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What Does Virtual Therapy Look Like?

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

There are many different set-ups that can be used for virtual therapy. Your therapist will send you a specific link for whichever platform they utilize. The video platforms used typically conforms to the federal HIPAA regulations. Also, you may be using almost any type of video device.

Here are some basic things to be aware of when preparing for a virtual therapy session.:

  1. Make sure you have a confidential and secure space. For example, do you need a lock on the door to ensure privacy? Sometimes people go to their cars for privacy. If others are around and can hear through the door you may want to place a fan or music directly on the other side of the door (or wall) to function as a white noise machine. This should drown out your voice. There are also white noise apps you can download on smartphones and tablets.

  2. Make sure no one else is in the room. If you are inviting someone into your therapy session please let your therapist know prior to the session so that you can sign the appropriate consent forms.

  3. If you are in a car, make sure that it is parked in a safe location. Therapists are not allowed to hold sessions with clients who are driving as this is a safety hazard.

  4. Your therapist will ask for your exact location, along with a backup phone number in case the connection is lost.

  5. Security of internet connection. Make sure to only use secure wifi connections. Therefore, using a Starbucks wifi would not be considered secure since others who are on that same wifi network can potentially access your information.

  6. Check the strength of your connection. Due to the enhanced security, many of the platforms used for video sessions will use more bandwidth than programs such as FaceTime or Skype.

  7. Make sure to close all other apps or webpages that are open, as they can use the internet in the background and create connection problems.

  8. Turn off any devices that could record the session. For example, make sure Alexa is off and the microphone settings are off for apps. The therapist should also not record the session unless this has been discussed beforehand.

  9. Devices: You can use virtually any device. However, devices with larger screens will likely me more comfortable.

    • Make sure that your device is placed securely on a table or other stable mount and that you are in a comfortable position. This way you can relax better during the session.

    • Try to place your device so that the camera is just at or above eye level to for better eye contact during session.

    • Turn on the “do not disturb” function on the device so that other messages do not come through during the session.

    • Some people prefer to use headphones during the call.

Final Thoughts

Be aware that most therapist can only see a client who is located in a state that they are licensed in. For example, a therapist who is licensed in Washington State will likely not be able to see someone who is physically located in California without also being licensed in California.

For the most comfortable experience, practice doing a video call with your desired therapy set up prior to your initial session. It is also advisable to test your internet connection just prior to the session. Many medical platforms have a test that you can use on the video platform.

If problems do arise during session with the technology, know that your therapist is there to work with you. This happens. Often resetting the program will alleviate issues. You many also need to switch to the telephone. Typically, the more you engage in visual therapy, the more natural it feels.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended for medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

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