It may seem like teletherapists are having it easy counselling clients from the comfort of their homes. But are they? The truth is therapists today are having it tougher in the virtual space than an in-person setting. Besides the technical and marketing challenges, teletherapists need to be able to read between the lines and decipher their clients' challenges without meeting them directly or observing their body language. They need to be strong on a host of soft skills in order to provide precise support to their clients over distance.
Here are five such soft skills that therapists need to perfect to be on top on their game:
An online therapy practice means that you have a larger clientele across the world. As a result, teletherapists handle volumes of data and paperwork in the name of licenses, evaluation forms, medical histories, reports and HIPAA compliances. These documents will need to be well catalogued so that when the need arises, therapists can quickly retrieve the needed information and provide the appropriate service to their clients. On the other hand, failing to organize these crucial papers could spell disaster for therapists in the event of medico-legal cases. So, it is important for teletherapists to be organized and up-to-date with their paper work.
Most clients who seek therapy have trouble communicating their challenges. Teletherapists must be sensitive enough to grasp the client's unspoken needs and connect with them on a personal level.Connecting with clients and earning their trust is crucial for teletherapists as it can enhance the treatment outcomes manifold. Clients may not open up with therapists who are not sensitive to them and their challenges.
3.Being A Good Listener
The significance of being a good listener can never be highlighted enough. Teletherapists need to be able to listen to their clients without getting affected by their thoughts or emotions. They need to stay grounded in their own reality and dispel confusion in their clients'minds. As clients make themselves vulnerable to therapists by opening up about their lives, therapists must be aware of the position of trust that they enjoy with their clients and be cognizant of the honour accorded in their interactions. Children, especially, have their unique ways of responding to the directives being given. A good teletherapist will pay attention to such verbal cues and help the child accomplish more in less time.
Providing online therapy might require you to think on your feet. For instance, if your client is a child, you will need to use your imagination to utilize the resources around the child to engage them in games or exercises. If the child doesn't feel upto it, as a therapist, you must improvise the activities to not let a dull moment set in. This can be even more challenging in a virtual setting than an in-person setting as the child wouldn't be in the same room with you.
Persistence is key to teletherapy. There could be times when the caseload is high, or perhaps the client struggles with consistency. Maybe all that the client needs is a little nudge to see therapy through. In such situations, the persistence of the teletherapist could be the grace that saves the day.
Remember, as a teletherapist, your career is about uplifting and energizing others in the right direction you have been blessed with the rare opportunity to help people find their answers and inner peace. A little attention to these soft skills can help you distinguish yourself as a teletherapist.