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Online Therapy Sessions

When and why should I see a psychologist?

There are a number of reasons for seeing a psychologist. We often seek out external support when we are experiencing a personal crisis or trying to navigate our way through a particularly stressful and challenging period in our lives. Whether it is suffering from certain distressing symptoms to wanting to develop new coping skills, setting up an initial consultation is the first step towards addressing your current concerns and engaging with the process of personal development.

What is Online Therapy?

As practitioners and mental health service providers, we are all being called to adapt our services to meet the rapidly changing needs of the uncertain environment of COVID-19. This is a necessary response for the well-being of all South Africans and it is for this reason, that The Couch is offering online therapy as a way to help flatten the curve of the virus by reducing the risk of transmission through face-to-face contact.

Online therapy is also known as telehealth or teletherapy and is a form of therapeutic counselling that occurs through a virtual medium using the internet. Online therapy has become increasingly popular as a form of therapy given the current pandemic situation and the lockdown restrictions imposed by many countries. In addition to this, with greater technological advances being made every day, different people from different geographical locations can now connect with each other on low bandwidth platforms. Online therapy occurs in real-time virtually, possibly in a variety of different ways such as through email, text messaging, and internet phone and most popular through video conferencing.

Is online therapy effective?

It is well-documented that Sigmund Freud would frequently write letters to communicate with his clients. Online therapy, of course, presents some challenges such as connectivity issues or unplanned distractions in the form of your spouse or children barging in accidentally while you are in a session. Despite these nuances, many clients have easily adapted to the online space and have found ways of mitigating these issues with their therapist.

Is online therapy right for me?

Online therapy provides you with a convenient and accessible way in which therapy can be conducted virtually in the comfort of your home or anywhere else you feel safe, without having to commute to the practice rooms. Essentially, you can get the help you desire anywhere in the world. This virtual space removes the unpleasant nature of exposing yourself face-to-face to others in the practices waiting rooms. It is, however, important to consider with your therapist the appropriateness of using online therapy as a treatment method for particular symptoms experienced and diagnoses given.

What would I need for an online therapy session?

It is not always possible but having a private space where you cannot be heard by others around you is preferable. You will require access to the internet and a device that has a camera and microphone as a feature of the device. In addition to this, you will need to download and register for the app which you and your therapist have decided to use in conducting your session.

Will my medical aid cover the session?

The Couch is affiliated with most medical aids in the country. It is important to find out with your medical aid what type of plan you are on, and what they would be willing to pay for psychotherapy sessions.

What about my privacy?

Currently, only the Zoom app, as well as the Hush App (software) are acceptable to use when conducting online therapy sessions. These apps ensure that the data transmitted during meetings, webinars and chat sessions are encrypted and secure from outside hackers.

How would I use Zoom in a therapy session?

If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, please have a look at the following YouTube link demonstrating how to navigate through Zoom: