With pandemic restrictions behind us, many people are eager to get back to doing things in person again, including therapy. Taking the time out of your day to travel to your therapist's office, sitting on their couch, and being present with each other in person can be important parts of therapy for many folks. However, doing therapy by video is often just as effective, and can even have some advantages compared to in-person therapy. Here are some signs that video therapy might be a good fit for you.
You feel comfortable and safe at home
A big part of what makes therapy work is feeling safe, and for many people, they feel most safe at home. Being in familiar surroundings can be a resource that helps you feel more grounded and safe when things get emotional. You can show up in your pajamas, with a cup of tea, wrapped in a blanket, or with your favourite headphones on. You can have fidget toys to play with, or your cat on your lap. You won't need to navigate a reception desk or waiting room before or after your appointment. There can be a seamless transition from being in a session straight to journaling, yoga or another form of gentle self-care before going back to your regular activities.
You have a private space, or can ask for that
Being able to have a quiet, private space when you're doing therapy by video is important. For people who are already set up to work from home, video therapy can be an easy thing to integrate into your routine as you already have a space that is set up for video and has enough privacy for a conversation. A bedroom with the door shut also works. Planning sessions around times when your roommates or family are out can be helpful, or you can ask your partner to go for a walk or head to the coffee shop during your therapy time if you're worried about being overheard.
You've got a pretty solid internet connection and your mic works well
A stable internet connection makes a really big difference to the ease and flow of a video session. I would also add having a mic and camera that do a reasonable job capturing your face and voice. Fortunately, many people already have internet access and tech devices that meet the minimum requirements for successful video therapy. You can check your internet speed online - you want download speeds of at least 15mb/s - and remember to test your mic and camera before the session begins. If you do drop out of the call it's ok, some tech hiccups are unavoidable and happen even when you've got a sufficient setup. Most of the time we can make it work one way or another.
You live in a remote area or have mobility challenges
This is where video therapy really has a chance to shine. Do you live on an island, or in a small town in the middle of nowhere? Maybe you'd need to add an extra hour to your already daunting commute in order to get to a therapist's office before or after work? Or maybe you have chronic pain, difficulty accessing reliable transportation, a challenging health condition or the symptoms you're coming to therapy for are themselves a barrier to showing up in person, like depression or agoraphobia? Video therapy can really reduce barriers that might otherwise prevent people from accessing the help they need.
You know you want to work with a particular therapist
For many years, research has shown that success in therapy depends more on the relationship between therapist and client than on any other factor. That means that working with a therapist who feels like a good fit for you, who works in a way that makes sense to you and is effective, or who has a particular specialty or style of training that you are looking for is really important. A good fit between therapist and client can contribute more to your success than having in-person sessions with a therapist you don't click with. Once we start to feel understood and like we matter to someone, we can start to feel their presence and connection with us even over video.
While there were many terrible things about the pandemic that people are understandably ready to leave behind, video therapy is something that offers enough benefits that it's worth considering even without pandemic restrictions mandating it. Like most things, it will be a better fit for some people than for others. If you're someone who has the space, safety and technology in place to do video sessions, or video opens up possibilities for you that would have been otherwise out of reach, video therapy can be a great opportunity. The magic of therapy can happen even in a virtual space, and the human connection is just as real.