Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have become well-versed into teletherapy. In March, my colleagues and I had to abruptly switch over to doing virtual therapy while we all stayed safe at home. Teletherapy has allowed me to still have an income, which I am extremely grateful for, however it has its pros and cons. Take a look at what is great and no so great about teletherapy.
Con: The Technological Difficulties
During some of my sessions, it is very difficult to communicate with my clients due to the downside of technology. Either the wifi connection is weak, the sound is distorted, their video is frozen, their microphones aren’t enabled or the software being used for the therapy is malfunctioning. Many clients also use their cellphones for their teletherapy and when they receive phone calls it disrupts the flow of the session. All of these issues interfere with our time being productive and for the therapist and the client it’s quite frustrating.
Con: Clients Not Having Privacy
Being in my office gives clients a safe space to process their feelings. Unfortunately, they have to find a safe space in their homes due to these circumstances and for some people that is not possible. My clients who are mothers, have siblings they share a room with or who live with nosey relatives don’t have the luxury of privacy which causes them not to be so forthcoming about the depression, anxiety or anger they are experiencing.
Con: The Side Conversations
When I usually meet with my clients it is just them and I in my office. Now that our sessions are virtual, clients are sometimes around their family and friends. Instead of focusing on their therapy they are having side conversations, paying attention to other things or relatives/friends are intervening into our conversation. For a therapist, these things are very annoying and wouldn’t be happening if we were in the office.
Pro: The Convenience
With online therapy, I can host therapy sessions from the comfort of my home. There is no traveling involved for me nor the client and all it takes to attend therapy is to click a link. The client can go on a walk, go sit in the park or be where ever they please. Also, attendance can be improved because there aren’t many things that can serve as a barrier to online therapy.
Pro: The Opportunity To Have Family Sessions
Since many of my clients are teenagers, their parents trust them to attend session on their own. They accompany them occasionally or we speak on the phone due to their demanding schedules. Now that everyone is adhering to a stay-at-home order, I have the chance to have parents participate and have family sessions. Family sessions are critical to a child’s progress because it gives the therapist the opportunity to help them resolve whatever issues they have together instead of talking to them separately. I can speak to the parent more about what they are having a difficult time with regarding parenting and help them build the skills needed to improve their child’s behavior. The therapist has 45 minutes to one hour a week with a client while a parent has countless minutes and hours with them; therefore, the parent plays an essential role in the therapeutic process.