Willow Grove Wellness specializes in delivering personalized and effective online counseling. Our therapists are experts at creating a safe and welcoming digital space, but there are a few things that you can do to prepare to get the most out of your appointment. Here's what you should consider:
Choose where you will be during your therapy session
One of the biggest benefits of online counseling is the ability to have a therapy session from anywhere. Still, where you choose to have your session is one of the most important factors in the success of teletherapy.
Make sure you are somewhere completely private. You should be in a private room where you are able to close the door. Some people like to do a test run ahead of time to make sure that their sound does not carry outside of the room. If there will be others in your home/office that may be able to overhear you, consider finding a more private location. While not ideal, some of our clients find that the only private place that they have (especially if they have kids at home) is in their car. This is ok as long as the car isn't moving during your therapy session. If you start an appointment and it is clear that your location isn't private, your therapist will ask you to end the session and reschedule for a time where you can plan for a better location.
Minimize distractions and Interruptions. We can't always control the chaos in our homes or busyness of our offices, but the more you can minimize distractions and interruptions, the better. Turn off the TV, close all of the other windows on your computer, and ask others in the home to be quiet if possible. If you have kids, consider scheduling your appointment for a time when they will be out of the home or asking your partner to keep them occupied during your session. The fewer distractions you have, the more connected you will feel to your therapist.
The safer you feel in your environment the better. One of our main goals is to help you feel safe during your therapy session so that you can share and process the difficult things that may be bothering you. Some of this safety comes from the therapist, but starting the appointment in a place where you feel calm and relaxed can help too.
Some places are not appropriate for therapy... We wish we didn't have to say it, but some places are just not appropriate for holding your therapy session. This includes in the bathroom or bathtub, in a moving car, or at a public place like a coffee shop.
What equipment will you need
A Computer or Tablet are preferred, but a phone will work. We have found that people have a better experience and feel more connected to their therapist when they are using a device with a bigger screen and that they don't have to hold. Prior to your appointment, you will receive a link to the video session. If you are on a computer or laptop, you will not need to download anything ahead of time -- the link will open in your regular internet browser. Google Chrome or Firefox are preferred (there are often sound issues when using the Safari browser). If you are using a phone or tablet, you will need to download the Telehealth by SimplePractice App from the app store ahead of your appointment. The app is free and easy to use.
Headphones. In general, sound will be clearer if you utilize headphones with a microphone for your counseling session. If you are doing an EMDR session, headphones are required.
A Notebook and Pen. We recommend that you have a dedicated notebook that you bring to therapy each week. This is a place that you can take notes if desired, complete homework tasks, or just doodle if it helps you! You may also decide to bring drawing supplies like markers or colored pencils.
Can I wear my pajamas?
Yes! We want you to be comfortable during your therapy sessions and that means pajamas are ok. We do ask, however, that you are dressed during your therapy sessions. We do not allow nudity or underwear only to be worn.