When you think about couples’ counseling and therapy, you probably envision sitting in a therapist’s office on a couch with your partner, discussing your communication issues.
But now, in the unprecedented times which have come with Covid, there’s virtual couples’ counseling.
Most therapists use online platforms, such as Zoom, to conduct their therapy sessions.
Before you get started, you might have some questions on what a virtual couples’ counseling session would entail.
How to prepare for virtual couples’ counseling?
Restart your computer before your session to ensure that the most updated version of your browser is running on your computer.
You should also close the “Settings” window and any other applications because virtual therapy can demand significant memory and processing power from your computer.
Make sure your lighting is good. You may want to purchase a ring light or ensure that the window is in front of the computer, instead of behind your body.
Also, make sure you have the best possible internet connection (this may require an upgrade).
This is important because it will quickly become very frustrating if your poor connection makes it difficult for you and your therapist to hear each other.
In the same vein, it’s worthwhile to check that your microphone is working properly.
Getting the most out of virtual therapy.
Coming prepared for your session is one of the most effective ways to get the most out of virtual therapy.
Your virtual session can be more beneficial when you know what you want to discuss and address in your session. The therapist can, then, facilitate and navigate your session with clarity and direction and help you reach your goals.
Log into the link a few minutes early, so you can start at the scheduled time for your session because the therapist wants to use all of your allotted time to address your concerns.
How effective is online therapy?
Research has found that anxiety, depression, and trauma issues can be treated as effectively online as they can be in person.
The specific models of therapy that were researched were Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Solution Focused Brief Therapy.
These types of therapy are conducive and easier to study than many other approaches due to their skill-based nature.
Online therapy may also be more comfortable in terms of privacy because you will not see anyone in the waiting room or walking to and from the therapist’s office.
You may be more willing to share and open up because you are online, which can increase the consistency of your attendance in therapy, which increases its efficacy.
What about the effectiveness of online couples’ counseling?
Many couples who are struggling in their relationship wait at least six years to attend therapy, which means they wait and suffer unnecessarily to receive help.
There can be many barriers to attending couples’ therapy, but now, with the ability to use your phone, computer, and iPad, therapy has become much more accessible.
Here are 5 reasons why a virtual couples’ counseling or therapy session is right for you.
1. It’s easy and simple.
You don’t need to leave your home, find a babysitter (if you have children), or fight traffic.
With a click of the button, you will see your therapist at the agreed-upon time.
2, There are no extra expenses.
Many couples have to pay babysitters, use up travel time to and from the therapist’s office, and might even have to pay for parking.
3. It’s in your own space.
As a couples’ therapist, I find that many of my clients enjoy that we can create a “safe space” in their own homes for conversations during therapy.
In addition, clients may find that they want to use this space for intimate conversations outside of therapy, too.
4. Long-distance relationships also benefit.
Many couples in long-distance relationships find it difficult to attend couples’ therapy.
But, virtual couples’ therapy provides an opportunity for these couples to receive treatment, too.
5. Interruptions may occur, but that’s OK.
Sometimes, interruptions can be a nuisance in therapy, but to see the couple in their home provides a window into how much the children knock, how much the dog howls, and how possible clutter or other home issues may be disruptive and dysregulate one or both partners.
When the couples therapist sees the “real life” challenges, they can more successfully help you navigate your specific issues.
Couples’ counseling has never been so convenient.
Take advantage of the ease and convenience to attend couples therapy in your own home.
Use the above tools and tips and get the most out of virtual couples’ therapy.
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in the state of Maryland and Virginia. She is a Certified Gottman Couples Therapist and PACT Level 3 Candidate. If you want to learn more about how to get the most out of virtual couples therapy, contact me for a 30-minute free private consultation today.