COVID-19: Couples In Step Moving to Video Therapy
COVID-19 means everyone is hurting. Fees will be reduced through July 31, 2020.
You need an internet connection with fast bandwidth, including a good upload speed.
A laptop or computer with video capability is preferred over a mobile device or tablet. If you are using a mobile device or tablet please have it propped up in stable location (no holding your device).
You’ll each receive an invitation via email to join the video conference. It is helpful to have 2 devices available, even if you use only 1, because having the other device on standby to use if the one device isn’t working perfectly has come in handy before.
Your therapist will review a consent for online video therapy with you the first time you have an on-line session.
Have your cell phone nearby (both of you) so that your therapist can call you to trouble shoot (reschedule, complete session by phone, move to another video conference platform) if there is a technological glitch. During this covid time there more bandwidth challenges than there were previously (though Irene has been pleasantly surprised how well online connectivity is working given the surge in businesses going online!). This is especially the case for sessions between 7-10 pm. So do have your cell phone near–just in case.
An ethernet cable that connects your computer or laptop directly to your modem often enhances quality of the call.
To use this medium you need to have tolerance for the occasional technological blip. While the technology is much more reliable than it was even a few short years ago, there is the occasional poor connection. Often stopping and starting again makes for a better connection the second time.
Things You Should Know
The first session may be a bit rocky as you get used to the medium. Occasionally video counselling is not a good medium and that will become clear after the first two or three sessions.
- Ideally you’ll sit side-by-side using one screen. However if COVID-19, or the tension in your relationship, means it’ll be challenging to sit side-by-side then feel free to use different devices in different rooms/locations.
When you sit side-by-side please do not sit so that one of you sits forward of the other. This really throws the balance off.
If you use a lap top please have it on a counter in front of you, or on a pile of books, so that the screen is level with your faces (ie., not on your lap). This is to help with eye contact between you and your therapist.
You should sit in a well lit area, facing a light source, i.e, not with your back to a window.
Sometimes your therapist may start video counselling sessions with a small grounding exercise. This is to replace the transitional car ride to the therapist office.
Your therapist may from time to time ask you to very specifically speak about the mood in the room, or what you sense coming from your partner, or what the look on your partner’s face is, or what your partner’s body language is conveying, etc. This extra input is not only helpful to your therapist who is not in the room with you, it is also very helpful to each of you as you learn about the impact you are having on each other.
The goal of EFT is to help couples move into their soft, vulnerable emotions. That often means that our voices naturally become slower and softer. When your therapist asks you to turn to each other and share with each other, your words may be harder for your therapist to hear. Often that is OK, because your therapist will be looking at your bodies for cues (voice quality, posture, your faces) to help monitor your interaction. AND… your therapist will ask you to share what happened and what was said (even more than then in face-to-face sessions).
One of the couples I worked with was having trouble with this medium. Then they began to regularly take ½ hour before and after the session with me to prepare and debrief. The video conferencing sessions became more productive. When this same couple also added in regular time between sessions to read the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love together, the sessions became even more helpful to them. I met with them a long time this way; they read many sections of Hold Me Tight more than once!
Please do what you can to minimize interruptions such as phone calls, kids playing in the same room, etc. Though, if you have children, they are likely to be curious, and it is perfectly fine if you have the children meet the therapist and just chat a bit. Irene has observed over the course of many video-therapy sessions that giving children permission to see who you are talking to helps them interrupt you less.
If you wish to try meeting with without getting a child care provider in to help, that is fine. After a session or 2, we’ll know better if a child care person is necessary for our sessions to be more productive.
Both Irene and Lori use the Zoom platform for video counselling. Prior to each session with your therapist you’ll receive an email with a link to the Zoom session. Click on the link in the email and follow the links into the Zoom session. You will be asked for a password. The password is in your email invite. Zoom Prior to your first session with Irene you’ll receive an email invite to join VSee. Follow the directions to download the VSee app. For the second and following sessions open the VSee app at the time of the scheduled appointment and Irene will call you.
During the time of COVID-19 Irene will have the VSee telemedicine platform for video therapy as a backup in the event that VSee does not work well for the session.
There is no cost to you to for either platform.
You’ll receive an invoice at the conclusion of the session. E-transfer is the preferred payment method.
Please pay your invoice prior to your next scheduled session. In the event of an unpaid session, future sessions will not be held until account has been paid in full. Unpaid accounts will receive an account summary at the beginning of each week.
Video Counselling is Helpful for Many Couples
At Couples In Step we offer video counselling to accommodate couples whose schedules make it impossible to meet with one of our therapists in person.
Here is a sampling of situations where video therapy has been ideal for a couple:
A couple where one partner’s medical concerns kept the couple at home
A couple who had to be apart for much of the time because of career demands met with our therapist weekly for video counselling after attending a 3-Day Intensive
A couple who attended a Couples In Step Retreat lived far from an EFT therapist, and welcomed video counselling
A couple who lived outside the GTA area
When it was difficult to arrange childcare
The only available time was early morning, late evening
History of Video Therapy at Couples In Step
Irene did her first video therapy session in 2008. The advent of COVID-19 and the speed with which Couples In Step is able to move all face-to-face sessions to video therapy prompted Irene to write a blog post about the evolution of video therapy at Couples In Step.
Nearly Every Couple Faces Challenges
Sometimes the difficulties can get so over whelming they can make both of you feel helpless. In our stress-filled, anxiety-driven lives it helps to talk with a professional about your relationship. Couples In Step offers a variety of services to help couples repair and revive their relationship: in-person counselling, on-line counselling, 3-day intensive couples counselling for couples in crisis, weekend couples retreats, discernment counselling for couples where one, or both of you, are uncertain about continuing the relationship.