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Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Advantages of Online Therapy When You Can't Meet With Your Therapist in Person

Due to the contagious nature of COVID-19 and the mandate to stay home in New York City, I recently began conducting therapy sessions online to assure my clients' safety as well as my own. Online therapy is also called telemental health, telehealth, and virtual therapy, and I'm grateful to have the ability to connect with my clients and continue to do therapy with them.  I'm also glad that my clients can do therapy from the comfort of their own homes during this crisis (see my articles: Coping and Staying Calm During the COVID-19 Crisis and The Importance of Getting Emotional Support During a Crisis).

The Advantages of Online Therapy When You Can't Meet With Your Therapist In Person

Using Online Therapy During COVID-19 Crisis
Like many therapists in New York City, I began using online therapy as of last week so I could remain in contact with my clients.  Some clients prefer to have regular phone sessions, but others like having the ability to see me and feel more connected with me online than on the phone.

The online therapy service that I use is free to clients and they don't need to have the service to use it. They also don't need to have any special equipment.  They have a choice of getting the link either via text if they want to use their cellphone or by email if they want to use their computer. I just let them know that, before the session, I will send them a link for the meeting.  Then, I get a notice from the service when they're in the virtual "waiting room" and I "let them in" so we can begin our online session.

Aside from the convenience of doing online sessions, one of the things that has been interesting for me is seeing myself in real time in the corner of my screen while I'm doing therapy with clients.

In my regular in-person sessions in my office, I'm not looking at myself.  But with the online service, I can see my facial expressions and gestures when I glance up at myself occasionally, which has the advantage of making me more aware of how I'm coming across with the client.

This reminds me of when I was in training to be a therapist more than 20 years ago and one of my supervisors asked me to do audio recordings of my sessions.  This was done with the clients' permission.

Most clients had no problem with audio recordings and, in fact, they liked the idea that I would listen to these recordings after the sessions as a way to improve my clinical skills while I was in training.  It made clients feel cared about.

Although most clients were receptive to it, as a therapist in training back then, initially, I was self conscious about the audio recordings. But, after I few sessions, I liked listening to the recordings.  Similar to seeing myself online, I learned a lot back then from hearing myself when I played back the audio recording.

So, as technology evolves, it often provides therapists and clients with new tools and strategies for conducting therapy sessions.

Advantages of Doing Online Therapy
So far, these are the advantages I see with doing online therapy:
  • Continuity of care for existing clients so that therapy sessions don't have to end because of the current crisis
  • Convenience
    • Fewer cancelled appointments due to work schedule or other appointments that would make it more difficult for the client to come in person to my office.
    • Acessibility to people who have mobility problems or cannot come in person for another reason
    • Accessibility for existing and new clients who can't meet in person due to the current Coronavirus outbreak
  • Free to the client 
  • Easy to use

Getting Help: Online Therapy
It could be a while before therapists and clients can return to in-person sessions in the therapist's office, so if you need help because you feel overwhelmed, rather than trying to cope on your own, you can contact a psychotherapist who is providing online therapy (see my article: Grieving Losses and Healing During a Crisis).

By working with a licensed psychotherapist online during this time, you can get the help that you need and overcome the obstacles that are keeping you from thriving in your life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, and Somatic Experiencing therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Psychotherapy).

I work with individual adults and couples.  

I use Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples in couples sessions.

I am currently providing online therapy sessions for existing and new clients.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.

















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