Telehealth therapy has grown wildly in popularity due to COVID-19. For more information on the pros and cons of telehealth, check out this post. As a practice, we are exclusively providing telehealth therapy in order to best protect our clients and therapists. Here are the ways to get the most out of your session.
- Find a private space and talk to others about it before hand. Whether you are in a family situation, with a roommate, or a significant other, you want to plan where you are going to have your session. You may want to let others in the home know that you have a personal appointment at a certain time and will not want to be interrupted. Clients have had success using cars, closets, or even going to a park and wearing headphones if they do not have their own bedroom or the home is crowded.
- Use a noise machine if you need extra privacy! Here is a super inexpensive one that is wireless. You can also use apps like rainymood or find "white noise" on YouTube. White noise works best placed outside the door of the room you want to be private.
- Use a wired internet connection if possible. If you are using WiFi (which is typically more than adequate) see if you get a good signal in the place you want to have your session. You may need to sit closer to your router if your signal is weak. Sometimes using a phone's 3g/4g connection may actually be a better signal than your wifi, if you have unlimited data this can be a great option. Try toggling your wifi button to see if your signal improves on the cellular network. Video chat a friend and see where you get the best signal if you have concerns. During your session, going to voice only is often a way to make the connection stronger. *We do not charge for the visit if it is unable to be conducted via technology. We will work with you to figure out a solution and offer a rescheduled visit free of charge. This is a good question to ask a potential therapist- how they will handle technology difficulties if they occur.
- Download the application that will be used beforehand. We use Telehealth by SimplePractice, but zoom and doxy.me are also popular. Log in, poke around in the settings, and test your microphone and speakers if applicable.
- Ask your therapist if the connection is HIPPA compliant. Best practice is to utilize a HIPPA compliant platform; however, some insurances have given more allowances in order to increase client access during the pandemic. If you are unsure, just ask! Telehealth by SimplePractice is HIPPA complaint. Some versions of Zoom are and some are not.
- Check your battery level. I cannot tell you how many visits have ended early due to a phone loosing battery or a charger being in another room. Video chat tends to use a lot of battery, so definitely have a charger handy.
- Use headphones, noise cancelling if possible! This increases privacy, makes audio clearer, and also reducing the amount you have to project your voice. This will make dialogue feel more natural and more like you are in the room together.
- Consider having something to fidget with. Some people like to have something to do with their hands while they are talking. Coloring or doodling can also be a good way to help regulate your feelings if you are nervous. This can also be incredibly helpful for children who may have a harder time sitting still.
- For children, talk to them beforehand about what will happen. Encourage children to prop a phone or tablet up rather than carry it around the room. Children tend to make therapists seasick because they love nothing more than to run around the house and show them everything. Suggest they leave the phone and bring the object to the therapist or show them how to walk slowly with the phone around the room.
- Get comfortable. You probably will not want to hold your phone for an hour. Try not to block the speaker or microphone on your phone when you prop it up. Have a drink handy if you think you may want it.
We hope these tips help you have the best telehealth experience possible! I'm finding some clients actually strongly prefer telehealth for the convenience, accessibility, and comfort. Please reach out to us with any questions!