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From face-to-face to online treatment

Since the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 many things in our day to day life have changed: most of us are working from home, we are no longer celebrating birthdays and weddings, we are taking precautions when we see our friends and family and our leisure time is spent less in public space.

If you are in therapy or are about to start treatment, another aspect has changed as well: you are no longer seeing your therapist in the office, but have adjusted to online contact or doing phone consultations.

This can feel strange at first, but it is our job as therapists to help you get acquainted with this ‘new’ form of therapy and to create a warm and safe therapeutic online relationship.

Whether you are already in therapy or about to start, here are a few guidelines to make the transition from face-to-face to online therapy as smooth as possible:

1. Make sure you are in a safe and private space
Something that is natural when you are in your therapist’s office but not necessarily when you are at home with your family: a place where you can talk, undisturbed and in private. This is an essential part of therapy, so that’s why it’s important to discuss your therapy with your housemates and make sure you can have the time and space to have your sessions without being disturbed.

2. Think about de-therapy
Many of our clients at Kühler & Trooster make great use of the Vondelpark right after their sessions. Going for a walk is a great way to de-therapy: taking the time to unwind and process your therapy session, so that you don’t immediately rush to the rest of your day. Especially if you are working from home, it can be tempting to squish therapy into your working day. However, processing your therapy is also part of therapy, so make sure you have a bit of time before therapy to prepare, and take a break or walk after your session to de-therapy.

3. Make sure you are comfortable
Get in a comfortable chair, allow yourself a big glass of water or warm cup of coffee or tea so that you are comfortable during your session.

4. Think about visibility and connection
Check your Wi-Fi connection in advance and consider which part of your house or room is most suitable for therapy. Dark corners or opposite a window can be difficult because your therapist has a hard time seeing your face, and therefore cannot follow your expression and emotion optimally.

5. Communicate your feelings
Make sure to talk with your therapist about how online treatment is working for you. If you feel uncomfortable, it can be worthwhile to discuss what is bothering you to see if he/or she can help break certain barriers and establish a way that works for you.

Even though online therapy might feel new to you, it has actually been here for decades. Research has shown positive effects, also when compared to face-to-face sessions.

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