Virtual Therapy

*By Moses Njenga, DeKUT Counsellor*

Have you seen a therapist recently?

Sometimes, it requires profound “disruption to the system” to allow in a new dimension of doing things. In the case of online therapy, the coronavirus pandemic may have done just that.

Typically, therapy sessions are done face to face. However, with the new norm, the pandemic has forced therapists and clients to adopt a new mode of interaction for therapy to remain effective. Therapists have opted to engage clients using video-chat apps or phone calls. Remote conversations lead to effective treatment, but if this is the first online session, there are some details worth considering.

How does one make the most of remote therapy?

There are several preparations that are needed before beginning sessions. These include testing of the app or the software to be used; making sure you will have privacy during your session, and therefore limit distractions.

What happens if your therapist will not engage in remote therapy?

Your therapist may refer you to someone who can provide therapy remotely for as long as it is needed. If you don’t want to see any other therapist you can ask your therapist about books, online material and activities that can lead to your healing and promote personal growth.

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Is remote therapy effective?

Certain therapies seem to be just as effective when done virtually.
Remote therapy may be more intimate than regular therapy. Therapy, especially long-term insight-oriented, creates a deep bond. Sharing and opening up leads to closeness. Therapists generally observe ethical guidelines, so even the most open therapist is relatively anonymous compared to people in therapy, creating an intimacy gradient/ difference.

Tele-therapy feels closer for many. Sharing on the telephone can be very personal. Cradling a telephone creates the sense of touch, typically which is low in physical therapy. It makes a difference whether through cell phone, a personal extension of the self, a hunched-up laptop, or a big screen with a comfortable desk.

You see people in their natural habitat. This is something you cannot get with in-person therapy. While we always state that you should find a quiet, private space where you will not be interrupted, life happens. As with talking, whereby we censor what we say and fail to say, it is effective to note what we show on video and what we don’t. People walk around, holding their phones high on a virtual tour. The “experiment” of therapy is less controlled than one in an office just talking, but it is more alive and rich in various ways. This is true for both patient and therapist, varying depending on how their respective spaces are set.

Tele-therapy facilitates care. Most people do not have therapists in their area or psychiatric treatment centre. Telemedicine addresses this issue. Tele-therapy may also be cost-effective with lower overhead costs; no rent or commuting expenses, for instance. For both the client and therapist, tele-therapy may be more convenient. Many therapists, however, prefer to keep personal and professional spaces and identities separate – this might be an issue in a small city apartment without room for a home office.

You can move around

Research shows that moving around while thinking improves creativity and problem-solving capacity. This seems to be because a motor system, the nervous and muscular activity which allows us to move, is tied closely with thinking and feeling. You can apply that with virtual therapy, within reason.
Some patients may also identify they think more clearly while doing something else, though that can be a distraction. These factors should be explicitly addressed. People may be reminded of things in their homes that are important to discuss, whereas in the office they can have trouble remembering what to talk about.

Contact DeKUT University Counseling Department for remote therapy/ sessions
Office hrs: 0708680879, 0798598810 (Ask for a Counselor)
Off office hours: 0711765576
Click the link below for a virtual session with a Counselor
Meeting URL: https://meet.google.com/gim-ktbf-ssj

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