The Catalyst Center recognizes that this is an incredibly complex time with multiple major events coinciding in stressful ways. We are all experiencing unprecedented types of challenges, stressors, and uncertainty about the future. At a time like this, it is easy to feel lost and confused about what to do. Even as many of us struggle with knowing the right ways forward, we at The Catalyst Center want to offer reassurance that we are still here and are going to continue doing what we do best. We are helpers to our core. We are givers and guides and supportive to those in need. No virus or economic or political event is going to keep us from our purpose of bringing goodness to a world that is hurting. Although many of us are facing government mandated social distancing measures, we are committed to continuing your care. We are working on adapting our services to include virtual therapy (telemedicine) so that no one has to go without mental health support. We have compiled this document to answer some of the common questions we are getting about virtual therapy, and how this might change your care. Read on for details on how we are expanding our services to continue meeting your needs.
How does virtual therapy work?
Technology is incredible insofar as it allows us to continue many daily tasks we would otherwise have to forgo. We are capable of having realtime interactions over communication networks that keep us closely connected, even when we must practice social distancing. There are many virtual platforms that allow us to have private, one on one meetings using a variety of different electronic devices. These virtual interactions are different than in person meetings, yet they still allow us to have a sense of conversational nuance, emotional expression, and mutual reading of one another’s cues. There is a different experience when connecting via a screen, but is something we can adapt to with less practice than you might think.
Will virtual therapy feel different?
The term “virtual therapy” might seem distant or even cold. However, it can have both depth and warmth that is based upon the rapport you and your therapist can build together. Your therapist will work with you on becoming comfortable in the interaction style, and we work hard to bring a vibrancy to virtual conversations. After some time, you will “settle in” to the conversation and sometimes forget you’re virtual. It’s like a watching a movie and then at some point forgetting that your watching a screen.
What can we do in virtual therapy?
You are able to do the vast majority of the activities you normally would in session such as talk processing, relaxation techniques, problem-solving, and skill-building.
Can children do virtual therapy?
Children are often familiar with video chat so they are usually comfortable using it. Sessions might need to be briefer than in-person, but can still use activities such as art projects, story-telling, and skills practice. Performing multiple, shorter interactions over virtual platforms can be an effective strategy to maximize attention and maintain consistency.
How do I get set up for virtual therapy?
The Catalyst Center uses Zoom’s healthcare professional platform because it is HIPAA compliant, offers high quality streaming, and is very easy to use. Prior to your first virtual session, you will want to download the Zoom app to your device so that you will be ready to link to your therapy meeting. Your therapist will send you a link via email or text prior to your session time, and this will allow you to click the link and join the private meeting with your therapist.
How do I get the most out of virtual therapy?
- Privacy is key for your own personal comfort with sharing intimate material. It helps if the setting is consistent as this will help you associate the environment with your therapy space.
- Bring what you will need to be engaged and supplied. Grab a beverage, blanket, or tissue so you can stay in the moment and experience of therapy.
- Build a routine both before and after sessions. Let yourself have space and time to transition into and out of therapy mode. We take care of our bodies before and after a physical workout, and it is important to do the same with our mental and emotional health.
- Remove distractions so you can be present in all the necessary ways to do good therapy. Multitasking will diminish the effectiveness of the session, and it is best for you to be as focused as possible.
Many of us don’t prefer to change if we don’t have to. However, change is sometimes the very thing we need to continue moving forward effectively. The massive measures that have been taken to keep us all safer have forced all of us into a change we didn’t ask for. Nevertheless, we will do what is needed to meet the new challenges and continue bringing our commitment to helping others to the world that deeply needs it more than ever.