The Truth About Teletherapy

For many people in early recovery, the idea of a teletherapy session may seem intimidating. Do not let this stop you from seeking help. Teletherapy occurs virtually and can be just as powerful as an in-person session, it works if you work it. 

As safety precautions remain at the forefront of COVID-19 priorities, your local group may have moved their sessions virtually – realistically allowing everyone to continue their treatment work over a stable internet connection. If your therapy sessions have been moved online, or you are considering a teletherapy program, these 3 tips will help you get the most out of your therapy time.

1. Contact Your Therapist First

If you are attending an IOP program through a virtual session, try contacting your therapist over email to introduce yourself by giving some brief information about your background and following up with questions about theirs. 

This will allow you to gauge the personal connection you have with your therapist before starting the outpatient work. Where did they attend college, how long have they been practicing, and what is their personal experience with addiction? As a patient, finding these things out can strengthen the connection you have and ultimately bring you greater success in therapy

2. Find a quiet space

When participating in teletherapy, it is important that your space is quiet and free of distractions. Due to the sensitivity of group work, there should not be anyone else present in the room while you are in therapy. Try to find a comfortable place where you are free to open up about yourself and what is happening in your life. In order to bring positive changes into your life, you have to be willing to share the details of your life and sober journey.

Using headphones is key to removing unwanted noise. If you are worried about someone hearing you during therapy, turning a fan on can help lower your voice. By finding the right environment to work in, you will see better results. Continue to improve your space and make sure that your roommates are aware of your schedule. Remember that everything you say in therapy is confidential and private.

3. Write down your thoughts before

Summarizing the high and low parts of your day or week can be a helpful start. By identifying the obstacles that trigger relapse, sobriety becomes manageable. Find out what your nerves are telling you, and what stops you from achieving your goals. If you are in early sobriety and find that a friend or coworker is irritating you, it may be a sign that you should examine your own behavior. Many times other people teach us about ourselves.

This also comes down to showing up prepared. If you are asked to read a passage over the week before class, it is important that you do so and that it resonates with you. Just going through the motions is not enough. Take time to work towards tackling your obstacles and staying on top of classwork to lead a healthy and sober lifestyle.

Teletherapy may seem intimidating, do not let this stop you. By working in an online setting, you can achieve similar results as face-to-face sessions. Intensive Outpatient programs are meeting online due to safety precautions to diminish the risk of spreading COVID-19. Before starting your teletherapy Intensive Outpatient, be sure to set aside the time and space you need each day to make a positive connection with your group and therapist.