May 26, 2022

5 mins read

How to Win At Teletherapy

Going from offices to virtual spaces in the blink of an eye wasn’t planned for. Nobody knew they would have to start making their coffee at home. Nobody knew pants were going to be a thing of the past. The times called for major adjustments, work-based technological adjustments being one of the most challenging. The introduction of telehealth seemed a bit intimidating at first. Will this work? How can this be done? But time has proven the ability to adapt always exists. Many practices have decided to be hybrid or virtual permanently. This shift shows many people are making it work.

Compared with in person healthcare, telehealth requires you to be a bit more dynamic and adaptable. Teletherapy will be successful if you have the right tools and prepare accordingly. These practical tips will help set you up to ensure connection and success with your clients.

Assure Privacy and Trust

Just like in person appointments, there is a level of confidentiality and privacy that is expected from the provider in a virtual practice. This seems like a no-brainer but it’s a bit more complex with technology. Being virtual means your location, preparation, confidentiality, and professional tools look different.

Virtual therapy shouldn’t change your familiarity or competency with your client and their needs. Stay prepared with relevant documents nearby: folders, files, notebooks, or other technology to quickly reference. It assures you’re prepared but also shows you are attentive to the details.

Confidentiality is key in building trust. Be sure to utilize a HIPAA focused platform, such as Markee, to host therapeutic services. Protecting the client remains a priority, so ensuring this security provides peace of mind. Another part of ensuring confidentiality and building trust, is making sure you are in a secure private room without distractions. Set yourself in a private quiet setting to model the feel of an in person session.

Technical Efficiency

One of the key factors for effective telehealth operations is, of course, technology. Setting up your technology to be efficient and setting yourself up to make your technology work best for you are necessary for all sessions.

Operating a practice through a screen limits how you can engage the senses. Virtual practice forces the focus to be on sight and sound and so lighting and viewpoint are crucial. You are communicating with your client through a screen now; what they can see and hear is imperative to a productive session. Make sure you have enough light and that you are fully in view. You want to be visible from a viewpoint that shows the client you are attentive and engaged. This is especially significant in your non-verbal communication.

Virtual experiences call for a greater reliance on sound and communication. Quality sound is also crucial to teletherapy. Make sure your speaker and microphone are working properly at all times. Hearing your clients voice clearly and them hearing yours clearly is a necessity. Audible volume with clear sound assures the exchange can flow.

The backbone to the above, is a strong secure internet connection. If the WiFi is weak, your lighting, view, or sound won’t matter. You’ll just sound like you’re underwater and look like you have morphed into a hundred large pixels. Test your connection via the platform you're practicing prior to your appointments. Testing your camera out in advance can show you how you look and if the lighting is efficient. Testing your mic and speaker lets you know if they’re functioning properly and if any adjustments are needed.

Real Life Habits Are Still Important

Virtual practice will always be different to in-person, but that does not have to be a bad thing. Maintaining certain “in real life” routines can aid in running a successful teletherapy practice. Note taking with pen and paper as opposed to typing notes and documentation can aid in processing information and give your brain rest from screen time. This can help keep you sharp with retaining information and actively listening to the client.

Hopping on a video call seems easy and can come naturally from all the time people spend on screens now. But, physical and mental preparation is still a major key. Gather your thoughts in advance in your “virtual office”, think of your objectives with the client, take time to review your notes, or jot a few things down. Get organized–make your prep part of your confidence and security in providing services.

Since what your client can see through video is one of the biggest focal points of a session, emphasizing non verbal-communication is necessary. Not only is it reassuring and indicative, it shows engagement. Your facial expressions, eyes, hand gestures or placements, and body language go a long way through a screen. Over 70% of communication is non-verbal, what you’re doing matters.

Presentation matters too. Looking the part regardless of location is meaningful. Presenting in a well-kept, professional manner is a great way to nonverbally communicate. You are present, professional, and prepared for your client. Who wants to see their therapist in a wrinkled tee with bed hair on the other side of the screen? Please grab your favorite worktop and look your best, even if you have pj’s on the bottom. It will be appreciated more than you think.

Engaging Your Client

Different sessions constitute different flows for the time between provider and client. One session may be more conversational while another is more activity focused. Knowing your client and how to engage them in this new digital experience is imperative. Do they need video references? Are they receptive to book excerpts or quotes? Is a brain break helpful? What resources can be shared to support them?

Virtual doesn’t mean compromising quality of care, it just means a different approach to maintaining quality of care. Sitting in a location staring at a screen can cause burnout or lead to a loss of interest; being dynamic comes in handy here. Keeping engagement strong virtually is a skill in itself.

Markee is the Answer

You being a great service provider is the first step, having a great platform to assure this is relayed is the next. Markee allows you to do all of the above with ease. With the best industry security protocols and HIPAA compliant video chatting services available, you can feel secure about your clients’ privacy. Building connection through trust happens when the systems in place work for the good of clients and providers. Encrypted file sharing and customizable display can help clients feel more secure in a virtual experience. Markee features like “knocking”, having a virtual “door”, video chat, and instant messaging allow providers to feel connected in a new way.

Markee is available to help you provide quality care as easily as possible. Chat with someone today on Markee’s website to learn more about how you can upgrade your virtual practice and be best friends with your technology. Sign up for your free trial or demo here.