What to Expect During Online Therapy with Ieso
When taking the step to see a therapist online for short-term (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) CBT therapy, it is helpful to know what to expect. There are different forms of therapy out there, and while all types of therapy have the goal of helping you feel and function better, there are some big differences in how they achieve that goal. Some people have an image of going to lay on a couch in an office, and just “letting it all out” while the therapist sits in a chair behind them and doesn’t say a word. That is definitely not the method in CBT, although if you are doing online therapy sessions, you can certainly lay on the comfort of your couch or bed and type back and forth with your therapist!
During a typical CBT session, your therapist will likely start with developing an agenda. You can both decide and agree upon what should be on the agenda for that day’s session. Some common agenda items for a CBT session are as follows:
- Mood Check: Therapists will often want to know how your mood is that day, and how your mood has been during the time between the current and previous session (including highs, lows, or averages). Your therapist will likely want to know your level of depression, anxiety, or anger, and may ask you to quantify your mood with a rating from 0-10 or 0-100.
- Homework: CBT usually involves weekly homework assignments to work on between sessions. It is important to take these seriously and try your best to complete the assignments, as your active involvement between sessions will result in quicker and more meaningful progress. Often, a significant part of the therapy session is discussing how the homework for the previous week went, and what discoveries, thoughts, or questions you came up with because of it. Toward the end of each therapy session, you and your therapist should decide on a meaningful homework assignment for the following week and then confirm the next appointment date and time.
- Improve Understanding: Your therapist will teach you about the CBT model, which involves recognizing and identifying specific mood states (e.g., depressed, anxious, angry mood, etc.), thought patterns, behaviors, and physical symptoms that you may be experiencing, and understanding how they all interrelate with and affect each other.
- Skill Building: Your therapist will work with you to develop new skills and strategies to improve your symptoms. These will be based on evaluating and determining which of the factors in the CBT model (as applied to your life and circumstances) are in need of and able to be changed. For instance, a key aspect of CBT is teaching you to evaluate your thoughts, determining whether they are fair and accurate, and if not, coming up with more realistic, rational thoughts, that will contribute to a healthier mindset. Another key aspect is examining your behaviors, deciding which are helpful vs. harmful to achieving your goals, and adjusting accordingly. If it sounds complicated, don’t worry; your therapist will be there to guide you every step of the way.
Your online therapy appointments are usually scheduled on a weekly basis. It’s best to try to stick to this schedule, as it keeps the momentum going and your memory for experiences and homework efforts fresh in your mind. Just as with learning any new skill, the more regularly you practice it, the better you will learn it! In the event of an emergency, or that you find you are unable to keep a regularly scheduled appointment, you should let your therapist know as soon as possible so that you can find another time soon that will work for both of you.
An important thing to note about short-term CBT therapy is that unlike some forms of therapy, therapists do not want to keep you in treatment for a longer period of time than is necessary. This is certainly not because they don’t like you! The goal is to spend enough time with you to:
- learn about your situation, challenges, desires/goals
- determine a plan to teach you new strategies to meet your goals,
- support and guide you through several instances of you successfully using your new skills so you feel confident, knowledgeable, and comfortable with these strategies and ensure that your distressing symptoms are subsiding,
- develop a plan with you to prevent your symptoms from recurring, and then
- graduate you from therapy so that you can use your new skills and strategies independently. CBT is designed to give you “wings” (tools: new understanding, thinking, coping strategies, strategies), so that you can “fly” on your own. If you need to come back for further therapy, or a refresher, in the future, that is certainly an option!
If you are considering online therapy sessions, why not give it a try? You will be in good company, as many people of all generations and backgrounds are finding this to be a convenient, effective way to get the support and knowledge they need to feel and function better!
To learn how to get started with an Ieso online therapy session visit: Getting Started- What Can I Expect from Ieso’s Online Therapy?
If you’re not at risk to yourself or others, an excellent therapy option is with Ieso Digital Health for online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. To determine eligibility, you can easily reach out by going to: https://register.iesohealth.com/.