So many therapists have given us the feedback that the telehealth session seems much more exhausting than the regular face to face sessions.
Before we jump to the solutions, let’s understand WHY first.
Instead of seeing body language in your normal in-person therapy sessions, you have to focus extra hard on facial expressions to process non-verbal cues during a telehealth session.
Technology adds a lot of stress on both ends. Studies show that a glitch with technology can cause one to unconsciously judge the other person negatively.
Camera anxiety. It’s natural for us to worry about our appearance and how others perceive us. At times, a camera makes one look much worse. It’s hard for someone not to look at his/her face on the screen. One becomes hypervigilant about appearance which interferes with being present with a client.
Loss of boundaries and healthy work-life balance. Work, friends, family, all happening in one place, your computer screen.
After understanding the causes, the solutions are rather straightforward.
Get a bigger screen and a better webcam. This will allow you to sit a bit further from your laptop screen and have a relaxed posture while still having a clear view of your client.
Ask your client to sit a little further from the camera in a comfortable position. A bit extra distance to the screen will give you a better view of their body language instead of just a closeup facial.
Give your client clear instructions on how to log in the session with simple audio and video control instructions. Help set both you and your client's expectations on potential glitches. Close all other applications on the computer.
Minimize your camera view. By sitting further, will give you less chance to hyper-conscious about how you’re looking.
Use different rooms and platforms for different purposes. For a casual family gathering, consider setting up the computer in the living room instead of the space used for seeing clients.
*Photo by Bruce Mars