As co-founder of the Online Therapy Institute I am always discussing with students the importance of preparing one’s virtual space before beginning online work. It is paramount, I say, to prepare in advance for technological glitches, disruptions and distractions. We talk about the inconvenience of the mail truck or phone ringing in the background when conducting audio or video sessions. We talk about the inevitability that cat owners will inadvertently find their cat in the middle of the session staring back at a client if advance preparation is not taken.
Prepare a quiet space for the work ahead.
I even joke that if I have a conference call, the landscapers will surely arrive. I am convinced they have my online meeting schedule. At one point my private practice office for in-person clients was in a building that hosted a helipad. Mostly the drone of the helicopter was only heard early morning or late afternoon, two times I rarely saw clients, but sometimes, in the middle of my 10am client session, WOW. I just never knew helicopters were so loud!
It is important not only for online therapists, but online coaches and practitioners to clear as many distractions as possible prior to conducting an online (or offline) sessi It is important not only for online therapists, but online coaches and practitioners to clear as many distractions as possible prior to conducting an online (or offline) session. on. This seems basic. Still, prepare as you may, surprises are sometimes in store.
Suffice to say, I do my best to prepare a quiet space for the work ahead.
Even so, unexpected distractions happen!
Recently I co-facilitated a final VIVA presentation with a student from Online Therapy Institute who has completed her studies. The VIVA is conducted via our webinar/whiteboard application and allows audio and chat. I was logged in from home. We typically take a few minutes to acclimate our headsets and volume and sometimes the connection is not strong depending on where our students are connecting from. On this day, everything had fallen into a rhythm.
Imagine my errrr… surprise when I looked up and out the balcony door windows to find a man on a ladder (2 stories up)! Before I could assimilate what was happening I heard a loud thud as he hopped off the ladder onto my balcony. I was a bit panicked as he walked up to the door but sighed a huge sigh of relief when he posted the Wet Paint sign on the door. (okay…I vaguely remember a notice about repairs and painting that went out to all residents…)
This takes preparing for online work to an entirely new level. I don’t know if this rivals Mike Langlois’ What To Do When Your Therapist Turns Into A Kitten but I think it comes close!