Is Seeing a Therapist Online Weird?
If you have doubts about online therapy, you aren’t alone. Therapy is “supposed” to take place in a cozy, soothing office, with diffused essential oils, gentle lighting, and calming music, right? Often, therapy DOES look like that and, with growing frequency, it looks like video chat from your favorite chair.
Why is Michelle excited about online therapy?
I’m excited to see this increase in online therapy, primarily because it increases accessibility for several groups of people. No more commuting at rush hour for a session after work or driving into town from a more rural home. Additionally. if you have a chronic illness or a disability, even if the provider is rather close, simply getting out of the house can use up more spoons than the therapy itself. Likewise, parents and other caregivers often struggle to arrange appropriate care for their children or family member, a concern that can be mitigated by accessing the therapist from their own home.
Is it complicated?
Online therapy is fairly simple, and you likely already have the technology. I use a platform called Doxy.me, which is HIPPA compliant and free for you.It works on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. I’ll be in my office, but you can be at your home, your office, or even your car. I’ll send you email directions, and I’m happy to talk you through it. If you are tech savvy enough to use your phone to text, email, or even make an actual phone call, you are tech savvy enough to do online therapy, even if you don’t know how to video chat right at this moment.
What about privacy?
First, please be assured that I am doing everything on my end to ensure your confidentiality. I use a HIPPA compliant electronic health record (EHR); it’s the same one I would use with face-to-face clients.I have two platforms for the actual video chat (just in case of technical difficulties). One is through my EHR. The other is doxy.me, which was created from a government grant specifically as a HIPPA compliant web-based, free, video chat for tele-health. I see my online clients in my home office, a place that I maintain meticulously in order to protect your privacy.
What if I don’t have an office of my own?
Sometimes people have concerns about finding or creating a good place within their own lives and spaces for therapy. First, please know that clients can use any space they want. I recommend someplace reasonably quiet and private; bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, and even cars are places where clients have participated in therapy. I recommend a space that is reasonably private and quiet. For an additional layer of privacy, you can wear earbuds, which at least quiets my voice. If roommates or family members are still a concern, some ideas include: arranging for them to wear earbuds, closing doors, meeting in unconventional spaces (my parents once had a closet bigger than my first dorm room, complete with carpet and furniture), going to opposite sides or different floors, arranging appointments for times when they are unlikely to be home, or even coordinating with them for a time when they will not be home.
Finally, a moment of self-disclosure: I’m actively involved in my own therapy. Sometimes, it happens online. The first couple of times, I felt self-conscious. The shelf behind me is SO messy! Can they see my pores as thoroughly as I can? Is my face really that shiny without makeup? After a few sessions, though, the self-consciousness dissipated, and the sessions felt as safe, contained, and connected as they had before.
Want to give it a try? Email me to set up a free thirty minute phone or video chat consultation.