Don’t let the snow or flu season interfere with your therapy sessions. Inclement weather and less sunlight during winter can increase depression, illness, and lethargy. It brings that “I just want to stay at home and rest” feeling. Many of my clients are now using phone or video sessions for this reason and others. Recently, a client’s child was home sick from school, so I told her to grab a cup of coffee or tea and we could have our session over the phone. An increasingly popular method of counseling, distance therapy allows you to have therapy anywhere—from the comfort of your own home or wherever you have access to a phone or computer.
Distance Therapy Works
Many of us are accustomed to seeing a therapist in his or her office for 50 to 60 minutes. However, in Scientific American’s Distance Therapy Comes of Age, Robert Epstein, a Harvard researcher and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, writes about how effective distance therapy can be versus traditional sessions. “With distant therapy,” he says, “you can see your progress in black and white, referring to people who text with their therapist. The sessions are visible and can be reviewed for progress. Research demonstrates that remote email chat voice or text can effectively treat cognitive, behavioral and emotional disorders.”
The college students I work with enjoy texting me about their anxiety, relationships, and school stress before class (or even during), because they like the quick and effective interaction. It’s simply more convenient for them. Many students are also away from home, unable to come into my office, or are just too busy and distracted by school projects and socializing. They may not reach out for help if phone sessions or texting were not available.
Emailing is another preferred option for some people who like to update me during the day, so that they don’t forget important topics to discuss at their upcoming session. They can also ask for help throughout the week before our next appointment. Emailing, texting, video, or phone sessions are a quick and easy way to solve problems with a professional therapist.
Distance therapy sessions are becoming more and more popular all over the world. The fact is, people are busy everywhere. Many couples are working late hours. They are commuting long distances and are fatigued by the end of the day. Couples sessions by video are increasing every week at my practice, because they offer people convenience, emotional support, and guidance through stressful work weeks.
New mothers, known for having little time for themselves and in need of support during transition, also tend to find distance therapy an easy alternative. When the weather is harsh, they don’t want to drive with their toddler or they may just want to stay in their pajamas because they have been up all night with a crying child. With distance therapy, they can still easily receive needed care and treatment.
Make a Plan For Behavioral Change
One of the first things I do with each of my clients—whether in person or in distance therapy—is to create a behavioral plan. This helps patients better manage their work, children, and relationships. Often, couples are concerned about their family and how to help everyone work together in a less stressful environment. I help people to create, review, or edit their behavioral plan so the family can implement it in the home. This personalized plan helps to reduce problem behaviors or increase desired behaviors. We discuss minor problems, like clutter and no one picking up after themselves, which create ongoing stress, arguing, and anger. Other targets may be financial stress or concerns about behavior problems with the children or spouse. A statement of the behavior is targeted for change; then, short term and long-term behavior goals are created. An explanation of how the behaviors and progress will be measured, and an explanation of what the plan will include (such as charts or rewards) are agreed upon. Finally, the plan is reviewed and revised weekly or biweekly as needed. This is very helpful for families and individuals because it keeps them not only involved with their life coach or therapist, but also feeling supported and accountable.
Although in person talk therapy will continue to be a way for patients to receive care, distance therapy is a convenient option for many. Join my clients who already use the convenience of online, talk, and/or chat therapy. Distance therapy is an extremely effective way to improve your life.
Dr. Jean Pollack is an EMDR therapist at Innovative Counseling Services Inc. Read her book, Tango from Chaos to Creativity.
We offer a FREE 15 minute session to new clients. Contact Us to schedule it today. These sessions are only available via phone, email, text and Skype.