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.

Similar Articles

10 Symptoms of Stress. 5 Causes of Stress

A blog for Stress Awareness Day - 6th November. Covering 10 symptoms of Stress, 5 causes of stress, and some tips.

6 Nov 2020

Business Owners - 5 Common problems

A Blog for National Work Life Week aimed at Business Owners. Discussing the 5 common problems experienced by Business Owners that effect Emotional Wellbeing.

12 Oct 2020

How to Achieve Happiness

A blog on how to achieve a happy life, including 10 key strategies needed

26 Sep 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day

A blog for those with suicidal thoughts. Some advice.

10 Sep 2020

FAQ: What do you offer that's different

Choosing a private therapist can be difficult. There's lots of us out there. I often get asked what I do that's different, and it's useful for prospective clients to know what makes me - me.

16 Jun 2020

Hannahs helpful hints: Panic attacks

A panic attack can feel extremely scary and overwhelming, particularly if it feels like it comes out of nowhere without a cause. So what is a panic attack? A blog to explain: What is a panic attack? Signs of a panic attack, Symptoms of a panic attack, Causes of panic attacks and Treatment for panic attacks.

1 Jun 2020

Are remote therapy sessions effective

Increasingly the world we live in is become distanced, and that's often viewed as a negative change. So how does remote therapy compare to face to face therapy? that's what people want to know.

18 May 2020

Hannahs helpful hints - low mood

Depressed is a term we hear thrown around a lot, "I'm so depressed today", "Well that was depressing" but depression is serious. So what is depression? Depression sucks away our happiness, it causes us to hate ourselves, to want to hide away from the world - it can be truly soul destroying. This blog will give an understanding of what depression/low mood is, the signs and symptoms, and advice on how to improve it.

1 May 2020

Awareness day: sexual abuse

Today is Sexual Abuse Awareness Day. Sexual Abuse statistics do not make for easy reading. But it's so important to continue to raise awareness and share the realities.

3 Feb 2020

Having trouble sleeping

Sleep is one of our key sources of energy, so it is no surprise that ongoing sleep problems will have an impact on our emotional state. Common consequences of poor sleep include reduced motivation, increased irritable, less rational thinking and increased stress.

13 Jan 2020

FAQ: When do you offer appointments

In order to offer flexibility, I offer therapy sessions between these hours. I have a maximum number of appointments I offer each week and work a maximum of 35 hours.

2 Jan 2020

Can CBT help my phobia

The impact of phobias is ofter really under-estimated. So many clients I see report others saying things to them like "that's ridiculous", "don't be daft" or laughing at them, leading to feelings of embarrassment and wanting to hide their problem.

14 Nov 2019

Why am I still not happy

You've ticked all the boxes you thought were needed for a 'happy' life. Successful career, house, car, partner/kids all ticked off. Over the years you've kept thinking “When I just …, then I'll be happy and able to enjoy my life”.

19 Aug 2019

Are you being the real true you

There is the “real/true” version of ourselves, and then there is the anxious/depressed/angry version that's the life we are living day to day.

3 Jan 2019

10 tips to improve sleep and poor appetite

Are you experiencing problems with your sleep? You're not alone. 2/3 adults in the UK experience sleep problems.

24 Jul 2018

Emotions and destructive coping approaches

When we are experiencing emotional distress - whether depression, anxiety, anger or something else, we want these feelings to go away. No one wants to feel emotional distress, and understandably so to.

18 Jun 2018

What actually makes us happy?

There are a lot of assumptions about what things will make us happy. Often in this list are often things like money, job promotions, relationships, having children, holidays etc. However if this is the case, how do we explain the large volumes of suicides by people that have all these things?

14 Jun 2018

What is mental health?

There's a lot of misconceptions and stigma around the words 'mental health'. In reality we are all somewhere on the continuum of mental health, just like for example physical fitness.

1 Jun 2018

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies