As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, most practitioners are starting to conduct AOD therapy sessions with clients remotely via videoconferencing.
Telehealth is a feasible treatment delivery option for therapy, but it does require some preparation to ensure you and your clients are comfortable with the change.
Here are 5 tips for conducting AOD therapy remotely!
Tip #1: Sort out your tech first!
Most complaints regarding telehealth relate to technical issues during sessions.
Therefore it’s incredibly important that practitioners do a few ‘test runs’ to ensure software is working effectively before a session.
You should also allow some time for the client to orient themselves with the tech to ensure both of you are comfortable with the process.
A rather common mistake is ensuring a good camera position: the client wants to see your face, not up your nose!
Tip #2: Quiet, private environments for AOD therapy – on both sides!
Both clients and practitioners should undertake videoconferencing in a private environment free of distractions.
This may be difficult for some clients, so get creative! Let the client know they should go to wherever they feel comfortable, even if it means conferencing via their car in the garage.
Tip #3: Have a back up option for your AOD therapy (have a few!)
Technical glitches in video and audio are bound to happen, therefore it’s crucial you have a number of alternative telehealth options at your disposable.
For example, videoconferencing software fails, try something simple like FaceTime on the phone etc. In some circumstances sessions may need to be undertaken via audio only.
Whilst the key is to avoid technical issues, it’s just as important to be able to quickly switch to alternatives if problems do arise.
Tip #4: Telehealth your AOD therapy resources!
Providing therapy remotely should never mean a client misses out on the usual worksheets, handouts and activities of a face-to-face session.
Think of how you can adapt these activities online whilst still maintaining confidentiality. For example, GoogleDoc or DropBox may be useful to provide documents to a particular email requiring a password to access.
Tip #5: Involve your clients with AOD therapy!
Telehealth is a new experience for both you and your client. Always check in to see how they are adapting to the change and brainstorm together ways to improve the delivery.
Consider emailing a summary or notes from the session to your client, so that they can feel that they were heard despite the physical distance.
Ultimately delivering therapy remotely will succeed or fail on the strength of the practitioner/client relationship.