Of course, depending on the type of therapy you offer, working online with your 1-1 clients may not be an appropriate way for you to work, but in the last few months I have been bowled over by how effective it has been, and even if your service doesn’t lend itself to working this way, there may well be some additional support you can offer to your clients in the comfort of their own home.
Here I would like to share some of my own experiences or working this way; I hope you find it useful.
My Biggest Concerns
Some of my initial concerns
- Dropping connection
It wasn’t that long ago that Skype calls were constantly dropping, and you really couldn’t ensure that you’d get through the whole call without any hiccups.
Now I am working with an online Meeting software called Zoom, and, to be honest, I haven’t had a single failure.
You can start with a free account which allows you to work 1-1. Here’s the link
- Lack of Rapport
Now this one really surprised me. There is something really intimate about being in an online room with someone. Sound weird? Just try it.
Again, for some reason that I can’t really explain, using Zoom seems to enhance this experience, although I cannot put my finger on why, exactly.
This is one of the main downsides. Even though I ask my clients to make sure there are no distractions for the allocated time, ‘phones and doorbells do still ring.
Please get your client’s agreement to act as if they had travelled to your therapy room, and not answer them!
Also kids and cats don’t always follow instructions, do they? So ask your client to make sure they won’t be interrupted by little people or animals.
So far, this has worked well, although I do still hear doorbells and ‘phones ringing outside the room. If you expect it, and have thought through how you will deal with it (or even incorporate it into your therapy, if you are a hypnotherapist) in advance, then all will be OK.
- Not looking them straight in the eye
I have to admit, that I am still not brilliant at this. If you look directly at the camera, you can’t see exactly what is going on for your client. So if you are watching them, then you will appear to be looking down.
I am beginning to develop a way of switching between the two, which seems to work OK, but this one is still work in progress!
The other thing you can do is have the Zoom window on the screen as close to your camera as possible. If you have any tips on this, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!
- Clients might not want to work that way
This has been the most surprising of all. Even the most sceptical and technophobic of clients have given it a go. Normally after we do a little sample demo.
Yes, there will always be people who don’t have the facilities to do this, and those who really just want to see you face to face, and, of course, that’s fine.
However, I have learned not to assume anything about my clients!
Things I Learned
Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far
- Use a headset
Especially when people have their eyes closed, you moving around means that your voice might get fainter if you inadvertently move away from the microphone.
- Have a backup plan
Be very clear as to what you will do if the technology fails, for example, who will ‘phone who, and what number to use.
- Send clear instructions in advance – and make them simple
When working with Zoom, this is easy. You send them the link, and ask them to click on the link at the time and follow the instructions – that’s more or less it!
Ask them to check that their microphone is working and their volume is turned up.
I also send a screenshot of what it will look like, including pointing out that there is a chat button at the bottom of the screen, in case they can’t be heard.
– Other really cool things about online working with Zoom –
- You can record a session.
Of course you need to ask permission first, but it might be something the client wants to do. They can record it to their computer, too, if you enable that feature.
- You can run groups really easily
With the standard version of Zoom, you can have up to 50 people in a meeting at any one time (it is a paid version,, but very reasonable)
… and… you can have your meeting participants break out into smaller groups…. Just don’t get me started on how cool that is!
For me, it means I can get help to break free of smoking or other drugs out to more people, regardless of geography.
Bring it on!
If you want to try Zoom for free, you can GET A FREE VERSION HERE
I would love to hear your own experiences of working online, the things you love and the challenges you have faced.