Please note: Dr Louisa Hoey is currently unable to accept new referrals

01/10/2019 | ,

Online therapy sessions

There are a range of different reasons that clients see me for online video therapy sessions. So in my article for you today I will explain the advantages as well as some things that are important to think about if you are considering seeing me on video.

I had been thinking about offering online video sessions for some time and so earlier this year when I was suddenly unable to walk, drive or leave my house for two months with a nasty sporting injury I enthusiastically took the leap and dug up my Skype password that I had set up years ago.

Over the weeks when I was only able to see people on video, most of my clients enjoyed the flexibility and time-saving aspects of doing therapy from their home, workplace or car. When you are trying to schedule in a one-hour psychology appointment, you often lose about two to three hours of your day by the time you take into account the costs of getting ready, travel, parking etc. However, online video therapy means you simply log on to your computer wherever you are.

being able to access my specialist eating disorder services from literally anywhere in the world is a game-changer

For many people with disordered eating the anxiety, shame and ‘feeling fat’ that are such common experiences can feel overwhelming and can certainly contribute to some people feeling like getting to a face-to-face session is too much for them. Video sessions can make that easier, you can be in your bedroom if you want - you know I have had people have a session in their PJs and a dressing gown!

And then there is the issue of when either my clients have a cold (or me!) and are worried about spreading germs. You know when you feel a bit unwell but not unwell enough to rest and sleep and at the same time you are worried that people you come in contact with might catch your cold? Video sessions enable you to keep the continuity of your therapy (which is so important in the treatment of eating disorders) while not spreading germs.

The final advantage that is super relevant is for people who live too far away to realistically see me face-to-face. My services are highly sought after because of my extensive experience and interest in the treatment of disordered eating. If you live on the other side of town, in the country or even overseas you may not be able to find someone appropriately qualified in disordered eating so being able to access my services from literally anywhere in the world is a game-changer.

So, lets now talk about what to think about if you are considering my video therapy services? One of the most important things to consider is whether you are feeling suicidal or at risk of harming yourself. That is something to certainly talk with me about in our first conversation or to discuss with your GP about whether video calls will be the best thing for you to ensure that you are safe. If you are feeling this way, this does not necessarily mean that you cannot do video sessions; it means that we would need to consider a little more carefully as it might be that face to face may be better for you. If you are feeling suicidal while reading this, I strongly urge you to contact your GP or nearest emergency hospital since I am not able to offer emergency crisis counselling online or face to face.

There are other practical issues associated with online video therapy such as needing a computer, tablet or phone that you can download Skype on - that is the program that I use. You will also need a 4G connection usually as without that I sometimes find the internet connection isn’t strong enough. I do believe that we need the ‘video’ function rather than telephone as facial expressions and body language are super important for me to be able to tune into as your therapist.

Some people I speak to about potentially using video sessions feel nervous about having their sessions on video. Initially, I thought this might be an age related issue but that bias was soon challenged when some of my older clients who I thought would be the least likely to feel comfortable responded with things like “oh yes I speak to my daughter in London every week!”. And on the other hand, some of the younger people felt uncomfortable. I think the real issue is about a ‘fear of the unknown’. Most people who are initially hesitant but give it a go realise that the advantages (like those I have covered in this article) outweighed the feeling of discomfort of video and seeing their face on the screen. If you are interested but feeling nervous, a first step might be setting up a Whats App, Face time or Skype call with a friend or family member to try it out.

So, if you are interested in online video therapy sessions and after reading through this article you think that you would like to connect with me to gain support for your eating disorder please reach out by filing out my contact form and I will be in touch shortly.

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