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Exhausted From Telehealth Sessions? 5 Easy Solutions

Updated: Mar 28

As telehealth becomes an increasingly common mode of delivering therapy, both therapists and clients are navigating new challenges. Feedback from many therapists suggests that telehealth sessions can be more exhausting than traditional face-to-face interactions. Let’s delve into the reasons behind this phenomenon and explore actionable solutions.

The Challenges of Telehealth Sessions

1. The Focus on Facial Expressions: In the absence of full-body language cues available during in-person therapy, therapists must pay extra attention to facial expressions during telehealth sessions. This heightened focus can be mentally taxing.

2. Technological Stress: Technical issues can not only disrupt the flow of a session but also potentially lead to negative unconscious judgments. The reliability of technology is crucial for effective communication.

3. Camera Anxiety: Many people feel self-conscious about their appearance on camera. This concern can detract from the therapist's ability to remain fully present with the client, as attention is divided between self-monitoring and engaging in the session.

4. Blurred Boundaries: With the convergence of work, social, and family interactions on a single platform, maintaining a healthy work-life balance becomes challenging. This amalgamation can lead to a sense of never truly "leaving" work, contributing to burnout.

Solutions to Enhance Telehealth Efficiency

1. Upgrade Your Equipment: Investing in a larger screen and a high-quality webcam can improve your ability to read clients' expressions without compromising comfort. This setup enables a more natural sitting posture and a better overall session experience.

2. Encourage Spatial Distance: Requesting clients to sit further away from the camera can offer a more comprehensive view of their body language, making the session feel more akin to an in-person meeting.

3. Simplify Session Access: Providing clients with clear instructions for session login and managing audio/video controls can mitigate technical frustrations. Ensuring both parties have a shared understanding of how to handle potential glitches—and advising to close unnecessary applications—can minimize distractions.

4. Minimize Self-View: Reducing the size of your own video feed can lessen self-consciousness and help maintain focus on the client. This adjustment encourages a more immersive and engaged session.

5. Diversify Your Environment: Utilize different physical and digital spaces for varying activities. For instance, hosting family gatherings in a separate room from where client sessions are conducted can help reinforce boundaries between professional and personal life.

Adopting these strategies can significantly reduce the exhaustion associated with telehealth sessions, making them more sustainable and effective for both therapists and clients. As we continue to adapt to the evolving landscape of digital therapy, refining our approaches ensures that we can provide the best possible support to those in need.

*Photo by Bruce Mars

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