Virtual and Tele-counselling
Currently, in response to public health recommendations surrounding COVID-19, counselling appointments are limited to occur via secure video and tele-counselling platforms. This form of connection will continue to be offered as a service following the lift of restrictions, to ensure accessibility for those who either need or desire remote counselling.
Initially, you may feel apprehensive about opening yourself up through such means. Reaching out for support takes a lot of courage, and without the opportunity to connect in-person, you may feel uncertain about the counselling process, wonder how the relationship between you and I will unfold, or feel concerned about confidentiality. Let’s work together to figure this out!
Keep reading for some helpful hints on how to engage with online therapy and how to obtain the most from your counselling experience.
- To ensure your comfort and ability to speak freely, please ensure you’re in a private space, with a strong internet connection and full battery power on your electronic device.
- Consider logging in to the virtual platform that is to be used for your session 5-10 minutes early. This will provide ample time to connect your audio and video, and if any technical issues arise, you may address them before your session begins.
- Do your best to free yourself from potential distractions. This may mean temporarily disabling notifications on other devices, email, or text, requesting someone watch over your child(ren), and/or seeking out a quiet space for your session.
- You may want to turn off or hide your reflective camera, should this cause additional distraction or distress.
- If you are participating in a group, please turn off your audio speaker when not in direct discussion with the facilitator or other members. This will limit any disruptions that may arise from background noise and/or connection issues.
- If you have access to a device with a larger screen, such as a computer or tablet, the enhanced visual may permit an experience that is closer to an in-person session. Use larger devices if you think this will help you feel most connected.
- Using headphones may also help to enrich the experience of privacy and connection.
- Try to remind yourself that we’re doing the same work we would be in-person. Yes we are connecting through a screen, but the benefits of counselling can still be accessed in full.
- Experiment with accessing an additional online network or group, outside of session. This may help you to become comfortable with the virtual format, without the emotional layer that may be present when discussing your concerns in counselling.
- Discuss your concerns about online therapy and the relationship we are building. I am here to support you and your individual needs. If there are modifications we can make to increase your experience of comfort, let’s go there.
- Therapy, online or otherwise, can provide a safe space to explore and foster healing. To get the most out of your session, try to bring content that you feel would be most beneficial to explore and most relevant to your individual life experiences.
- Reminder: The power to heal is within you! The means through which you are accessing support does not erase your ability to begin exploring what challenges you, and does not denote the effort you’ve made to bring yourself to counselling. You’re showing up and that, in itself, is a huge success!