Online Counseling Etiquette
Online counseling has several benefits for clients. For example, especially in stigmatized communities, online counseling provides the opportunity to attend therapy without worrying about someone seeing you leaving your therapists office. Still, some clients may worry about not meeting the expectations their therapist has for online session. Keep these online counseling etiquette tips in mind when you’re preparing for your sessions.
Consider the Setting
One of the perks of online therapy is that you can participate from anywhere. However, there are a few things you need to consider when deciding where to be during your session. These considerations are as follows:
Respect Your Own Privacy
Because you will not be in your therapist’s office during sessions, you need to be aware of your own privacy. It is ideal that you participate in counseling sessions from a private area of your own home. You can sit in your parked car during sessions, but avoid using the speakerphone option, as this can make it easy for everyone around you to hear the contents of your session. Public spaces are not appropriate for counseling sessions due to the inability to control who is present. When at all possible, use headphones to minimize the ability for anyone to overhear the complete content of your session.
Have a Stable Internet Connection
Your internet connection is vital to being able to complete your counseling session without interruption. As such, it is not appropriate to connect from a moving vehicle due to the high probability of lag or disconnections. If your internet connection repeatedly disconnects or lags, your therapist may need to refer you to a face to face therapist to continue counseling. You should also consider the security of your internet connection and avoid using public connections whenever possible.
Be In a Well-Lit Area
Whenever possible, you should make sure you’re in a well-lit area. Your therapist should be able to clearly see your face during sessions. Likewise, avoid having light shining directly at your camera during your session. Obviously, this will not always be possible, and your therapist will talk to you about options if it is an ongoing concern and creates issues in the therapy sessions.
Consider Your Presentation
Online counseling sessions typically feel more relaxed than face-to-face sessions because you’re typically in your own home. Still, there are some expectations as far as your presentation, such as your attire and things in the background.
While your comfort during session is important, please dress in such a way that you can go out in public without being arrested.
Remember that your therapist is a mandated for CPS. Things that could trigger a report include drug paraphernalia, unsecured firearms, and anything indicating domestic violence. Additionally, try to minimize background noise that could be distracting.
Consider Your Behavior
Again, while you can do your therapy sessions from a place you find comfortable, there are certain behaviors which are expected despite the more relaxed setting.
Your therapist asks that you refrain from eating during therapy sessions. It is a distraction for both you and your therapist. You are welcome to drink non-alcoholic beverages during sessions as hydration is important. There will of course be some exceptions, so please talk to your therapist if your session is scheduled during your only opportunity for food.
Please be sure to log in on time for your session. If you are unable to keep your appointment or you will be late, please let your therapist know ASAP. Your therapist will text you at both 5 and 10 minutes past the scheduled session time, but after that your session will be canceled and you will be charged the no-show fee.