Before March, Online Therapy was an option implemented by therapists and requested by clients for convenience and ease. It has now become a necessity and the new norm. As times are more trying and clients are needing significant support, both therapists and clients alike are adapting to this new platform.
There have always been benefits to Online Therapy. Flexibility, convenience, comfort, and accessibility. With families learning how to manage work at home, and creating secure spaces for each member to “work” in, creating the therapeutic relationship on line with new clients is a new learning curve as a therapist.
Here are a few tips that might be helpful.
The most important aspect is creating the confidential space that is inherent in an office setting. Discussing with a new client, or a new client's parents, that finding a quiet, secure place in the home is imperative to creating a positive working relationship with the client.
If you are working with kids, suggest to the parent to have any of the tools you might have in your office available in the space designated for therapy. I have found the majority of young clients take the Zoom calls in their rooms, and depending on age, sometimes the parents are present to help facilitate games and art, but mostly the kids and adolescents are thrilled to bring you into their world/room.
For adult clients, suggesting time that limits any interruptions or conflict for time. You don’t want kids popping in, or clients running late because they are trying to get their kids settled. Help your clients come up with appropriate vocabulary to explain to family members the boundary of private time, and if comfortable to even educate other family members on the benefits of therapy and how that support is helpful at times like we are experiencing now.