Prepare for Your First Virtual Therapy Session
Over the past few years, the world as we know it has changed. And nowhere is that more evident than in our online presence. Telemedicine existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now it's mainstream. You might feel a little odd about having a virtual therapy session instead of sitting in an office. But the benefits of a virtual therapy session far outweigh the potential drawbacks.
Of course, no matter whether you're in person or not, you want to make the most of therapy! It's okay to be nervous prior to your first session. Just be aware that there's absolutely no pressure. You deserve to have a therapist who truly clicks with you.
Here are some of the key things that you can do to prepare for your first session.
1. Know where you're going to be.
Okay, so you might be thinking that this is a silly question. Where will you be? Tucked in bed in your pajamas, probably!
What's important is that you carve out a specific time in your schedule. And you need to know where you're going to have the virtual therapy session. You've probably heard that virtual therapy can be done wherever you want, whenever you want. While that's sometimes true, you definitely want to have a distraction-free place where you feel safe.
2. Double-check your microphone and camera.
There's nothing more frustrating than entering a virtual therapy session... only to discover you can't be seen! Take some time before your session to test your webcam and microphone. Most websites will let you test both of these components prior to your meeting.
And you should be prepared for the fact that it might be a little awkward in the beginning. But hopefully only in the beginning! It can take some time to get deeply into the flow of conversation, especially with a mic to test.
Also, a virtual therapy session might feel strange at first if you've done traditional in-person therapy before. That's okay. It's definitely a different experience. Different doesn't mean bad, but it does take some getting used to.
On the other hand, you might be super practiced at online meetings now. Comparatively, maybe in-person appointments seem too intimidating!
3. Write down your questions.
The first virtual therapy session is largely a chance for us to get to know each other. Not only is your therapist learning about you, but you're also learning about your therapist!
If you're not sure what you want to talk about, that's okay. We can work together on coming up with goals and establishing plans. But the more you know going in, the easier it will be to communicate.
You can ask whatever questions you want. What are your qualifications? What types of therapy do you do? What kinds of issues are you most confident in treating? What do you recommend for this specific problem?
And you can express whatever you want. Maybe you have concrete goals already. Maybe you have feelings that you're struggling to process. Maybe you have habits you want to break or skills you want to learn.
The first virtual therapy session is a great place for getting those things out in the open. If you don't click with the first person you talk to, that's also okay. It's important that you feel like you can comfortably communicate with your therapist.
Therapy can be nerve-wracking! Plenty of clients are nervous prior to their first session. Just remember this: We're here to help you. All you really need to do is want the help. Everything else will fall into place.
All of the items on this list serve the purpose of making the session smoother and more comfortable. So to recap:
- Get cozy in a place where you feel safe and relaxed. If you need privacy, ask your roommates or other household members to make themselves scarce.
- Write down the things you want to talk about in the session so you don't forget them. But if you don't do this, it's okay!
- Test your equipment beforehand to help mitigate any technical difficulties. Hopefully your therapist won't have any, either -- we're still new to this, too!
Online therapy can feel very different from in-person sessions, but it's also extremely rewarding. As long as you get cozy, test your equipment, and know what you want to talk about, you'll be good to go!
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Greene Psychology Group offers a wide range of therapy services under the leadership of an experienced psychologist. Call us today at 919-205-5339 to schedule your in-person, teletherapy or online therapy visit.