Therapy is such a sacred experience filled with rituals for many of us. We so often are greeted warmly by our therapist in the waiting room and quickly escorted to their office. While an office is perhaps a room, just like any other, it has a special meaning that is built over time. All the times that you have wailed, raged, and laughed with–and, sometimes–at your therapist. The artwork, the chair, and sometimes the occasional item that gives you a small glimpse into the personality of the person across the room.
Over these past several weeks, I have been meeting with patients over videoconference in order to ensure their safety and health, a move that I never saw myself making just six months ago. While I miss seeing people in person and being able to offer them coffee or snacks and a safe, comfortable space, I have learned so many new ways to connect with people through technology.
As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, I do not limit myself to traditional “talk therapy.” I am often collaborating actively, and use visuals or even worksheets at times. Through features on our telehealth platform, I have found ways to make this more interactive than ever before. It’s even in many cases increased the participation of my patients, and it has been a thing of beauty to watch.
Another way that I have seen telehealth succeed is in accessibility. It has allowed me to reach patients that were not able to come into the office because of timing issues–Atlanta traffic is no joke–or because they were hours away and had no options in their area. Now, I am able to connect with patients and offer care all across the state, and the usual confines of our hectic schedules have opened up space to tend to important internal work.
I still long for the days of in-person sessions and I remain hopeful that they are in sight. Yet, I am grateful for being able to stretch my comfort and expand my reach to those that I have previously been unable to connect with. Therapy, whether done in the office or from home, is a vital, and sacred experience.