My last attempt at online therapy, didn't last long. A very wobbly internet connection and a lack of confidence when I started working for myself meant that I managed to grand total of 1 1/2 sessions before giving up the idea as a bad lot.
Fast forward 5 years or so and coronavirus challenged my ideas of how to continue to provide therapy while maintaining the health and safety of the people I work with. A hasty purchase of a tablet with plenty of data and a slight rearranging of furniture in my spare bedroom and I was ready to go. And terrified. I had no idea how this might work, whether it would be helpful, would everyone realise that I am actually awful at therapy? And the thought of staring at my own face in the corner of my tablet for hours a day was horrifying!
I'm not sure how many weeks in to the "lockdown" we now are, but I am loving online therapy! I have been able to work with new clients who would struggle to get to my office in Crich and have found that EMDR when we are in different rooms can be just as effective! The feeling of "closeness" and the awareness of another persons raw emotions when we are connected by two small screens has been amazing and I have noticed how "feeling safe" in your home environment is really helping some people to push forward with their trauma therapy. It's obviously not for everyone as we know that not all home environments are safe or confidential spaces. And at times when I can hear my dogs barking downstairs I long to be back in my little office. However, the possibilities of online therapy are really exciting. It means those who are housebound can access therapy and it also means that you can potentially access a therapist who is georgraphically distant from you. More choice has got to be a good thing. And I am actually used to seeing my face in the corner of the screen, exposure work at its finest!
I asked one of my clients to give their thoughts:
After the news that the country was going into lockdown we had to have a serious think about therapy sessions. Of course my initial (if slightly selfish) thought was ‘oh no, I can’t possible do therapy online! I am different make an exception!’ Despite the fact that my degree is almost entirely online, so I am used to webinars, zoom and live chat, I still rigidly thought that my emotions had no place in cyber-space. My logical mind (which is where I feel most comfortable), kept on telling me that therapy did not belong in my house, and certainly did not belong in my bedroom where my computer is set up. I’d like to say I embraced it and went in with an open mind but the autistic side of my brain dug my heels in for the first week and didn’t make the most of therapy. Now however, I am a convert! I love having therapy online, in my home and in my bedroom. I have all my grounding tools around me such as my essential oils, my weighted blanket and my sensory toys. There is space to get up and do some squats when I’m dissociating and it has cut down on 2.5 hours travel time each week. Having my therapist there in my surroundings which I have created myself seems so much safer to me. My room is blue – another thing to make me feel safe, and if I’m upset I don’t have to look at the camera. I don’t think Nichola is too fond of this last point, but I really don’t like crying, so having the option to just turn and stroke my dog instead is super-beneficial to me. I guess I do miss the human connection sometimes, so post-covid I would like to have some sessions in person, but overall online is definitely very easily accessible and I recommend it to anybody who has work commitments and can’t make appointments, or lives too far away too travel regularly.