9 Ways to Create a Private Space for Tele-therapy
While going to therapy is becoming less stigmatized, most of us probably don’t want our loved ones to hear what goes on in our session with our therapist. Enter the pandemic and everyone is at home. Space is limited. Privacy is non-existent. Stress is high. What do you do?
To limit your having to cancel or postpone your sessions with your therapist until the pandemic is over (who knows when that will be?), let’s look at some creative ways you can gain more privacy so your therapy doesn’t have to go on the backburner.
- No extra room, what about a closet? Don’t worry we aren’t judging your cleanliness, we are therapists, remember?
- Bathroom: No really. It’s okay. All we ask is that you don’t use the toilet while we are there. Sit in your empty tub, turn on the vent fan and vent away.
- Outside/on a walk: You can get in your steps and soak in some Vitamin D, both are also good for your mental health. Have a park nearby? Sit on a park bench, or take a blanket and sit on the grass. If you decide to be in your own yard, find your favorite tree, or sit on the end of the driveway to give yourself some distance.
- Your garage could be a good place to give you a little distance from others during your session, especially if it’s not a terribly hot day.
- If you have a car, can you go sit in it during your sessions? Most online therapy platforms have the option to be used on a smartphone as well as a computer. Just check with your therapist on the platform they are using.
- Use headphones. While this doesn’t necessarily keep someone from hearing what you are saying, it limits them hearing what your therapist is saying. Just let your therapist know that there may be certain topics that are off limits during that session. Or if the online software has an option for chat, maybe you can type some of what you need your therapist’s feedback on.
- A sound machine. As a parent of a young child, this is a staple in our house. But you can easily purchase one on Amazon or there are many YouTube stations you can get white noise on. Additionally, there are white noise apps. You can have that playing on your phone by the door while you video chat with your therapist on your computer.
- Play some music in the background. Similarly to the white noise, just having some extra noise in the room may drown out your conversation with your therapist.
- Ask your roommate/partner/child to wear noise cancelling headphones if you have them available during your session. Let them play a game during that time or watch a movie if needed.
Telling Your Loved One You Need Privacy
Above all I want to give your permission that it’s okay to tell the person/people you live with that you need some privacy. One of my favorite things to give my clients is their “Personal Bill of Rights” which outlines what rights we have to be assertive in getting our needs met.
I want you to remind yourself that even during a pandemic, you have the right to your own personal space and time. You have the right to set your own priorities. You have the right to ask for what you want. And lastly, you have the right to be healthier than those around you.
Let’s be real, not everyone is going to be supportive of you going to therapy. Some families or cultures do not believe in therapy or believe that family business should stay in the family. Others have been told their whole lives to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, so these individuals may question your need or want to even be in therapy. Which is even more of a reason to have an outside healthy support system during uncertain and chaotic times.
Remind yourself, this is still outside support, just virtually. While your space may not be ideal, connecting with your therapist during less than ideal times can be beneficial, no matter how you can reach them.