Can you speak from a location which is private where you are confident that you will not be overheard? This consideration is extremely important. Unless you feel sure you are not being overheard, then it’s unlikely that you will be able to really open up and speak freely with your therapist. At the very least, what is required is a room from which you can have the session knowing that you will not be interrupted.
Will Others be Able to Hear your conversation?
Complicating this somewhat is the fact that there may be people living with you who do not know that you are having therapy sessions. If this is the case with you, then it’s something to think seriously about before embarking on online sessions. If you are worried that you will be unable to keep things under wraps or worried about the implications were someone living with you to find out you are having therapy, then this is likely to detract from the experience making it difficult for you to speak openly.
Assuming that you are able to take online calls in the privacy of your own home with none of the above issues, then that box is ticked and we can move on to thinking about your tech set up and how to get the most out of your sessions.
Getting you Tech Set Up Right for Online Therapy Sessions
As a rule of thumb, the faster your internet connection the better. The best way to ensure that you are getting the fastest connection possible is to connect an ethernet cable from your router to your computer. Using the cable ensures that there is no drop off in speed which can occur using a wireless connection.
In reality however, it’s likely that you may well need to use a wireless connection simply because your router may be located somewhere in your house from which it is not possible to have the online session. For instance, it might be in a shared space such as your living room or even in your hallway depending where your primary telephone socket is located.
Run an Internet Speed Test
This shouldn’t be a problem. As a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to be able to test your internet speed using an ethernet connection just so you know what your fastest speed is. Then, you will know whether you are able to get a comparable speed using a wireless connection. Depending on where you are in your home, the likelihood is that there may well be some drop off in speed but not usually enough for this to be an issue.
If you’re using a wireless connection, then it’s a good idea to do a quick speed test prior to your session just to make sure that you’ve not built up interference on your line which can slow down your internet speed. Just to give you an example, I’ve been caught short on several occasions when I’ve had a poor-quality online experience only to discover afterwards that there was a serious degradation in the speed of my wireless connection. This is easily remedied by simply turning the router on and off. By resetting the router in this way, any interference is dissipated and you should be able to regain your optimum speed once again.
Check your Internet Speed Prior to your Online Therapy Session
I’m now in the habit of checking my speed every morning before commencing sessions just to be sure that everything is working okay. If you would like to check the speed of your internet connection, you can do this easily by visiting speedtest.net and running a check.
Use your Best Device for Sessions
Another obvious factor which can impact the quality of your online experience is the quality of the device which you are using for your call. The older your computer the more likely you will run into difficulties. I’ve worked with people who have had problems running any of my video conferencing apps but were able to resolve this issue by wiping their hard drive and reinstalling their windows or mac platform from scratch once again.
This is something which we should all most probably do periodically as a matter of course since it gives you a clean slate with which to work once again and immediately eliminates many of the subtle software glitches which can slow down your computer making it difficult to run some of the more modern video conferencing apps which can require significant amounts of bandwidth.
That being said, one of the apps which I use called Vsee has been designed to run with less bandwidth when it detects such issues including slow internet speeds so even with an old computer, the likelihood is that you should still be able to find a way to make online therapy work for you.
If for any reason, your preferred device just doesn’t work too well, then try another one. Most video conferencing apps work well across devices and I have a number of clients who are happy to use their phones to take calls rather than use a computer.