Transitioning to Video Sessions
Updated: Apr 17
For many people, the idea of getting behind the wheel and learning to drive at 16 is exciting. I was not one of those people. However, the day finally came when I needed to be taught. My two older sisters and I climbed into our family’s small, two door, red Honda Civic, which was lovingly nicknamed “The Lawnmower”. We drove to an empty parking lot, and I climbed into the driver’s seat. My sisters explained that I needed to turn on the car, and then take my foot off the brake.
No way, I thought. I was terrified! I imagined all the horrible crashes that would obviously occur in the empty parking lot if I took my foot off the brake.
My sisters began to laugh hysterically at my wild imagination. I, however, was not amused.
Eventually, I found the courage to turn on the car, and ever so carefully began to lift my foot off the brake, my hands turning white while clutching the steering wheel. I almost laughed at myself as I saw that the car only moved at a snail’s pace, and what I had imagined to be so new and frightening was not scary at all. Within a half hour I even managed to put on the gas! (Hey give me a break!)
Right now, it may feel like everything is changing in the world due to the effects of COVID-19. Your therapist may even have invited you to begin doing video sessions instead of doing therapy sessions in person. This would mean using either phone or video sessions to continue to provide a high standard of care at a healthy distance. But you might feel a little uneasy about the change.
I get it!
It is easy to understand why you might feel resistant to trying therapy remotely. When everything around us is changing, we want to keep doing what feels familiar, safe, and is already a part of our routine. It’s comforting. So you might resist taking your foot off the brake to try out therapy in a new way. Much like how I felt when trying to learn to drive.
However, it is often on the edge of our comfort zone that personal growth is found.
You can trust that your therapist has practiced with the needed technology, patiently guiding you as you learn the steps and technology involved. So why not give it a chance? You might even find you like it more! You may even excel in this new way in the comfort of your own home.
Here are ten of the advantages that you may not have considered with online therapy:
Prevents the spread of illnesses
Eliminates commute, traffic problems, and travel time
Eliminates travel cost
Allows therapist to see you in the context of your own home and provide insight
You can optimize your physical comfort
Especially helpful for those who have physical limitations or live in rural areas
Teenagers can access appointments without having to rely on outside transport
You can instantly apply what you learn in therapy to your home environment
If someone in your family is sick, and you have to stay home, you can still do a session
Your insurance may cover in person sessions the same as online therapy. (Check with your insurance provider for confirmation.)
There are several special considerations when using video therapy. Here are three that you can manage with your therapist:
It may be more difficult for a therapist to observe body language, facial expressions, and more in a video session. Keep in mind when doing video sessions to look straight on into the camera, so the therapist can better recognize these features and get a clearer understanding of what you are feeling.
Technology may fail. Videos may cut-out. In this scenario, therapists will have discussed a back-up plan for technology fails, like calling you back or using a different media platform.
Those with severe mental health concerns, couple’s concerns, or concerns for children, may have unique challenges to using the computer. This would be addressed with your therapist on a case by case basis to determine how to maintain a high standard of care for your specific concerns.
During this time of unease, you can trust that your therapist will help you along the way to using online video therapy and helping you succeed. It will not only protect their health and yours, but will enable you to maintain a high standard of mental health care all within the familiarity of your own home.
And you know what? Maybe while you are at it, you can break other barriers too!