by Devika Dibya Choudhuri
August 5, 2020
In the current pandemic, conducting tele mental health sessions has been the only way that we can ensure our clients’ and own safety. I will admit I never gave it much serious thought, particularly since I work with trauma and couldn’t imagine doing that intense work remotely. However, as needs must, I adapted and found myself learning a whole new medium that has ended up being astonishingly effective. As I share some of the lessons I have learned, please keep in mind that I am primarily discussing synchronous videoconferencing using online practice tools like Google Meet, Zoom or Doxy.me.
One must admit, the access and commitment clients have is amazing when they don’t have to travel. They are there early or right on time to enter. The weather is not a barrier except as small talk. I much prefer the lack of acrimony I feel when a client cancels and I haven’t had to juggle a schedule to adjust—instead, I breathe in delight that I have a free moment and promptly get busy doing something else. I also find clients to be much more comfortable in their spaces then in what they intuitively know as the therapist space. And of course, they are being physically distant and taking care of themselves.
10 guidelines for groupwork online:
When you open, you want to welcome member presence. Have some ritual activity of connection where people can “breathe together” even if they are in different.