Introduction to Online Therapy

Strengths and Limitations of Online Therapy

Telephone and video sessions have some advantages over in-person therapy.  It may be more convenient (no commute) and/or more comfortable (in your own space).  Some clients share that they feel more able to share “deep” things because it is online rather than in person. 

Online therapy is not for everyone. If you want a video session and have poor internet connection, a lack of privacy, or otherwise would simply be more comfortable meeting in person, it is better to for you to pursue a provider who offers that service.  It is important to consider if this applies to you and may impact your therapeutic progress, and select an in-person provider if so. 

Informed Consent

Therapy can have benefits and risks. As with most other forms of treatments, results cannot be guaranteed.

Participation in therapy can result in a number of benefits to you. You may experience increased insight into your patterns of feeling, thinking, behaving and relating to others; improvement in your relationships; resolution of any symptoms that brought you to therapy; and insights, lessons, or techniques that will ameliorate current and future life challenges. 

Benefits to therapy require openness on your part. When information about your feelings, thoughts, behaviors, relationships, or other difficulties are withheld, it is not possible for the therapist to help you with them or to help you understand how they may be related (or not) to the issue for which you are seeking treatment. Benefits also require consistent attendance in therapy and work both in and outside of therapy sessions. 

Therapy involves talking about experiences in your life that may cause you to feel difficult emotions. The goal is to work through, rather than get stuck in, difficult emotions or thoughts. During the process, you may experience painful thoughts or emotions (e.g., anger, hurt, frustration, or confusion). Some people notice an immediate sense of relief when they share their pain with someone else. Others may notice that their symptoms get worse, before they begin to get better. In either case, it’s important to share your reactions to this online therapy. 

It is important to talk to your therapist about these reactions to therapy when they come up. They may be a natural, tolerable, and expected reaction to your work in therapy. Other times it may be necessary or preferable to change the pace of your therapeutic work if the feelings are too uncomfortable. Or, if you find the sessions are not helping, it is important to talk about other options.

How therapy works at Your Life Design Inc.

Your first session/s will involve an evaluation of your needs. While evaluation is ongoing, the initial phase of evaluation will result in a discussion of your therapy goals and recommendations about how you might reach those goals. You and your therapist will work together to reach a shared understanding of where your problems come from and what factors in your life contribute to keeping those problems in place. 

This information guides how you will move forward in resolving them. Should either you or your therapist determine that the type of services offered, or the mode of services (e.g., online) is not a good fit for you, or even if the you find you are not a good fit with your therapist, your therapist will share recommendations for another provider.

While the specific methods of therapy will come from an evaluation of your needs (assessment), it may be helpful for you to understand the general process. Initially, the work will be about getting to know and understand you, together.  Your therapist will make this as comfortable as possible by listening carefully, reflecting back what is heard so that you can let your therapist know if they are really “getting” you, and collaborating with you to form connections between your experiences with your feelings, with your thoughts and your impulses or behaviors. 

You and your therapist will look at your current life, your early life, and even your “life” in the therapy session to see if themes that exist in all three areas. When those kinds of thematic issues are discovered, it helps to know that you are working on a “core” issue. Core issues can initially feel harder to work on and can bring up more pain, but ultimately can provide longer term relief. You and your therapist will also do things to bring immediate relief to areas of suffering – for example, if you struggle with anger or anxiety, it will be assessed deeply and then you can practice strategies to overcome it.

If you have unanswered questions about any of the procedures used in the course of your therapy, their possible risks, the clinician’s expertise in employing them, or about the treatment plan, please ask and you will be answered fully.  You also have the right to ask about other options for the issues you are experiencing, and their risks and benefits.

Therapy may also involve recommendations or referrals to additional services that support your wellness (e.g., psychiatrist, physician, etc.). In some cases these treatments are so vital and central to your recovery that your clinician is unable to ethically continue providing therapy without your concurrent treatment with these providers. Most often, however, these are recommendations not requirements.

Technology

The telehealth platform used at Your Life Design Inc. is called OnCall Health. Clients can opt to receive therapy sessions via telephone or video. You will receive an email from OnCall Health.  You will need a telephone, iPad, or a lap top computer for online sessions. It is suggested that you use Google Chrome. Then, prior to our meeting, you will receive a reminder about our appointment time. 

You can also call OnCall Health (1-888-687-9288) if you are having any technical difficulties booking appointments, making payment or getting online for your session. Clients are encouraged to do a test prior to their appointment to make sure that everything is working well on their side. You can check that your microphone, speakers, and video are working this way. You can always opt for a telephone call if you do not prefer a video.   

If you opt for a video session, it may take a few seconds for us to show up on each other’s screens. That’s normal. If it seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time, feel free to text, email, or call Your Life Design Inc. to troubleshoot. The telephone number at Your Life Design Inc. is 902-316-0745.

Technical issues are rare and usually very easy to resolve. Often turning things off and back on again typically fixes most issues.

Additional Pro-Tips for Online Therapy

  • If others will be nearby while you are in therapy, ensure that you have adequate privacy prior to the session.  Therapy is serious work. You do not want to be interrupted.
  • Turn off notifications on your computer and phone once we are connected.
  • Bring tissues.  
  • You may be extra cozy because you are somewhere familiar to you and you may feel more casual because the work is online and you are used to socializing that way. Remind yourself prior to the session that you are here to do the meaningful work of positive change. 
  • Research says that the connection between therapist and client is the primary determinant of therapeutic change.  We want to make sure that we connect well over video so in our first session, we’ll share some tricks to make sure that we can look at each other, rather than the camera, when we talk.  If it looks off to you, please let us know.  Eye contact matters. If you opt for a telephone call, that’s your choice as well.

Dual Relationships

A dual relationship is when you may know your therapist in another capacity, e.g., as your neighbour. Not all dual relationships are unethical or avoidable. However, sexual involvement between therapist and client is never part of the therapy process, nor are any other actions or dual relationship situations that might impair your clinician’s objectivity, clinical judgment or therapeutic effectiveness, nor that could be exploitative in nature.

Location of Services

Online therapy allows Your Life Design Inc. to provide services to a broader geographic range of clients than in-person services.  Your Life Design Inc. is owned and operated in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Located and operated from:

Prince Edward Island, Canada

Located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Abegweit Mi'kmaq First Nation

info@yourlifedesign.ca

902-316-0745

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