How can I feel “connected” to my client/patient through telehealth? How do I create a telehealth connection?
Creating a “telehealth connection” is not as difficult as one may think. However, the camera will dimish your interpersonal impact, so practice these simple skills to feel more connected:
- Regularly look Directly into the camera.
- Lean your torso toward rather than away from the camera.
- Animate yourself — move your body/hands a bit when you speak.
- Ask questions about whether or not you are seen/ heard clearly.
- Ask questions about occurrences in the other person’s environment.
It is remarkable, but yes, client/patient satisfaction for telebehavioral health ranges from 65%-85%, depending on the specific population sampled and the study, of course. Compare that to client/patient satisfaction for psychotherapy overall and you will appreciate that it is extraordinary. Treatment outcomes are also very high. The thing is, the experience is different. Different is not a bad thing – it simply is a different thing. Your own comfort and familiarity with what you are doing is the key differentiator. If you are awkward, tentative and filled with anxiety about the experience, you will of course, transmit that to your client/patient. The trick then, is to learn as much as you can, master the competencies, and your own confidence will become unshakable, just like it most likely has been in your in-person practice.