While most therapists agree that in-person counseling is important, telehealth can actually be a better option for certain clients recovering from trauma.
Therapists read their clients by listening to the words they choose, paying attention to tone and emotion, and following their body language cues. Over a phone call or choppy video stream, some of these get missed and the flow of conversation can break, putting the quality of their client’s care at risk.
However, with a reliable internet connection and a commitment from the client to maximize the benefits of telehealth, it can be a great tool for trauma recovery.
What You Get Out of Attending Therapy From Home
Trauma work is stressful. Tapping into the memories that strike our strongest nerves can leave us feeling depressed or intensely fearful. Sometimes, the emotions we feel are so strong that we regret ever opening the mental health “box”.
This is where the benefits of telehealth come in.
At-Home Support System
Distress tolerance describes a person’s ability to withstand various stressors without losing their ability to function. For example, getting through a holiday dinner with boundary-pushing family members without breaking down.
Attending therapy from home allows clients to use distress tolerance and self-regulation tools that are already familiar to them. This is great for therapy first-timers or clients who are unlocking traumatic memories for the first time.
At home, your emotional support animal can be there should we strike a nerve that hits harder than expected. You have access to your preferred fidget items should your anxiety build and affect your ability to speak or think straight.
Rearranging the Home for Success
By allowing your therapist “into” your home, we can do tasks together, like arranging things in your space that will keep supporting you after the session. We can have conversations about the items that you cherish and come up with ways of incorporating them into daily life more often.
Providing Therapists with More Information
As therapists, we gather information about our client’s identity and preferences. As we look around private rooms or communal spaces in the home, we gain a better sense of your at-home boundaries.
We assess how easy it is to find space alone and uninterrupted for an hour of therapy. Together, we can identify the need for stronger boundaries and work on implementing them at home.
Safer Cool-Down Space
Therapy can stir up pretty intense emotions. Rather than driving home through tears and anxious shaking, you can cool down in a private space at home before returning to your day. No operating any motor vehicles, and no interacting with strangers at gas stations or otherwise.
Just sitting, breathing, and peaceful re-calibrating.
Common Sources of Pain for Trauma Survivors
Tainted View of the Past
Many people with trauma struggle to let go of the past, while others struggle to remember in the first place. They may think:
- Did I always say “sorry” this much?
- Has love ever felt more intense than a tiny flame?
- When did I even get my first stress headache?
The sense of normalcy they had before (without the lingering emotional and physical pain) is gone. That can be hard to deal with.
Trauma can leave us feeling jumpier than we used to be. Navigating conflict, loud or chaotic environments, or any other high-demand space can feel impossible. Once we’re riled up, it can be hard to float back to earth.
Trauma often comes with loss in many senses of the word. Sometimes we lose people, bodily functions, cherished belongings, jobs, or a beloved phase of life. Grappling with this truth can require patience, acceptance, and tons of support.
If you think telehealth counseling may be the best option for you, schedule your first session with me. Together, we can build a life for you at home and in your mind that makes you feel safer, more loved, and more hopeful.