Remote therapy advice for therapists

Written on Tuesday 17th March 2020

By now most therapist have stopped face to face appts and offering virtual sessions due to the virus.

I have been delivering therapy via remote methods for over 10 years, so this is not new for me.
I thought it might help to share some basic guidance for other therapists that are new to remote working.

I use Zoom for most of my remote sessions. Here is some information about Zoom:

*There's a free version suitable for use in the UK (not America).
* Huge numbers of people are signing up so be prepared for a delay in the set up email
* It can be done on laptop and by app. It's available on play store etc on phones.
* The client will need to download it too
* You can do audio only calls, or live type chat in the chat box as well as the video calls
* When you open the app, click 'Schedule' to arrange a new appointment
* In the 'Topic' box at the top you can rename the scheduled meeting so you know which client its for (otherwise it becomes a confusing list of meetings that all look the same)
* You can schedule a "recurring" appointment by ticking this box so that you don't have to send the client a new link for each session, this is much easier
* You can set a password for the client to enter to make it more secure, it's set to a series of numbers as default but you can change it, I usually have it as clients first name
* Under the 'Video' heading you can set the meeting to have/not have video and sound on automatically when the session starts.
* It is best to select 'Audio' as allowing telephone and computer as sometimes if a client has technical issues they will call in rather than use the app/online version
* In the 'Advanced options' you can select to 'enable waiting room' this is particularly important if you have sessions after each other as you have to approve the client entering the session
* If the client wants to test out how it works before the session they can to make sure they can get into the session
* Once you have scheduled the session you can copy the information to email it to the client for the session
* To enter a session you need to select the 'Meetings' Tab, choose the relevant meeting, and click 'Start'
* When in the appointment there's an option for you and the client to hide yourselves on your own screen so the other person can still see you but you can't see yourself.
* There's an option to record the session, this is a good selling point for the client, and an easy way for us to cover live supervision requirements (with consent in place of course)
* There is a screen share option for sharing resources on screen
* If you are having technical issues with sound or video, use the chat box to communicate with client to resolve

Other online considerations:
* Try out a practice with yourself first, between 2 devices if you don't have anyone to try it with.
* Try to have good lighting, natural or otherwise. Try to also have a plain background to avoid distractions
* If you're a glasses wearer be aware of reflections that can be seen by the client
* You may need a headset if your microphone and speakers are not good quality
* Advise the client that they may need a headset to get good sound quality too
* Online sessions are best done on stable internet, so broadband/wi-fi rather than mobile data
* Make a back up plan to call the client by phone in case of technical problems
* Try to have you device camera set up in a static position that shows your face well.
*Encourage client to have their device static, so a mobile phone on a stand etc rather than holding it. Laptops sat at a desk is the best option.


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