Any good counselor who's switched from in-person contact to teletherapy will want their sessions to meet high standards. Here's how you can bring your virtual counseling up to par, no matter where you are:
Display yourself well
Your sessions might be dull if your video looks dull too. Remember to make a simple investment in great lighting. Any lamp that's directed near your face is fine - a ring light is even better.
Ring lights within the $10-$30 range are portable and available online or at office supply stores. Anyone with sufficient selfie experience can tell you that they work great.
You'll also want to have a pre-tested headset on hand for audio issues. Even if you prefer a freestanding microphone, a headset will give you control over occasional audio interference that can spoil a session.
Ask yourself how your environment can help the computer monitor or smartphone screen fade away. Despite being digital, successful teletherapy involves minimizing the use of tech as much as possible.
Remember to remove distractions in your camera's background. An out-of-place towel or open can of soda can be amplified when it's on a screen.
Additionally, it's critical for any roommates to know your office location and working hours so that they don't walk in on a session.
While software tools are not a replacement for a clean room, platforms like Skype have a built-in background blur option that may be helpful. An appropriate environment helps your patients take the work seriously and shake off apprehension about the quality of online appointments. Consistency helps you as well.
Plan for consumer challenges
The new normal means putting clients at ease in different ways. Try practicing your setup from a consumer's perspective so that you might be an effective guide when they're having common technological difficulties.
Remember to pre-plan and share a backup strategy for internet connection issues, including how to reconnect when (not if) an internet connection is lost. Will you take the lead, or is the onus on your client?
Take care of yourself
Most of all, be easy on yourself as you learn how to improve as a teletherapist. Many people are overwhelmed by technology without even realizing it. And quarantine life is a radically new experience for just about everyone. The important thing is that there's no better time to learn.
Ramping up your telepractice during the summer, holiday season, weekend, or other slow time so that you can get used to psychiatry, psychology, and counseling online.
Teletherapy has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year. Of the many things learned in 2020, one clear lesson is that a great online therapy setup makes doing your work even easier.
DirectShifts still has still teletherapy openings available for counselors, psychiatrists, and social workers nationwide. Apply online for an interview within 1 business day.