Telehealth Therapy: Preparing for Your First Session

Telehealth Therapy:  Preparing for Your First Session

The world is changing, and the medical industry has had to adapt as a result. More and more patients are having virtual appointments with their medical professionals, including their therapists.

Perhaps more than any other medical professional, patients need to feel safe and secure with their therapist. Telehealth visits allow you to get the help you need from the comfort of your own home, which can be very reassuring. However, it can also be nerve-wracking to attempt therapy in a new format. Preparing for your first session in advance can help you feel more confident.

Here are some of our top tips for preparing for your first telehealth therapy visit:

Understand Billing Procedures

If therapy is covered by your insurance, you may assume that teletherapy is covered, as well. However, some insurance companies mandate that their customers utilize in-person visits instead. Contact your provider ahead of time to ensure that they cover telehealth. If they don’t, you can always find a licensed therapist that you can afford out of pocket.

Ensure Your Privacy

Therapy is most effective when both patient and provider can focus on the work they’re doing without disturbances or distractions. Choose a space in your home where you can guarantee privacy for your session, preferably in a room with a locking door. This is especially important if you live with people who have toxic conflicts.

Make Sure Your Technology is in Order

Figure out the device that works best for you well in advance of your appointment. It could be a computer, tablet, or phone. To get a feel for what it will be like to use that device, chat with friends for fifty minutes or so using each option to figure out what works best for you.

Gather any accessories that may make your telehealth visit go more smoothly. Headphones with a microphone attachment are ideal, as they block outside noise and you’ll be able to hear well and communicate clearly.

If there’s any kind of program you need to install before the virtual session, make sure to do that a few days ahead of time and set it up. This will give you time to troubleshoot if issues pop up.

Create a Relaxing Environment

Therapy sessions can often bring up challenging emotions and memories that can provoke feelings of anxiety. Mitigate the effects of these difficulties by surrounding yourself with comfort items. These might include things like:

  • A mug of tea
  • A scented candle or aromatherapy diffuser
  • Something to keep nervous hands busy, like putty you can stretch and knead
  • A cozy blanket

If you have a pet that calms you down, like a cat, you may want to consider letting them into your chosen space. But it might be better to avoid allowing pets in if they will be a distraction.

Therapy can help you get through major events in your life or it can help you to find direction as you move forward. Whether you’re housebound or just like the idea of being in your own space, teletherapy makes mental health care incredibly accessible.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741