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Online Therapy in a Time of Quarantine

Like many therapists, I have been doing Zoom and Skype therapy for a long time. But the demands of the coronavirus threat have opened very wide horizons that will transform the therapeutic field forever. It will allow us to reach many more people in the world, and avoid the stress and time lost in driving, facing rush hour traffic, and scheduling issues, etc.

This coronavirus pandemic has presented considerable challenges for those professionals who have no experience with telephonic or video therapy. But it has also forced all mental health professionals to overcome discomforts with unusual new norms, and to embrace new ways of conducting therapy that challenge our cherished beliefs of what is the essence of good therapy.

I am sharing best practices for providing safe therapy techniques with my students and therapists all over the world, who are learning to do supervision and therapy on Zoom, including Somatic Experiencing®, a research-based body/mind centered healing therapy created by Dr. Peter Levine and supported by Dr. Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory.

Taking time to practice and learn the benefits and drawbacks of online therapy is essential. Learning the basics, like making sure your computer system can support the program, checking the platform you are using for number of participants and duration of time available to prevent frustration and confusion are important; also arriving early to the session, setting guidelines for confidentiality and content, making sure people know how to mute, using a headset so others cannot overhear the conversations and addressing the HIPAA compliant issues are crucial.

Of course, our presence and energy in the room are powerful adjuncts to whatever methods and theories we use. Therapists tell me that with Zoom or Skype, it is not the same thing for them and their clients, and it will never be. Yet, I have found that with Zoom or Skype therapy formats, our presence and energy can still be felt very strongly, and that there are added advantages.

post from: Thrive Global

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