Having psychotherapy or Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy sessions online hopefully should not differ greatly from the experience of therapy you may have when you meet with your therapist in person. However, there are some important differences that have to be taken into account when deciding if the service is suitable for you.
Generally, online therapy is better suited to people who are not experiencing severe emotional distress, but who need a professional to help them reflect on their current difficulties, break negative patterns and facilitate change.
I can help you make that decision if you are unsure, as I always assess clients for online suitability during the initial session. If I feel that your relationship difficulties are such that the physical presence of the therapist is recommended, I will say so.
Therapy sessions take place using a video call platform such as Zoom or FaceTime, or Skype. There are many platforms that can be used effectively for therapy and we will decide together which one is best for your needs.
To get ready for an online therapy session you will need first of all a fast internet connection, as this is fundamental to have a smooth video link that doesn’t break up mid session. High-definition video calling requires an upload and download speed of at least 1.2 megabits per second.
You will need to set aside a regular time for your sessions, usually an hour a week, when you have access to your quiet place.
You will need to have a quiet room available in your house or office where you can sit when you have a session, where you know you will not be disturbed and where other people outside the room won’t be able to hear you.
You will have to make sure that you are sitting comfortably so that you are not distracted mid session by your back hurting!
If you are having couple therapy, ideally you will be sitting on a sofa or chairs next to each other so that you can be both be visible at the same time on your device’s camera. Again, please make sure you are comfortable and have water and tissues ready, if needed during the session.
The most important difference perhaps is that, when you are having a session via a video link, your body language and non-verbal signals may not be visible to me fully, and at times this can lead to misunderstandings, as I may be missing a valuable non-verbal cue. Usually this is not a big problem as through dialogue and clarifications we can make up for the missing non-verbal cues, but it’s nevertheless important to be aware of this.