Coping with the pandemic that began in 2020 hasn’t been easy for therapists or their clients. The advent of telehealth and online therapy changed a lot about the way therapy is done. The intimacy of being in the same room, the ability to pick up the nuance of every facial expression and body movement, and the lack of environmental distractions you get with patients in your office space are not part of online therapy, but other good things are.
While it has taken time for many clients and therapists to adjust to working remotely, it has become a matter of course for many. In fact, there are clients who prefer to have their sessions online, and therapists who have been able to move their practices away from their offices to a point where they are working fully remotely.
When you work with clients online, you have a lot more flexibility. It’s easier for both of you to find time for your appointments, with travel to and from the office taken out of the equation. If you see all your clients online, you may not even need an office anymore. And, even if you have a hybrid operation, where some sessions are in person while others are not, it is always good to know you have the option of working online, especially when you and/or your clients want to avoid spreading viruses.
Other advantages include:
fewer cancellations due to the convenience of meeting without commuting
clients (in most cases) feeling more comfortable and vulnerable in their own spaces
ease of caring for your own home environment, including children
more focus of attention and a different sort of intimacy due to the face-to-face nature of the online interaction
the possibility of working in a region outside of your locality, and in some cases, even across state lines.
There are difficulties involved with online sessions, to be sure, but many of them can be overcome. Some more challenging problems are:
establishing a safe space for clients involved in domestic violence to be able to speak freely
safely monitoring those who have brought up the topic of self-harm
technology-related glitches, such as Internet and power outages
Therapists must always ascertain that their clients are in safe places when they engage in online sessions, where they cannot be overheard by those who would harm them. The same goes for self-harm. A person who is in a severe crisis will require close supervision.
Technology glitches are inconvenient enough when one is simply retrieving email, but in a therapeutic interaction they can be disruptive and upsetting. Frozen screens, dropped connections, and other interruptions at an especially emotional time can be frightening to both the client and the therapist.
Similar situations, such as a power outage, can happen in an office, as well. What would you do, for example, if the power went out and your client got stuck in an elevator, or if all the lights went off just as you were listening to someone’s childhood memory of being locked in a closet?
The point is that uncomfortable disruptions happen in both in person and online sessions. It is up to the therapist to manage them properly. In the case of online sessions, there are measures you can take to minimize or ameliorate stressful situations.
Have the client give you the number of someone nearby, such as a relative or neighbor, who could come to the client in the event of an emergency, or if the client should need in-person consoling or medical attention.
Set up a procedure for dealing with dropped connections. A back-up connection, such as an app that permits you to connect over the cellular network, would serve to allow the session to continue.
Ensure that any laptop or other battery-operated device is fully charged or plugged into an outlet.
Prepare your client for the online meeting with an instruction sheet for signing on for their sessions.
Emphasize your compliance with HIPAA regulations so that your clients will feel safe and protected.
Ensure that your liability insurance covers online therapy.
If you haven’t tried online therapy yet, the many opportunities that it offers might entice you to begin to use it more. This article from Good Therapy offers some additional information about the positive and negative points of conducting therapy sessions online.
Surprising results have come through for therapists who work with modalities that are more “hands-on” than talk therapy might be. EMDR therapists work online, as do the Heart-Centered Hypnotherapists trained by The Wellness Institute. With the safety guidelines listed above in place, even the deep work experienced by hypnotherapy clients can be done online.
In order to be effective at working with people in altered states online, it is necessary to make some adjustments. For instance, you would invite the client to have equipment on hand, such as tissues, something to drink, and any equipment you might use for emotional release and inner child work. These items are ordinarily provided by the therapist when clients visit the therapist’s office, but this isn’t possible when working remotely.
Practitioners of Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™ have had tremendous success with working online. In fact, therapists have discovered how effective it can be to work online, and The Wellness Institute has migrated its online training to a highly efficient and convenient online format.
The Wellness Institute’s Six-Day Hypnotherapy Training and Certification Program is offered completely online, with live teachers who will guide you through the learning process. Experiential learning involves participants experiencing hypnotherapy in the roles of therapist, client, and observer. Experienced hypnotherapists assist the teachers by working in small groups with participants as they go through their first sessions.
The didactic material in the Six-Day Hypnotherapy Training and Certification Program covers the basics of hypnotherapy, and demonstrates how to use it to treat:
child development and behavior issues
This unique and comprehensive program will enable you to learn everything you need to know to become a certified hypnotherapist in just six days. Once you complete practice sessions outside the class, you’ll submit your anonymized session summaries and receive full certification.
The Six-Day Hypnotherapy Training and Certification Program is a practical way to deal with meeting CE requirements for many therapists. Our Advanced Training Programs provide the opportunity for therapists to further develop their skills and experience deep transformation that fulfills The Wellness Institute’s Mission: to heal the healers.
The Institute’s Introduction to Hypnosis class is a two-day seminar that allows participants to learn how to use hypnosis to help clients handle issues such as stress, pain management, performance anxiety, bad habits, and addictions. Taking this course is an excellent way for you to decide if you’d like to embark on the full journey toward becoming a certified hypnotherapist. You will also learn self-hypnosis, which can help you manage stress and explore your inner world.
Because the course is taught online, you will find it easy to learn how to conduct sessions online as well as in person. The Wellness Institute has been training therapists in hypnotherapy for more than three decades, and is still on the cutting edge of this exciting field.
As technology continues to transform the way we administer therapy, don’t get left behind.