Creating the Right Atmosphere for Your Online Couples Therapy Session

Creating the Right Atmosphere for Your Online Couples Therapy Session

Opting to start couples therapy online with a relationship therapist is a positive step toward working together and working through any problems or challenges you may be facing. There are many benefits of online therapy, particularly for couples with busy schedules, hectic lifestyles, and childminding to consider.

With so many relationship therapists working online currently, virtual therapy also allows you to be more selective about finding the right professional therapist you wish to work with because you are not restricted by their, or your, location. Plus, the ease and convenience of checking in online for virtual therapy makes it is easier for couples to schedule and attend sessions with minimal interruption to everyday life.

While online therapy relieves many worries, there is one important aspect that needs to be taken into consideration: the environment you plan to hold your sessions in.

Successful outcomes in relationship therapy are largely based on engagement in the therapy process, trust in your couple’s therapist, and how you and your partner interact together in, and out of, the therapy room.

Creating the right atmosphere for your online therapy session has a strong influence on your ability to engage in therapy and with each other. Therefore the atmosphere affects your overall therapeutic experience, particularly in the early days.

In traditional face-to- face therapy, your therapist is the one responsible for creating the perfect environment and conditions for your therapy sessions. They provide a quiet and private space, comfortable seating, soft lighting, plus other necessities like water, pens and paper for notes, and tissues when tearful emotions arise. There are no interruptions, distractions, or incidents that could disrupt your valuable time together within the therapeutic space. That hour of couples therapy is a concentrated, and often intense, experience together because the therapist has considered all of the conditions on your behalf.

The opposite is true with online therapy. Here, the couples are responsible for creating the right environment and atmosphere for a successful online session and many aspects of this are completely out of the therapist’s control. It is now up to the couples to consider all of the small and practical elements of the session in advance that would create the perfect atmosphere for couples therapy.

Creating the perfect atmosphere is simple, you just need to plan ahead with a few practical and technical considerations. Check out the article preparing for your first online couples therapy session together for more tips.

Creating the right atmosphere for your online therapy session has a strong influence on your ability to engage in therapy and with each other.

The couples must consider and prepare their environment for the session in advance. They must decide on the most comfortable place to sit together for the duration of the session; the kitchen table, home office, or quiet living room space works well for most couples. Find a space that feels comfortable, private, and completely free from distractions.

These considerations will be completely new challenges for couples just starting out with online therapy, and it might feel like a lot to take on initially, but the preparation will be worth it. Practice makes perfect, and most of these practical arrangements will come naturally to you both in just one or two sessions.

Of course, we understand it is not possible to control every little detail, but with a little preparation and planning, together you can create the perfect environment for your online couples therapy session.

The Practical Things to Consider

Distractions are bound to arise, but you can certainly try to be as prepared as possible. Remember to have water, tissues, and a pen and paper within arm’s reach. Ensure that you are in a well-lit area so your therapist can see you and your partner clearly. Make sure you are both sitting comfortably and able to keep warm in the space for your session.

Also, you should aim to predict and avoid potential disruptions to your session. While we all love our pets, they are the one of the most common session distractions for clients! As much as possible, try to keep pets outside of the room for the duration of your session. And if you have a busy household, post a “Do Not Disturb” note outside your door to avoid the potential for family to interrupt.

The Technical Stuff to Think About    

There are a few technical considerations that naturally come up when working and meeting online. Ideally, you would use a PC, laptop, or tablet for your virtual session because the screen size is bigger and this makes it easier for you and your therapist to see each other. You’ll also want to ensure you have a strong connection; do this by closing all other apps and, browsers on your device and by turning off any background noise like TV or radio. Be sure to put your phones on silent and out of sight for the length of the session as they are another common distraction during online therapy.

Most therapists use HIPPA compliant and secure telemedicine software like DOXY for online therapy, which will have a Pre-call Test function for you to click before the session starts to check the audio and visual quality. Complete the test and turn the volume up so you and your partner can easily hear your therapist in sessions. Unfortunately, headphones cannot be used for couples therapy, so it becomes even more important to make sure all background noise is reduced.

You should also log in five minutes before the start of your session to ensure you have the correct link and that your sound and audio are working well.

We all expect technical hitches from time to time and have learned to be flexible while working virtually. With a little bit of preparation, you and your partner can create the perfect atmosphere for your couples therapy session. And a positive virtual therapy experience ensures you will both feel committed and motivated to continue therapy together. Find out more at www.orlaghgahan.ie or read more about online therapy and couples therapy via my blog.

Preparing For Your First Online Couples Therapy Session Together

Preparing For Your First Online Couples Therapy Session Together

How do we prepare for an online couples therapy session?

Deciding to get the help of a relationship therapist face to face or online can feel like a big decision, one that sometimes takes a long time to make.  Preparing for your first online couples therapy session could be the difference between a positive or negative experience of online therapy.

These days couples seek out professional relationship therapists for all types of reasons and not just because there is a breakdown in their relationship. They are often looking for support, guidance and direction on how best to address concerns and worries relating to health, family and lifestyle. Unfortunately, many couples wait too long to seek professional help and support so it can take time to work backwards through any difficulties they are experiencing. Some couples seek out therapy to re-couple or de-couple effectively following a relationship breakdown.

Now that many Psychotherapists and Relationship Counsellors are available online it will make accessing couples therapy a more viable and realistic option. Online therapy is convenient, efficient and has many different types of benefits compared with traditional face to face therapy particularly for couples who have hectic schedules, live apart or who have childcare restrictions. There are also differences between online therapy and traditional face to face therapy – but different does not mean less effective so it helps to be prepared. Book your first online couples therapy  appointment here. 

Getting the most out of your first online couples therapy session together is important. For many couples it will also be the first-time meeting with their relationship therapist and understanding how therapy works. Hopefully, you will have been able to find the right relationship counsellor for you both.

Online therapy is convenient, efficient and has many different types of benefits compared with traditional face to face therapy particularly for couples who have hectic schedules, live apart or who have childcare restrictions.

Here are some simple tips to help you both be prepared and ready for your first online couples therapy session.

Timing. Book appointment times that suit you both which will ensure you are not stressed starting the appointment or interrupted by anything or anyone. I ask my couples to sit down for 5 or 10 minutes before their session starts to check-in with each other and talk about they what would like to bring up in therapy.

Comfort. Decide on a comfortable space to do your session, ideally this will be a quiet bright room where you can both sit side by side together facing your online therapist. I notice couples work best when sitting together on the couch or at a kitchen table close to their device. Relax and settle yourselves ahead of your session, make each other a cup of coffee and settle down.

Privacy. Being comfortable and relaxed will help you both to open-up and talk honestly about how you are feeling, this is at the core of effective couple’s therapy. Reduce the risk of interruptions from family or children so that you can talk comfortably.

Device. Ideally do your online sessions on a laptop, PC or larger size tablet which has a good camera and audio. This means your therapist will be able to see and hear you both clearly all through the session. A phone is not ideal for regular ongoing therapy sessions as it is difficult for the therapist to see you both.

Internet Connection. Make sure you have a good strong internet signal on your device. Turn off the wi-fi on your phones and anything else that may reduce internet connection for the duration of your session. Closedown all applications, notifications and any other software that may interrupt you both. A poor-quality signal may mean the session will have to end abruptly.

Lighting. Good quality lighting means that your therapist will be able to see you both well. Verbal communication is only a small percentage of actual communication, so they need to be able to see you both clearly. Turn on an overhead light or have a table light close by.

Preparation. Its always a great idea to be mentally prepared for your therapy sessions. Write down notes, thoughts or questions that you would like to raise in the session. Its helpful for couples to talk together ahead of appointments and agree on specific topics or problems. It does not matter if you do not agree on what you want to discuss as both opinions are important.

Mindset. Online couples therapy is best suited to couples who are focused on finding solutions and some common ground to deal with their relationship problems and concerns. It is not ideal for couples who are in a high conflict or distressed state unless you have agreed with the therapist in advance that online therapy is a suitable intervention. Being in a high conflict state means that one or both partners are very emotive and will be unable to listen, talk or empathise effectively with each other or their therapist.

Communication. Both individuals need to be able to express themselves, respect each other while talking and engage in active listening. Criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling during sessions will make online therapy sessions completely ineffective. Make a decision to try work together for the duration of your online couple’s therapy session even if you both have different feelings, opinions and agendas.

Expectations. It takes time for the couple’s therapy process to develop. The first few sessions will be focusing on assessing the problems and factors which are affecting the relationship. With sessions often limited to one hour at a time, it may take several sessions before you feel any intervention or progress is being made. Committing to at least six couples therapy sessions together will give you a good idea of how beneficial they are for you both, bearing in mind that relationship counselling is often a medium to longer term process over months.

Follow the instructions provided by your therapist well in advance of your session to start your online therapy sessions. Depending on the software they use, you may need to download software, create an account or profile. I use DOXY.ME which means my clients just need to click on a secure link to access the virtual therapy room.

Can we do online couples therapy sessions in different locations?  

Yes. Online couples therapy sessions can be done from the same location or separate locations depending on your relationship counsellor. If you are in different locations, both individuals will log into the virtual therapy room at the time the appointment starts and a group call will commence together. This type of therapy group call can take some time to get use to but will be suitable for couples residing in different locations or countries.

Do you want to start therapy? To book an individual online therapy session or online couples therapy session please CLICK HERE to view, book and pay for an appointment with me. You can find out more at www.orlaghgahan.ie 

Online Therapy – Could Online Therapy Help You and What Are The Benefits

Online Therapy – Could Online Therapy Help You and What Are The Benefits

Bad weather, travel disruptions, illness, crisis or just simple convenience, whatever your reasons for turning to online therapy, you can now talk to a professional therapist in the comfort of your own home, work and abroad.

Talking to a professional therapist is getting easier thanks to the internet and new technology and it has so many great benefits. Online therapy is convenient, effective and allows you to talk to a professional therapist in the comfort of your own home, at work or from anywhere around the world when you need it most.

One of the top advantages of talking to a therapist online is that you are no longer restricted geographically by location when it comes to finding the right professional therapist for you. You can literally search the world for someone who you feel suits your needs best. Online therapy is increasingly popular with all types of people, particularly those who are already comfortable communicating and working online both socially or professionally.

Counsellors and psychotherapist are trained to provide professional therapeutic support to people in a time of crisis or who are effected by an unexpected traumatic event.

Who can benefit from online counselling?

Online therapy is suitable for all types of people, profiles and professions. It is particularly popular with people who are already using the internet on a daily basis and for those newbies to e-counselling, it shouldn’t take too long to get the hang off. Clients with disabilities and medical conditions who may be restricted physically can now access therapy without needing to leave home.

Online therapy is a great option for the Irish ex-pat community abroad as it allows native Irish people to talk to a professional therapist who they feel they can connect and identity with better than perhaps a local speaking therapist.

New mothers and parents who are often restricted by childcare can now get the support of a professional therapist online without having to leave home or arrange childcare.

Professionals with hectic schedules and busy diaries, shift workers and anyone struggling with work life balance may find online therapy more suitable to their demanding lifestyle.

Business owners and the self-employed who cannot afford to spend time leaving their office to get to a therapy practice and also businesses who want their staff and managers to access therapy from the workplace can benefit for online therapy. Essentially online counselling can be beneficial to many people who want to talk to a professional in confidence virtually at the click of a button.

What are the benefits of online therapy?

The obvious benefits of online therapy are accessibility and convenience. Being able to talk to a professional therapist in the comfort of your home or work saves time, money and potential stress travelling and parking.

There are several other benefits you may not have thought off that might make you seriously consider going online for therapy and finding a therapist.

Typically, therapist who work online provide an online booking system on their website which means you can view, book and schedule your appointments online without having to phone and check if their diary suits your schedule.

Most online booking systems allow you to reschedule or cancel appointments directly saving you time and hassle if something come’s up that means you can’t get to your scheduled appointment. This is really handy for most people, particularly professionals and parents who know that things can come up unexpectedly.

Most online therapist and counsellors provide online payment facilities so that you can pay for your appointment in advance using your credit or debit card. No more needing to get to the ATM to withdrawn cash ahead of your appointment.

The nature of online therapy means that you can spend time researching and finding the right therapist for your needs around your country and even the world rather than being restricted to a therapist that is local to your area who may not be the right type of therapist. With online therapist directories such as onlinecounselling.com and psychologytoday.com you can profile therapists who specialise in specific fields, problems, conditions, faiths and therapy models which may be the best fit for not only your specific needs but also your unique personality.

Many professional therapists are trained in either general counselling and/or specific fields and they also have a perfect client which they know they work best with and get good results. That perfect client could be you. Finding the right therapist fit can mean getting results and making progress faster. Make sure to read up on their website bio to check if they have related training in the problems you are experiencing.

Online therapy can be a positive therapeutic intervention in a time of crisis. Crisis’s happen unexpectedly and being able to talk to a professional therapist quickly and conveniently can be the difference between coping well or not being able to function at all.  Counsellors and psychotherapist are trained to provide professional therapeutic support to people in a time of crisis or who are effected by an unexpected traumatic event.

When is online counselling not appropriate?

While online therapy has many benefits, it is also not the best option for everyone. Clients who are well used to the intimacy of face to face therapy in the room with their therapist may find it difficult to adapt of virtual therapy. It also requires a level of technical ability and may not be suited to people who find it difficult to use computers and the internet in general. People who find it difficult to communicate and express themselves may find online therapy an unsuitable and more challenging. It is also not suitable for anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Finally, men and women who are experiencing severe mental health problems, risk of self-harm and suicidal tendencies are recommended to seek advice from their medical professional directly and attend traditional face to face professional therapy instead of online counselling.

Therapists like myself who work online with clients regularly are used to helping make new clients feel more comfortable with online therapy.  Just like with regular face to face therapy it takes time to get used to talking with your therapist online and develop a therapeutic relationship. Preparing for your online therapy session in advance can make all the difference to your online counselling experience.

If you would like to find out more about online therapy and online counselling visit www.orlaghgahan.ie

Professionals can connect with me on DOXY.ME,  SKYPE at orlagh.gahan or via Linkedin.

Online Therapy – 10 Ways To Prepare For Your Online Counselling Session

Online Therapy – 10 Ways To Prepare For Your Online Counselling Session
Online therapy has many advantages in today’s modern fast paced world where time is precious and accessibility is essential. It allows you to be able to talk to your chosen professional therapist in the comfort of your own home, workplace or while travelling abroad about anything that is on your mind.

Online counselling is a different experience from being face to face in the same room as your local therapist so making sure your online session goes smoothly for you both is important. 

For many people, especially those comfortable with working and communicating online already, it is a convenient and increasingly popular way to access professional therapy with the right therapist for you.

Being prepared for your first session can greatly improve your overall personal experience of online therapy so that you will want to keep working and connecting with your chosen therapist. Online counselling is a good way to focus on self-care and personal development while also addressing any problems you may be experiencing.

It may be a completely new experience for you to talk to a professional therapist about your inner world and put words on your thoughts and feelings, but rest assured you’re in good hands. Any type of personal therapy be it face to face or online takes time to get used to. Your therapist should guide and support you through your online therapy session.

As you establish a relationship with your therapist you will hopefully get more comfortable talking to them over the course of your online sessions just like traditional couch therapy. Try to relax and be yourself as much as possible.

How Can I Get Ready For My Online Counselling Session?

Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your online counselling sessions. These are my tips combined with some great advice for online counsellors from Clay Cockrell, an online counselling expert and founder of onlinecounselling.com. I hope these will help you get the most out of your next online counselling sessions. To book an online therapy session click here

BE PREPARED. Make sure that you have the correct platform access and contact links for your counsellor before your session starts. I often use SKYPE for online therapy, and I connect with my clients via SKYPE the day they book their session so there are no delays on the day of therapy. Depending on the platform your therapist is using you may need to download software and set up a new account in advance. Read up on any emails your therapist sends you well before your session, these may also contain important details regarding client patient confidentiality.

GOOD LIGHTING. Visually it’s important that your therapist can see you clearly during your online video sessions. It can be helpful to be in a bright room or have a desk lamp close to your laptop or device to improve lighting quality around your face and upper body. Therapists are trained to read body language, facial expressions and visual ques so good quality lighting can enhance the communication and connection between you both and allow for a better sense of eye contact.

INTERNET CONNECTION. Good quality internet connection means that your online therapy session won’t be interrupted. To help improve your internet connection and network speed close down all other applications on your PC. This will also prevent you from being distracted by any PC notifications, messages or pop-ups during the session.

GOOD QUALITY SOUND. Using earbuds or headphones will greatly improve the quality of your conversation with your online therapist. They will ensure that you can hear every word that your therapists is saying and helps drown out distracting background noise. Wearing earbuds can help keep you more focused during sessions. They may take some time to get used to at first, if it feels difficult to adjust to using them you can reduce to one if that feels more comfortable.

BACKUP PLAN. In the possible event of poor internet connection or a PC crashing which can happen unexpectedly on the day, it’s helpful to have your therapists contact number to hand so that sessions can continue over the phone rather than ending abruptly due to IT problems.

RELAX. It can take some time to adjust to talking to a therapist via video-link as you start to develop a therapeutic relationship and get to know your therapist and share your inner world. Relax and try to enjoy the experience as your therapists guides you through the process. Sessions will generally have a good flow with a natural start, middle and end feel to them.

PRIVACY. Ideally find a quiet comfortable private room away from any distractions so that you do not need to worry about being overheard or interrupted during your online therapy session.

GOOD COMMUNICATION. Always face your video cam so that your therapist can see and hear you clearly. Try not to cover your face or mouth and sit comfortably close to your laptop or device. Your therapist will be doing the same. Don’t be afraid to tell them if you are having difficulty hearing and seeing them from your side.

GET COMFORTABLE. We want you to get the most out of your online therapy session so it’s important that you can really talk openly and let your therapist understand your world. Good therapy is about relationship building. The more comfortable you are during your session the more you will relax, open-up and be honest about how you are really feeling. Find yourself a comfortable space to sit for the session, get yourself a coffee if that helps you to relax while talking, whatever works for you. Some clients use diaries or notebooks for note taking and sharing during sessions.

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS. Clients can expect a lot from personal therapy in the first few sessions. They are often hoping therapy will ‘fix’ their situation or that the therapist will tell them exactly what to do. Remember online therapy is a talk therapy and is not prescriptive. The first few sessions are often about giving you space to talk openly and freely about your circumstances, getting your thoughts inline so that both you and your therapist can assess and get a better understanding of the situation or problem before any intervention is explored. Talking and expressing yourself is therapeutic and healing and is a large part of the therapeutic process even if you do not feel like you are making any practical headway. I like clients to end sessions with one or two simple practical things they can focus on between sessions.

 

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