With all that has been going on in the world, mental health is more important than ever. But, with counseling services moved primarily to online platforms how do you make sure you get the most out of your session? One of the most important things to consider, other than your internet connection, is where you do your session. You want to feel as comfortable as possible in the space you are in so that you can freely open up to your therapist. How can you prepare your space for online therapy in Pennsylvania?
1.) Choose a space you feel safe and comfortable
Finding the best space can be challenging if you live with others. You want a place where you can be left undisturbed and can speak freely without concern of others listening in. It doesn’t matter which space it is but it has to be private, safe, and comfortable. It could be a living room, bedroom, home office, kitchen, or even a parked vehicle or walk-in closet. Wherever you choose be mindful of ambient noise.
2.) Use headphones or earbuds
Audio tools like headphones or earbuds help to cut down on background noise so that you can hear your counselor and they can hear you as best as possible. This also helps with privacy as others won’t be able to hear what the counselor is saying. Make sure the headphones are in good working order before you start your session.
3.) Check internet connections
There is nothing like getting settled in your space only to find out you have minimal to no service in that location. Test all connections, you can even try FaceTime-ing a friend, before the start of your session. You want to maximize your time with the counselor and not spend half the session waiting for things to “buffer.”
4.) Place a sign on your door
Make sure those in your household know not to disturb you during your session. If you can get someone to take kids out or run an errand so you can have ultimate privacy that would be ideal. But, if you can’t—place a sign on the door. It also helps to put a sign on your front door so you aren’t interrupted by doorbells or dogs barking.
5.) Think comfort
Make sure you have pillows and/or blankets in your space to increase comfort. You can even light a candle or diffuse essential oils to create a more soothing atmosphere. Have some tissues nearby so you aren’t running out for that mid-session. Consider the temperature of the space. Make sure it is at a comfortable temperature, not freezing or scorching. Wear comfy clothes. No one wants to suffer through the button of their jeans digging into their stomach. It is important that you feel as comfortable and safe as possible.
6.) Prepare pets
There is nothing like talking about something serious and personal and your dog starts going crazy because he/she sees a squirrel. Consider these scenarios and take action so that you can avoid these interruptions. If your pet is best with you and won’t be a distraction feel free to bring them into the session to boost comfort.
7.) Have a backup plan
It would be wise to have another space in mind to move to if your first choice doesn’t work out. For example, your bedroom gets too loud because of the traffic outside and you need to move to a basement. Things often happen when we are home that can impact sound quality and focus. It is to be in a space with as few distractions as possible.
8.) Leave other electronics out
Your space should consist of the device you are talking on and headphones. If possible, leave other devices that might “ping” or “ring” out of the space. Place your device on “do not disturb” and close other apps or browsers that could interrupt your session.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
At Move Forward, our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have openings for online therapy. We see clients from around the state of Pennsylvania from the comfort of their homes. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant to schedule an appointment. Don’t put your health on hold. Get the help you need today.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.