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During the Coronavirus pandemic we’ve been offering sessions over the phone or via video. Online therapy is proven to be as effective as face to face therapy and patients who have attended these sessions have found them really helpful. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your sessions. Please take a few minutes to take a look at the information below.
A few things to consider before your session:
Having some private space
Find a quiet space and time for your session. This may mean letting people in your household know you have an important appointment arranged and letting them know when this will be and for how long and the importance of not being disturbed. Headphones/hands-free headsets are often also recommended for privacy.
Talk to your therapist if you have children at home
If you are feeling unsure about having therapy due to having children (or other people) at home, please speak to your therapist about your concerns. Many people we have worked with online have found ways to adapt to make the sessions work for them, with our support.
Test the technology
Before you have your first session, it’s a good idea to test your technology. Check your camera and microphone, and see if you need headphones. It helps to aim for as stable an internet connection as possible, so look to see whether your wifi’s working ok – and shut down any other apps you have on screen. Do also make sure your device is fully charged or plugged-in as video calling is battery draining.
You might want to test your equipment and internet connection in advance by contacting a friend by the platform you’re going to use.
For one-to-one therapy, your therapist will agree a backup plan with you in case the technology fails.
Find a position that works
Even though you won’t be seeing your therapist in person, if you are able to set up your device at eye-level your conversation will feel more like a face-to-face one. This can really help with feeling connected to your therapist. Sitting with the light, such as a window, facing you also helps. (If the light is behind you, your face may be in shadow and your therapist won’t be able to see you so clearly).
Make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable position with good lighting and seating, to help you to feel more relaxed and able to focus on the therapy session.
It’s a good idea to have pen and paper to hand, so you can note down any key points or plans arising from the session. You might also find it helpful to have a glass of water and some tissues within easy reach.
After the session:
Take time out
After face-to-face therapy you have the journey back home/to work, to enable reflection and grounding. However, after an online therapy session, you’re immediately back in your normal surroundings. This can feel quite surreal or jarring, so it really is important to give yourself that little bit of extra time for you.
Make sure after your session you have a moment or two to ground yourself, whether that’s by doing some breathing exercises, some gentle stretching, or taking a short walk.
Ease yourself into the change
Attending an online therapy session may not be how you imagined having therapy. Even though you may find it different at first, many people find they are able to adapt to the change and see the positives. Allow yourself time to get settled in gradually.
Talk to your therapist about any fears or concerns
Don’t forget that if you’re having problems with adapting to online sessions, you can talk to your therapist about it. Any fears or concerns can be worked through, so please do discuss anything that may cause discomfort for you.
During the session:
Try to focus on your therapist rather than your own image
Now you’re ready to start your session, it may feel a little different meeting online at first. Unlike face-to-face sessions, in some video therapy sessions you may be able to see yourself as well as your therapist. You might feel a bit self-conscious about this, so try to focus on your therapist and/or cover up your own image using a post-it note to take the focus away from yourself.
Sometimes it can be good to have something in the room that you can focus on and that makes you feel safe, if you’re finding your session difficult. This could be a favourite picture, a neutral object, such as a tree or plant outside – or even your pet. Do speak to your therapist if you need support with this.
What helps us to understand how you are feeling?
The IAPT service uses questionnaires in each appointment with anyone accessing our service to help us understand how you feeling and make sure we are offering the right type of treatment.
When do we provide you with your questionnaire?
The service can send questionnaires via a secure weblink to your email address before your appointment to fill in, if you give consent to receive this. If receiving these by email isn’t an option, you can also complete your questionnaires during your appointment with your therapist.
How do you use my questionnaires to help me?
Your questionnaire asks important questions about how you have been feeling recently and how this is affecting you. The questionnaires mean we can both see if the treatment we are providing is helping you feel better and ensure this is right for you.
If you would like to view the questionnaires please click HERE.
Attend Anywhere: Video Appointments
We are now offering you a choice of either telephone or video appointments and want to share more information on how this works. Our video appointments are offered by Attend Anywhere which is a secure NHS video consultation service, enabling you to have face to face virtual treatment with your IAPT therapist .
What do I need to access my video appointment?
A good connection to the internet – if you can watch a video online (eg, YouTube) you can make a video call
A private, well-lit area where you will not be disturbed during your appointment
Web-camera, speakers and microphone already built into laptops or mobile devices
One of the following:
Google Chrome web browser on a desktop or laptop, or on an Android tablet or smartphone
Safari web browser on an Apple iMac, MacBook, iPad, or iPhone
How Attend Anywhere works:
Attending Your Appointment
Five minutes before your appointment time, go to the virtual waiting room through the link sent to you by your IAPT Therapist. You will not be able to see anyone else in the virtual waiting room and no one else will be able to see you. Only your therapist will see you once you enter your video appointment.
We recommend you check and test your equipment in advance. You can do this by clicking on “Test Call” button.
If your link is not working please take a look at this troubleshooting help sheet or call us on 01142 264380.
Starting Your Video Appointment
- When starting your video appointment you will see this button: You will be asked to enter your name, date of birth, and accept the terms and conditions – this information will help us identify you and is not stored after the consultation.
- The video consultation is free (except your internet usage charge) and data is not used whilst you are in the waiting room.
- We recommend that you connect to your home or work Wi-Fi to avoid using your mobile data allowance.
Online Course Information
Our online courses are live streamed each week through Microsoft Teams. This is free to use and can be accessed through any device. You will be sent a link to join the group ahead of the course via email.
Please take a look through our online course guide for more information.