This year has introduced a new definition of normal, for so many individuals around the world. From social distancing protocols to quarantining to contactless food delivery, 2020 has certainly made its presence felt. In the midst of a pandemic, many businesses have transitioned to an at-home environment, replacing in-person interaction with virtual meetings, digital workspaces and video conferencing.
This transition to online interaction has also affected the mental and behavioral health space. In-person therapy, counseling and treatment modalities have been largely replaced by online counseling practices, allowing you to connect with licensed healthcare providers from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re new to the concept of online counseling, you’re certainly not alone. So many individuals accustomed to receiving traditional, in-person therapy are now connecting with their counselors online for the first time. And if you’re not sure exactly where to start when it comes to preparing for online counseling, we’re ready to help.
Preparing your technology for an online counseling session
Before you start your online counseling session, you’ll want to make sure that your technology is ready to go. First, make sure that the online counseling platform your counselors use is both encrypted and HIPAA-compliant. And don’t feel bad about making sure that your licensed healthcare provider has taken these steps as well.
You’ll want to test all of your technology ahead of time, to make sure that everything is working before your online counseling session begins. If you’re going to be using your home internet connection for the online counseling session, test the connection itself to make sure that it supports video conferencing. If you’re concerned that your internet connection might not be stable enough to support online counseling, consider plugging your computer directly into your router via an Ethernet cable, to support the fastest possible internet speeds.
Make sure that you also take the time to test the speakers, headphones and/or microphone you’ll be using during your counseling session. Make sure that headphones are charged if they are battery-powered, make sure that your microphone is activated, and is plugged in if it needs to be connected via a USB cable. And finally, if you are going to be using a laptop to receive the counseling call, make sure that it has a full charge; preferably, you’ll also want to keep your computer plugged in during the call, to ensure that your computer retains a full battery and does not overheat.
Preparing yourself for an online counseling session
You’ll also want to prepare yourself for an online counseling session. When it comes to calming nerves and getting comfortable in preparation for online counseling, there are so many actions you can take to set yourself in the right frame of mind.
Here are just a few things you can to do stay calm and comfortable when preparing for an online counseling session:
- Practice simple breathing exercises to steady your heart rate
- Listen to calming music
- Write down your thoughts in an honest diary or journal entry
- Take a walk to breathe in fresh air and clear your mind
- Participate in meditation
- Give yourself simple hand massages
- Take a bath or a warm shower
- Adhere to healthy diet, exercise and sleep habits
These activities, and others, can help you establish a healthy, happy mindset before your online counseling session begins. In addition, take the time to change into an outfit you can be confident in. Whether you get your confidence flowing in a button-down shirt of your favorite pair of sweatpants, honest conversations between client and counselor often begin with comfortable participants.
Preparing your house for an online counseling session
It’s also a great idea to prepare your house before your online counseling session begins. As a first priority, make sure that any conversation with your therapist remains between you and them. If you’re worried that other individuals in your home could inadvertently overhear parts of your conversation, try using headphones to limit any leaking audio. It’s also a good idea to use a noise maker, or even a white noise app from a phone, set outside of your door to create a sound barrier between your conversation and anything else going on in your home.
It’s also worth noting that you do not need to take your call in your office, or in your bedroom. If there’s a place in your home – the kitchen, your living room couch, etc. – where you feel more comfortable, take the necessary steps to ensure that you can complete your online counseling session there. Ask other members of your household to rearrange their daily schedules, so that you can reserve the area of your house that’s most comfortable for you.
You can benefit from online counseling today
Don’t wait to receive the online counseling you know you need. The Light Program can help you take definitive steps to own your struggles against mental health challenges. Call (610) 644-6464 today, to take the first steps toward receiving life-changing mental health therapy. If you’re ready to explore treatment options, or if you simply want to learn more about The Light Program, feel free to fill out our easy online form. Reach out today, to take advantage of outpatient mental health treatment modalities that can help you turn the tide in your fight against mental health issues in your own life.