness, and confidentiality. There is also something else which is very important in the development of the therapeutic relationship, and this is something that is built between the two participants, a sort of atmosphere that allows the dialogue to happen and to grow into an alliance in the search for meaning, understanding and, eventually, change.
Not to be underestimated, is also the ritual attached to going to sessions. While going to see the therapist, people often prepare for the session. They go through significant events of the week, problems encountered, issues that need discussing or solving. There are often little habits attached to the “going” to therapy: maybe a stop for coffee, a diversion through the park, a certain itinerary. The same happens sometimes after the session. People may want time to think about what was discussed, or a moment of relax or a treat for having done good work.
Online therapy takes place on screen, on one of the many platforms offering video or audio connections. The therapist is usually in his/her office, whilst the client can be in different places. The relationship between client and therapist develops in much the same way as when face-to-face, a screen meeting can be as intense and fruitful as one in person.
The main difference between the two styles is that in the online therapy the responsibility to set up a suitable environment, rests with the client. Privacy, good computer connection, clear image and sound, is in the hands of the client. The most important advantage of online therapy is that geographical barriers are almost gone. Time difference permitting, client and therapist could be based anywhere in the world and able to connect. That is a fantastic advantage for all those who may need to travel regularly or may have a second home. It also widens the spectrum of matching therapist – client without the restriction of living in the same town. Online therapy is also necessary for all those who may have mobility issues or disabilities.
TIPS ON SETTING UP YOUR ONLINE SESSION
- Find a quiet, private place where you will not be disturbed or intruded upon by family members, pets, noise or telephone calls.
- Check that you have closed the door and that there are no lights or windows behind you as this will affect your computer image. Or make sure you position your computer half-way between the light and yourself.
- Prepare in advance by downloading your preferred platform on your computer, Ipad or telephone and make sure you know how to navigate the commands so that you are already familiar with it. Your session will start and finish at the pre-arranged time.
- Find a desk or a steady surface to place your computer on, to ensure it does not move. A wobbly computer will produce bad sound, and probably give you and your therapist a headache.
- Make sure your computer is fully charged or connected to a charger. You don’t want it to die in the middle of your session!
- Place your computer camera at the right height so that you can look at the camera at eye level. This will avoid your therapist staring at your nostrils or the crown of your head.