by Dr. Kendra A. O’Hora, LCMFT
Let me guess, you’ve seen an ad on Instagram or Facebook advertising the uber promoted tele-health and now you’re wondering what all the hub-bub is about?!
Curiosity and interest in where the mental health world is headed and how that impacts you is completely normal (and, healthy!), especially during a time like this. In fact, a lot of people are asking questions right now! A couple recent emails I received went something like this:
“Hello, I wanted to get more information on doing teletherapy with my husband. We wanted to go to counseling but with COVID-19 it changed everything but we really need the help.”
“I am reaching out to see if you are accepting new patients? I also was wondering if you were doing televisits during this time?“
If you were already established with a therapist then you’ve likely transitioned, for the time being, to tele-health (aka tele-therapy). Granted, this was a big adjustment for therapists and clients alike but you have probably discovered that you can chug away pretty dang close to your normal therapeutic experience through tele-therapy.
Yet, many clients report that they are happy they are continuing with tele-therapy and actually don’t find it to be too different than in-person sessions.
if your relationship was struggling before this whole pandemic and you weren’t in couples therapy, you may be wondering if tele-therapy is a good fit for you. If so, I’d like to get you pointed in the right direction with SEVEN questions to ask yourself before staring couples tele-therapy!
Real quick though, did you know I have a complete guide that introduces you to the couples therapy process? I created an entire e-course to answer the countless questions I have received before therapy and during the therapeutic process.
To be completely honest though (ya’ll know I love authenticity), before this whole global pandemic I really believed my guide was complete. I spent countless hours pulling together every piece of information I could in a clear and concise fashion so that YOU could decide whether you were ready for couples therapy.
And then, COVID-19 hit and I was totally blindsided because my e-course does not contain a single piece of information on tele-therapy – EEK.
so much of the couples therapy process in-person is similar to tele-therapy; what’s different is the technical side of things. So today I’m giving you a snapshot into the really important pieces of couples therapy (seven key pieces, to be exact) you should know if you’re considering doing tele-therapy. Looking for information beyond this blog regarding all things couples therapy?
Still curious whether couples therapy is right for you? Sign up below to receive my FREE e-guide!
It’s a simple decision tree to help every couple decide whether couples therapy is a good fit. If you’ve stopped over to my blog before then you know I love creating content. This couples therapy decision tree is one of my most favorite creations ever, you’ll see why!
OK, back to those crucial questions you should be asking yourself before starting couples therapy.
If yes, therapy is an incredible resource and waiting to start can actually hurt your bond. Trust me here, tele-therapy is a good next step before getting into an actual therapists office. Still unsure? Perhaps my e-book tackling infidelity, wounds, and betrayal can provide some hope before your first in-person appointment.
If yes, then when looking for a couples therapist be sure to inquire about whether they have a physical location and what days/times they’ll be seeing clients once the quarantine is lifted. Many therapists hours have adjusted for tele-therapy but you want to be sure they have space available for continued care.
If yes, no problemo – many clients I am currently working with are concerned about privacy due to kids and/or parents being in the home constantly.
What’s the solution? Many therapists are using virtual platforms that allow you to access the appointment from your phone. I’ve had couples call in from their car while sitting in the driveway, Dunkin’ parking lot, or local walking trail.
If yes, perfection! Many couples aren’t in a crisis or experiencing a deep disconnect. Some couples just want to try therapy as another avenue toward growth and kudos to you for that because now’s the perfect time!
In fact, in some states restrictions have been lifted with insurance and tele-therapy, meaning it is more affordable and reimbursable. If you and your partner have experienced adjusted hours due to quarantine then therapy may be a great addition to your routine to help your romantic partnership grow! Many couples have a hard time syncing up schedules for therapy, perhaps now is a great time for a check-in!
If yes, this is a pretty common question regardless of whether you’re meeting in-person or via tele-health. And I can answer it fairly easily. Here’s how therapy goes:
If yes, totally fair! Tele-therapy is different. But likely you’ll be able to tell if the therapist is a good fit for you even via tele-therapy.
And there are a couple things you can do to mitigate this risk. Research your therapist on Psychology Today and review their website to make sure their values and goals align with yours. After you reach out to set up an appointment, advocate for a phone call to get a sense of their personality and attentiveness.
I try to call clients back within 24-hours – you matter, make sure your potential therapist makes you feel that way, too!
If yes, there are temporary solutions to this. In many states Governors have made tele-therapy more accessible by allowing clients to have phone sessions (without actual face-to-face contact). While in the long-term I encourage you to establish a connection with your therapist beyond a phone call, for now, consider whether you and your partner are open to a phone session to get the ball rolling!
[Insert gentle, virtual nudge to encourage you to reach out to a therapist and get started on your couples growth today!]