Samantha Praus, MSE, LPCC
Make Your Online Therapy Sessions More Comfortable & Enjoyable
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Many therapists and clients are meeting each other online instead of in-person at the office. Today’s society is extremely tech savvy, which has been especially helpful in transitioning, and living, our lives online during this pandemic. If you have been seeing a therapist or plan to see one this year, you are likely to meet for you sessions via teleconference. The following are suggestions to help make your teletherapy sessions more comfortable and enjoyable:
Wear comfy clothes - you can absolutely show up in sweats, an oversized sweatshirt or your pajamas!
Wear earphones or headphones - these help ensure that you have privacy during your sessions. Find a pair that is truly comfortable for you ears and test them out before your session. If you find that you are moving them around a lot or constantly touching them, you may want to opt-out of using them or find ones that are a better fit for you.
Put a noise machine outside of the room you plan to attend your session - this helps block out noise from other areas of the house. This also helps block out what others can hear from your session.
Show your therapist your space - I’d love to see some artwork around your house, your favorite place to hang out, the flowerbed in your back yard, the current book you’re reading or anything that is meaningful to you. Being able to see your space helps us feel more connected with each other. Plus, I’m truly invested in all of the things that make you, you, and this includes your personal space, your belongings and your interests.
Bring your tea, coffee, pop or snacks to your session - I don’t mind if you’re eating or drinking beverages throughout our sessions. I’m often shoving food in my mouth in-between sessions and I definitely get the need to just eat sometimes.
Sit somewhere that’s comfortable - find your favorite spot on the couch, sit in a reclining chair, lean up against the wall, sit at the kitchen table, or just meet me wherever is the most comfortable for you. I don’t expect you to have some fancy setup for your therapy sessions. Just be wherever you want or need to be at that time.
Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the lighting - the lighting situation is never going to be perfect when you meet me online. I’m not worried about whether or not there is a shadow on your face or if the light above you should be turned on or off. I don’t expect you to invest in one of those fancy ring lights just to attend your sessions. Just come to the session and if the light is bothersome to me, I will make sure to say something.
YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY SHOW ME ALL OF YOUR PETS - please, please, please show me your dog(s), cat(s), turtle, fish or whatever wonderful pets reside in your home. I’m absolutely not offended if your cat walks all over your lap, your dog barks loudly at somebody walking by, or you make comments about what your pet is doing throughout our time together. I love pets and I will especially love to meet your pet(s).
Do an activity during your session - you can knit, bake cookies, draw, garden, clean or go for a walk during your session. I don’t mind, and in fact, this may feel much more comfortable than just sitting and staring into the screen for 50 minutes. So, feel free to do something with your hands or move your body!
Speaking of staring into the screen, try not to focus too much on looking at yourself on the screen during our sessions - feel free to use a post-it note to cover-up your image so you can focus on seeing your therapist and not yourself. I want you to be able to enjoy your session and not worry so much about your self-image. Worrying about the way you look and how you present on the screen actually takes away from our session by causing you to be distracted and less engaged in our discussion. So, focus on me or use the suggestion above and do an activity during your session so you don't feel like you are stuck staring at the screen.
I'm not doing anything fancy for our sessions and you absolutely do not have to go out of your way to look, be or do anything spectacular for our sessions either. With time, you’ll ease into the feel of the video sessions and eventually you’ll find a space and routine that works best for your online therapeutic process.
If you have questions about any of the suggestions above, please do not hesitate to reach out. I'm happy to help you navigate any questions or concerns you may have inn regards to online therapy.