What to Expect from Online Counseling

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Online counseling is easy and convenient. If you're a skeptic, this article is for you.
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With all the suggestions for social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, I will be taking a proactive approach and moving all my sessions to an online format. I’ll be following the school system in Nashville, TN, meaning if school is out, I’ll be online! At this moment, I expect to be online through April, and possibly through May.

Some people are hesitant to switch to an online setting, but honestly, most of my clients haven’t had any trouble switching for this season. After the initial “walk me through this technology thing”, it’s felt like any normal therapy session!

However, with the kids out of school, and maybe a partner or spouse at home also trying to take conference calls, juggling who is doing what can be TOUGH. And a little chaotic.

So, I’ve come up with some suggestions and guidelines to keep your confidentiality—and your sanity—during this COVID-19 chaos.

First: Confidentiality

With Teletherapy, you will be in charge of confidentiality limitations in your own environment. This means you’ll need to be sure you’re in a quiet and “confidentially sound” location (as in, people won’t be able to hear you). Here are a few places you may find a confidential space:

  • Your home office (wow, kuddos if you’ve been able to claim this during this time!)
  • A spare room or bedroom room with the door closed
  • Take sessions in their car (kid-free and private!)
  • Walk-and-talk therapy works really well with phone sessions! Just plug in your headphones and go for a walk while you call me and talk about what’s bothering you. Just make sure you sign my “walk-and-talk” waiver, recognizing that you will be in charge of your confidentiality and safety during that time.
  • Download a sound machine app on your phone and put it by your door, while keeping headphones plugged into your computer if you are worried about roommates or partners overhearing our conversation.

Do you have access to a place like this?

Call me and we can talk about what you might need in creating a space like this so that you can still access the online support you need during this time.

Second what happens if I can’t find 50 minutes alone?? (And what if I can’t afford my normal 50-minute weekly session right now?)

I get it! You may wish you could even FIND 5 minutes alone to shower or just breathe. I also understand things may be financially tight. Maybe you or your partner was laid off, or you’ve had to take time away from work to be with kids who are no longer in school.

I want to work with you to make sure you’re supported during the time you need it most.

Here are some flexible options we can use together to make sure you’re supported during this time, even if a regular once-a-week 50min session isn’t feasible right now.

  • One full 50 min counseling session is of course always still an option for you. This may be best to simply continue our work online as if we were in person. If this is clinically best for you and feasible in your finances and schedule, let’s default to do our normal therapeutic work.
  • Two or three 15-25 min counseling check-ins spread out throughout the week can help if you can only get a few minutes in your day when the kids aren’t calling.
  • Phone sessions can be helpful if you truly can’t get away and access video at the same time.
  • 25-minute Coaching sessions: I’m offering 25-minute coaching calls (both virtual or phone), to help you in a solution-focused way. Coaching is different than counseling because instead of diving deep into your childhood trauma, coaching literally “coaches” you through how your trauma may be informing your choices or perspectives around what is happening in this time, present-day, right now. Coaching is solutions-focused, and helps you close the gap to how you’re responding presently, to how you’d like to respond in the future. If this is clinically appropriate for you, I’d be happy to discuss more.
  • Online Groups: For $150/month you get access to 4 weekly group counsleling. We’re meeting online right now, which has been even more fun, as we’ve been able to be more flexible and people can meet from anywhere!

Ya’ll, life was stressful enough before Covid-19. 

I know it can be pretty anxiety-provoking with everything going on in the world.

So please know you don’t need to hold all of this alone.

We are all in this together!

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