Tips and Tricks for Online Counseling

Tinna Sigurðardóttir — Speech therapist at Trappa (www.trappa.is)

Tinna Sigurðardóttir, speech therapist, shares that moving her services online with Kara Connect has saved her time and allowed her to focus better on her work. While she had some initial doubts about the potential pressure and intensity of online sessions, those worries are now far behind her; .’’I would say now I am just so used to being online, I like it more than being ‘non-line’, as I call it.’’

Tinna, a Kara veteran, shares with us her 3 top tips for online counseling.
See full video here.

Adjusting to the camera

Tinna believes that it is good to address with your client any insecurities they may have about being on camera and acknowledge that it is ok, especially for those that are not used to talking to people through video, or are insecure about meeting a specialist (whether in person or online).

‘’You can say, ‘Yeah, it’s a little bit weird at first, but then we get used to it’’.

Of course, it can also be a little difficult to adjust to the camera as a specialist. “One of the things that I found a bit difficult was that I was focused on having to maintain eye contact. So I was always staring into the camera.” As Tinna says, this isn’t necessary. “You can just watch the screen, and the other person is also just watching the screen, and that’s fine.”

Protocols

She notes the importance of having clear protocols ready for clients. Introducing your arrangement to clients beforehand is crucial, whether it has to do with payments, data collection, cancellations or changes of appointments.

‘’If everything is discussed beforehand, you shouldn’t have any problems.’’

Decide beforehand how you’re going to receive the required information from the client- through forms, email, normal post, etc. Make sure you also discuss the expected course of the therapy — how many sessions are to be expected? What happens if the client doesn’t show up? Will they still have to pay, and if so, how, and how much?

Make the most of available resources

Tinna uses the screen sharing feature a lot in Kara as it is helpful for her line of work.

“We are using the features to its fullest.’’

She can share things such as documents, web pages, and her iPad screen. This can be

particularly useful when engaging with children through activities, and when working with documents that both the specialist and client can edit.

“I work with a lot of young kids, and it’s not a problem at all. Many wonder what I would do if a child is running away, but we are using our resources so well and there’s so much you can do to engage with a child and make sure it is a positive experience.’’

Saving time leads to more effective workdays

All in all, one of the main benefits of using an online platform according to Tinna, is saving valuable time while creating more productive sessions.

‘’There’s so much time you gain when you meet someone online. There’s no need to get undressed, go to the bathroom, get some water. This time is erased and it’s purely the therapy connection.’’

Tinna feels that her work is more efficient and effective with the online sessions. Not needing to go through the formalities of in-person ‘meet and greet’ and preparing the physical space means that she can roll through sessions without waiting for each person to arrive and get settled. Online sessions feel more focused as the time for chit chat is saved for later.

This, in return, gives her time to focus on what she does best: providing the actual therapy.

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