“Hold On While I place This Order!” Do’s and Don’ts for Online Therapy

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If you were in therapy before the pandemic, you may remember actually going to your therapist’s office; a place that was designed to be a safe, quiet and secure environment. You would take the time to get yourself ready and then travel to that environment, to meet your therapist who had a time set aside to focus on you.  The commute itself was an opportunity to mentally prepare yourself for the session ahead. Once physically in the office, you had to sit up in a chair… and wear pants.

Even though it is not possible for all of us to have this same quiet environment, especially in crowded homes or small apartments, we should make an effort to follow those previously unspoken guidelines. This goes for therapists as much as for the clients.

We should make it a point to bring some of the unspoken rules, courtesies and formalities of in-person therapy into the online-therapy style. This is true for clients as well as for therapists. While you will see a bit of humor in this post, you will also see that the main point is this: Therapy, online or in person, is your time and it deserves to be prioritized and, when possible, uninterrupted.

Talking with your therapist about a childhood trauma while merging into traffic? Don’t.

Getting ready for the rest of your day during a therapy session? Don’t.

Asking your therapist to hold so you can order fast food? Nope.

Even though it is not possible for all of us to have this same quiet environment, especially in crowded homes or small apartments, we should make an effort to follow those previously unspoken guidelines. This goes for therapists as much as for the clients.

DO’s:

Present yourself like you would in the office.

Try your best to choose a good place for your appointment and stay there for the duration. Is a closet or bathroom your only private space? That’s okay.

Turn your ringer off, or better yet put your phone away. Everyone knows when you are texting.

Get up and out of bed.

Take a few moments before and after your session, like you would during a commute, before re-entering your workspace or family-life; pause, reflect, resonate.

This is still YOUR time. Treat it as a priority.

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