Many of us have adapted to working from home in recent months, in most cases quite abruptly. I had a sudden switch from seeing all of my clients face to face one week, to meeting everyone over video call the next. Disorienting to say the least!
I had previously worked with some clients online where they regularly travelled abroad, and so the logistics of video sessions were not new to me. However it has been strange to be working entirely remotely when human connection feels such a crucial element of therapy. Talking to other therapists there are differing opinions out there about the suitability and value of online working, with some viewing it as an exciting and flexible way of working and others feeling it’s a poor substitute for in-person work. This position seems to depend on the individual therapist and their client group.
I feel very thankful that most of my clients have been able to switch to video sessions and I am finding this way of working very rewarding now I have settled into it. I enjoy the flexibility of it for me and my clients, and I’m interested in the new challenges and material it throws up. To suddenly be in my clients’ living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, etc. is strange, as is inviting clients into my space, complete with cats making cameo appearances. It is simultaneously more intimate and less so.
Online working demands creativity and adaptability. Some people don’t have a private space they won’t be overheard in, and so we might do sessions where they are outside and walking around, or even do the sessions on video using the chat function so clients can type so they are not overheard. It’s not for everyone, but I’m finding it can work really well.
I know I will return to meeting clients in person again in the future, and I’m really looking forward to that- the easy connection, the quality of being present, being able to read body language cues. But I think I’ll also retain online working for clients who prefer that, not seeing it as a second-best way of working, but as a valid space in its own right.