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Getting the most from online counseling & therapy
Consistent appointments – Knowing your appointments are on Thursday 2pm every two weeks helps schedule the day or week to accommodate your session. Picking an appointment on an easier day and time gets better attendance and mental equity. Also, having a session online while knowing you have major projects due later in the afternoon kills focus. Major things should be done before your counseling. Get the hard stuff done earlier in the week if possible, so by Thursday you can get all you can out of your online session.
Calming atmosphere – Good lighting and location for sound are meeting basics now. Beyond light and sound though, consider a place that slows the heart rate and daily grind in the mind. Appointments outside on a porch or a good chair can have a calming effect. Some may find calm in their living room or a great nook to think. Treat it like a personal get-a-away.
Clear the clutter – Put pesky to do list out of sight. Don’t be in the room with things undone. Clutter reminds us of what needs attention and will pull your mind away from your session. Find a place with minimal distraction, it’s time to focus on one thing, getting healthier. Looking at a basket of unfolded laundry or unwashed dishes can make anyone feel dejected.
Choose transparency – A major concern for online counseling is the lack of personal contact and honesty. A common worry is that not having a face-to-face meeting will lead to shallow or impersonal interaction. Choose to open up and be honest, making the interaction valuable. Success can come from online counseling if you choose transparency. People are learning to have meaningful interactions in telecommunication. It is one of the rare improvements we have seen over the last two years. Being present to be successful is becoming a myth.
Contemplate sessions – After your session has signed off, take 5 minutes to digest the session. Some sessions are more intense than others; take time to readjust back to daily life. Reentry into life needs an adjustment period. This is great time to ask yourself hard questions and start making hard decisions, if you are ready. This can be a profound discovery time, people come back to those moments when remembering when change started taking place.
Content consideration – While contemplating, write down one sentence to sum up your session. It can be what you learned or what you haven’t thought about before. Then write a second sentence to resolve what needs change or to face what needs to be dealt with. There is something powerful about putting words to paper. It moves from thoughts or questions to tangible, visible, real words.
Commitment to 1 thing – Write down one action to do that day while the session is fresh in our mind. This is an effort to rewrite the script of your life and do something. Then, find someone you trust and share your decision. This introduces responsibility and accountability. No details needed, it may be as simple asking a friend to hangout on days that are hard. It may sound like, “I need to get out more, want to go to park?” Take the session to your life. Change is usually small movements over long periods of time.
Online therapy is not going away. Counseling is becoming more accessible and it can help restore hope in your healing journey.