How does online therapy work?

Video therapy works around you

If you are reading this post then you have most likely have just signed up to a course of face-to-face online video therapy.  First things first, congratulations!  Taking the first step in seeking therapy is often one of the hardest to make and you have done just that.  We're pretty confident that you'll find video therapy a convenient and discreet way to get effective and evidence-based therapy that works.

Video therapy is a great option for people who want treatment that fits in around their life - be that after-work evening sessions, daytime sessions when the kids are in nursery or weekend sessions set around your social commitments.  We've found that video therapy works well for those who travel a lot but want a continuous course of treatment, no matter their location.  It works equally well for those who are unable to travel and are seeking treatment from the comfort of their home.

Whatever your motivation for choosing face-to-face online video therapy, you are making the right choice for you.  You are joining thousands of people who have already benefitted from video therapy.

My Therapist Online from your kitchen table


What happens in my first appointment?

The purpose of your first session is mainly assessment, so the first appointment doesn't look like those that follow.

While every therapist has a different style, your first session will be spent getting to know you and the problems you would like to address in treatment.  Some therapists use a formal assessment structure and with others it may feel like a more free flowing conversation.

It is likely that your therapist will ask you a lot of questions about your main concerns, as well as your history and background, in order to get as full a picture as possible of the main factors in the development and maintenance of your problems.  It can sometimes take a few sessions to get a full picture.  Having a good understanding of your situation will form an important part of planning the best treatment for you.

Most importantly, in your first session, you will start to make a connection with your therapist.  You should feel safe, accepted, respected and reasonably comfortable.

By the end of the first session your therapist should be able to give you an idea about a potential treatment plan, outlining the sorts of interventions that will likely be used in your therapy.  The first session is also an opportunity for you to see whether this particular type of treatment is right for you.

After the assessment session, treatment can start.

 
My Therapist Online, phone and note pad
 
 

What about the tech?

Check your internet connection - Online video therapy requires a reliable and reasonably fast internet speed.  A good and steady connection makes online treatment sessions run as smoothly as possible.

Decide on which video platform you feel comfortable using - there are many options to choose from which can feel bamboozling.  Most of My Therapist Online therapy is currently conducted through Skype and FaceTime.  Chose a platform which you feel most familiar and comfortable with and make sure you have shared your username with your therapist.

Some popular options with links to download:

FaceTime - this is only compatible with Apple products (iPhones, Macs and iPads) and should already be available on your device

Google Hangouts - There is a quick plugin for Google Hangouts that requires a browser restart. You can download this from here — www.google.com/tools/dlpage/hangoutplugin

Skype - is very easy to download.  Click on the link and follow the download instructions for your device

Tips for decent call quality

Check your microphone and camera are working - you could arrange a test video call to a friend or family member to ensure both are working.

Plug in your device - Video drains your battery more than nearly any other program you can run on your computer.  If you are using a laptop or tablet, charge it to 100% or plug it in for your appointment.

Good lighting - Make sure you have good lighting, bright enough so your therapist can see your face.  Lights behind you can cause your face to be in shadow, so try to sit somewhere where there is either natural light or a light in front of your face.

Ensure your whole face can be seen. It is helpful for your therapist to be able to clearly see your expressions and emotions.  It might be helpful to raise your laptop, phone or tablet up on a few books so the camera is at your eye level.

Other items to have nearby during your appointment:

  • note pad and pen to take any useful notes during your appointment
  • a glass of water or warm drink
  • your power lead

What if the connection fails?

If you share your connection with others, it may be worth asking if they could limit other devices which could be slowing down your internet speed.

During your first appointment it is useful to discuss a plan with your therapist should the connection fail.  You may decide that your therapist will call you back and if all else fails you may need to exchange phone numbers as a back-up plan.

Other considerations

Try to be on time - Online therapy sessions work in exactly the same way as an in-office appointment, they will start and end on time. So it will be worth logging on five minutes before your appointment.

Don’t forget to pay in advance - Don’t leave this until five minutes before your appointment. Please ensure your first two weeks of sessions are paid for at least 48 hours in advance of starting your therapy.

 
 
My Therapist Online
 

What next?

Once you have completed the My Therapist Online registration form, we will put you directly in touch with your chosen therapist.  

Before your first appointment you will need:

  • to have confirmed with your therapist the date and time for your first online therapy session;
  • to have agreed which video platform you will be using for your therapy (FaceTime, Skype etc);
  • to have exchanged video link details and made initial contact (for example your therapist has invited you to be a connection on Skype).
 
My Therapist Online, Progress not perfection
Note pad and laptop.png
 

Do I need to prepare anything before my first appointment?

Before your first session, it can be helpful to consider what your goals for therapy are.  This preparation will ensure therapy focuses on what is most important to you.  Consider in what areas of your life you would most like to see changes and what successful change would look like.  

What other things do I need to consider?

We recommend you take a moment to consider your location for your therapy session and your privacy.

The flexibility of it being online means that, as long as you have an internet connection, you really can have your appointment anywhere.  You could be a work, at home or even on holiday for your session.

For a good quality therapy session we recommend you find a place where you have privacy and quiet.

Find somewhere that you know you will not be disturbed.  This way you can really concentrate on your appointment without distractions and with the confidence that nobody is listening to what you talk about.

Some people like to wear headphones which means what your therapist says remains for your ears only, and it can also help block out any background noise.

If you are expecting a delivery - you could consider leaving a note on your door to deliver to a neighbour or safe place.

If you are expecting someone to return midway through a session, you could also leave them a note reminding them that you have an online meeting.

Turn your mobile phone on to silent so it doesn't disturb you.

 
My Therapist Online from anywhere
 
Online Video Therapy from the comfort of your home
 
My Therapist online. Getting prepared for online therapy

Any questions?

We hope this helps you prepare for your first video therapy session and helps you to get the most out of your course of therapy.  If you have a question about anything covered in this post or would like any other information on getting started, please send us an email

My Therapist Online

If you are interested in speaking with a therapist, contact us directly by email for more information or register you interest via the link below or on our website.

I do hope we can help you to move towards your personal goals. 

 

To find an expert, fully qualified online therapist click on this link - www.mytherapistonline.co.uk/registration-clients

Email - info@mytherapistonline.co.uk

Website - www.MyTherapistOnline.co.uk

 

Lisa Johnston

Cognitive Behavioural Therapist