Staying Effective in Your Remote Therapy Sessions during Quarantine Means Taking Good Care of Yourself

By Janina Scarlet, PhD

During this truly unprecedented time, many of us are turning to telehealth to provide care for our clients. However, with that comes a number of challenges, including our own uncertainty about how helpful and effective we will be over telehealth.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. This pandemic situation is novel for everyone, including your clients. Stability, emotional support, and routine can help them to get through this challenging time.
  2. Thoughts such as “I don’t know what I am doing,” are completely normal and common if you are doing something you haven’t done before like telehealth, and of course you might feel out of your comfort zone. Take a breath. Notice the experience of having this thought: “I am having the thought that I don’t know what I am doing?”
  3. Remind yourself of your core values, such as helping people. You are in this line of work for a reason. You empath for a living. Of course, this is going to be stressful and challenging for you. That’s because you care. So, focus on your core values—helping people. And right now, if that means using a less familiar therapy platform, that’s okay. If it’s clunky, that’s okay. If you are feeling anxious about it, that’s okay too. You are taking active steps to honor your core values.
  4. Practice creating a routine for yourself as much as possible. Try to get up at the same time you’d normally get up for work. Exercise. Dress up for telehealth sessions the same way you’d dress up for your clients in person.
  5. Don’t forget to breathe. In our rush to help, we might overschedule clients and not have time to breathe, eat, or use the restroom. Schedule breaks for yourself.
  6. Remember the big picture. You might not realize it in the moment, but you are helping people. Every day. All the time. Your clients might not think to tell you this, but you are their role model. You help more than you can ever know, more than you can ever realize. So, keep going. Capes are optional.

Janina Scarlet, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, an award-winning author, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. Scarlet immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve with her family, and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She has been awarded the United Nations Association Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award for her book, Superhero Therapy. Her other books include Harry Potter Therapy, Therapy Quest, and Super-Women.

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