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Virtual Therapy Session Checklist

written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse Written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

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June 28, 2022 Read Time - 5 minutes

How Do I Prepare for a Virtual Therapy Session?

First, congratulate yourself on taking the first step to healing. Mental health is just as important as your physical health. Making your mental health a priority is courageous and will lead to feelings of connectedness in relationships and within yourself. Preparing for a virtual therapy session is important so that you get the most out of each session. 

Submit Any Needed Documents or Forms Prior to Your Virtual Therapy Session 

Pre-forms are important to fill out entirely prior to virtual therapy sessions. These forms ask generalized questions about your physical health, mental health, familiar mental health issues, current living environment, emergency contact, and your goals for therapy. It is important to be honest when filling out these forms and be as transparent as you can. The more vulnerable you allow yourself to be, the more easily your therapist can quickly get to the root of the emotional problem.

Documents and forms may include additional questions about your background, context for your visit, and goals in which you wish to obtain by attending therapy sessions. Pre-forms are used by your therapist as a starting point to your therapy session. These forms give your therapist a generalized summary of your mental health and factors that may contribute to emotional distress.

Find a Quiet Area for Your Therapy Session

Distractions and background noises can ruin a good therapy session. Finding a quiet area for your therapy session is extremely important to get the most out of each session. Imagine going to a doctor’s appointment and having a TV blaring in the exam room, a toddler running around, and you trying to work from your smartphone. Needless to say, you would not hear what the doctor was telling you and quite possibly you wouldn’t understand the next steps in your treatment plan. Similarly, you should treat an online therapy session like you would a doctor’s appointment. In order to focus on your therapy session you will need to minimize distractions. Common distractions include:

  • Work related tasks on the computer
  • Social media
  • Emails popping up during your session
  • Caretaking issues
  • Coworkers
  • Too bright or too dim lighting
  • Phone notifications
  • Being hungry or thirsty
  • Needing to use the restroom

Common background noises include:

  • TV station playing
  • Music stations or radio
  • Children playing, screaming, crying, or laughing loudly
  • Phone ringtones
  • Construction
  • Traffic
  • Fans and other household noises

For technological distractions, you can enable “do not disturb” on your smartphone during your therapy session to minimize interruptions. You can also silence your phone entirely. You will need to focus on what the therapist is saying and the therapist needs to understand you clearly as well. Distractions muddle up communication between two people, and nothing is more important than clear communication during a virtual therapy session. If possible, strive for a quiet area without distractions for your virtual therapy sessions.

Holding back due to fear of being exposed is a valid concern. However, patient confidentiality and privacy is taken very seriously during online therapy sessions. Online therapy platforms have extra security to ensure privacy is maintained and that there are no HIPPA violations during each session. 

As always, each online session maintains the expectation of patient-therapist confidentiality agreements. Licensed therapists are also trained in ways to maintain privacy and confidentiality.

Double-Check Your Technology Before Your Virtual Therapy Session

Stable internet connection is important for online therapy sessions as well as making sure you can log into the virtual therapy platform. Before each online therapy session, you are able to double-check your internet connection. 

Before your appointment, you will click on a link that “tests” your internet strength and connectivity. A dial on your phone will indicate a strong connection. If you have a poor connection, make sure that your WIFI service is turned on. If you are concerned your internet connection is not strong enough, you can go to an area where a hotspot is available.

To ensure a strong connection, you can close out extra internet windows. Have a backup plan if you get disconnected. For example, you can begin the virtual therapy session on your computer, and if it fails, you can finish the session on your smartphone. It is important to set up technology in advance to get the most out of each therapy session.

It is important to make sure your audio and video are working properly on your smartphone or computer. You can grant access to the PlushCare app to enable your audio and video prior to each session. Both audio and video are used during your virtual therapy session.

Be Prepared to Discuss Your Concerns 

Your voice and emotions matter, which is why it is important to discuss your concerns with your therapist. Therapists are experts in human emotions, so they are not afraid of any emotions you express to them. Some topics of discussion during online therapy sessions include specific thoughts, feelings, emotions, life experiences, symptoms, and challenges you may be facing.

Be Prepared With Any Notes or Questions for Your Therapist

Being prepared for your online therapy session will make the most of each session. Have a pen and paper nearby before and during your session to write down any notes or questions you have for your therapist. Write down any strong emotions or challenges you have that you would like to discuss with your therapist. Your therapist is a professional mental health expert, so they are capable of helping you process big emotions and provide wise guidance.

Book a Virtual Therapy Session Today

Take your first step to healing by booking an appointment for a virtual therapy session today. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Mental health is just as important as physical health which is why virtual therapy is recommended for anyone who is suffering with mental health issues or life stressors.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). How to cope with your feelings. Accessed on June 20, 2022 from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/survivors/healthy-living-guides/emotional-health/how-to-cope.htm

Counseling Today. (2020). Making the ‘new’ normal: Five tips for providing teletherapy. Accessed on June 28, 2022 from https://ct.counseling.org/2020/09/making-the-new-normal-five-tips-for-providing-teletherapy/

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