“It’s amazing what I have learnt during online counselling. I still turn up late even though I am in my own home! Doing this has shown me how scared I am of relationships in general. I want connection but I find loads of self sabotaging ways of not letting myself have it. I find it hard to trust because my father always criticised me which has left me untrusting and scared. I feel better knowing how it is me that gets in my own way. I have hope this can change. For years I have believed people didn’t like me. It was me that didn’t like me.“
“Online therapy has shown me much more about myself that I wouldn’t have discovered for a long time by going to the therapists room. I am in charge of my surroundings not her. At first I saw her from my kitchen which was all white and sparse.We meet in my living room now and i have let her see my pictures and books. I see this as being more ok with being seen. I have also joined other online groups and even a party. I feel determined these new connections will inspire me to be braver when we start to socialise again.”
“I have found it difficult to adjust to being online as my house has thin walls and my children are upstairs. Me and my counsellor now wear ear plugs so we can speak quietly. It’s really good now. I so need to talk at this time, more so than before lockdown.”
Instead of sitting in a room with a counsellor or therapist, you and they are sitting in your own private spaces, using a secure video communication tool such as Zoom, Facetime or Whatsap, so that you can see and hear each other, and talk together for the normal fifty minute therapy sessions.
During this time of coronavirus and countrywide lockdown , when meetings of any kind are strictly limited, online therapy is the best option for getting the support that you need.
For some people who are used to travelling to their therapist’s practice rooms, sitting with their therapists for 50 minutes and then going home, the idea of online therapy may feel strange, off putting or intimidating. The concern may be that you will not feel the same degree of connection to your therapists and to your own emotions. There is no doubt that online therapy is different than the usual face to face experiences, however many people get used to it very quickly, and find it helpful and supportive. You can feel connected to your therapist, and you will be able to speak openly and connect to your feelings. There may also be concerns about the therapist ‘coming into your home’ since they will be able to see you in your own space. With this in mind it is important to select carefully where in your home, you will feel most comfortable having therapy.
For other people, the idea of not having to sit under the close watchful eye of the therapist might be a relief and a release. Online sessions can facilitate an opening up which face to face work takes much longer to achieve. The safety of being in your own space can be helpful to some people.
The most important think for online therapy and counselling to work is for you, as the client, to have a private room from which to contact your therapist, where you can be sure that you will not be overheard, and you will not be interrupted for fifty minutes. It goes without saying that you also need good internet connectivity. You also need to be comfortable in a chair that you can use every time you speak to your therapist, and make a commitment to staying in that space and chair for the full session time. If possible it would be good to use a space which you are not normally in every day so that the sessions feel special and different. However, it is true that many people will not have this luxury. If their are children around, then negotiate to have sessions when they are not in the house, if possible. You want as few distractions as possible so that you can focus on you.
Having said all of the above, if you do not have a good internet connection but do have a landline, then you can , instead have therapy on the phone. What is important is that you and your therapist find the best way to maintain communication and connection during this difficult time.