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Therapy online....Screen-time that's actually good for you!

Updated: Jan 18

When lockdown hit in 2020 the world and life, as we knew it, changed in an instant.

Suddenly everything was "online" and whether you love or hate technology it did, in many ways, keep us sane. We were still able to order food, essentials and most importantly stay in contact with those we love. Those of us who might otherwise been so very isolated were able to chat with family, friends and work colleagues despite been stuck at home.

Therapy and how it is delivered also had to change, fast, and for those in the mental health profession who were very used to doing things a certain way, it was a big change.

Confidentiality was a huge concern along with tech issues and most importantly, would we as therapists be able to support our clients effectively online.

In person therapy, or face to face as its sometimes called, is special. There is something very calming for the client about taking time out of their busy world to step into a restful space that is just for them, an hour all about you.

For the therapist there are many cues you can pick up on with a client, from how they walk into the room, to the way the sit in the chair and often what they are wearing.

I had a client who, when they were in a good place, would wear some very funky Dr Martens but on a bad week would wear very plain white trainers. It would give me a cue as to how they were feeling before they had even spoken. It also became a bit of a talking point between us where they would say to me as they were leaving " next week I hope to be wearing the DM's."

For vital therapy to continue during lockdown, and lets face it there was never a time we all needed it more, it had to be online and therapists had to change their way of working fast.

Not everyone was comfortable with it but since 2020 more and more therapists are now only working online.

It became clear that actually, with the right protocols in place and with a bit of training from governing bodies, therapy online was a very effective tool. Not only could the therapist work from home and save on room hire costs but the client could also receive support without leaving home. Or maybe in their lunch hour, not having to take time away work just travelling to the appointment.

However, what also happened was that big companies cottoned on that this could be a great way to make some money.

Create a platform for therapists to join, advertise it as therapy online and accessible to all from the comfort of your own home and then charge the client a reasonable rate but only give the qualified therapist half of that.

Now for some therapists that works for them and for some clients that's also OK but there are now stories being uncovered where the therapy is perhaps not as ethical as it could be. Clients are not being matched with the right person for them and it is all a little "factory conveyor belt" in its approach.

Choosing a therapist is a very personal journey and you should take your time in perusing their profiles and qualifications and definitely take them up on the offer of a free 20 minute initial chat ( if they offer it) to see if they are the right one for you.

Most of all don't be scared of online therapy if it is provided by smaller, independent therapists. It is ultimately more accessible for the client and as long as you have a quiet, confidential space with good internet connection then it definitely works. I, perhaps, wouldn't recommend sitting in your car on your phone, trying to squeeze in a bit of therapy in between appointments. Remember this is an hour for you, space for you and time for you to work out what's troubling you and find a new way of being.

Kate Haskell MNCPS (Acc)

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