While the pandemic has led to a great increase in the use of teletherapy, also known as video therapy and telemedicine, it’s not the only reason to seek out online therapy treatment. In fact, I’ve been offering online Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and online Cognitive Behavior Therapy sessions for many years.
The frantic pace of life and its many distractions can keep people from seeking therapy even when they want and need it. Online therapy, though, offers an elegant, simple solution to this problem. When you cut out the need to drive or take public transportation to and from yet another appointment in your busy day, you open up great flexibility and opportunity.
As a therapist who specializes in CFT, I’ve found that learning its techniques can be accessed just as readily online as in-person. Here’s how it happens.
How Online Therapy Works
Online therapy sessions are not complicated. In fact, the technology needed is quite simple. If you have a smartphone, tablet, or computer with an internet connection, you have everything you need.
I’ll send you a link with an invitation to our online appointment using a secure, private video conferencing platform. When you log on, you’ll enter a virtual waiting room. From there, I’ll respond and we’ll start our session.
Even though we’re not meeting in person, CFT sessions online still follow the same structure and methods.
In a nutshell, Compassion Focused Therapy teaches you how to understand the way our brains and bodies work together. You’ll learn techniques to challenge critical thoughts that lead to negative emotions and how to replace them with empowering, supportive and compassionate ones.
I like to think of CFT as a workout for your brain. Through exercises, practice, and understanding, you can help your brain change itself. You can move beyond unhelpful emotional patterns and replace them with something stronger.
As a therapist, I act as a coach to guide you through these brain and heart workouts.
My CFT Approach
When I use CFT with clients, I like to approach it from what I like to call the “three Ts” perspective (topic, tools, and theory). Together, we identify those thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are keeping you stuck. This could be feelings of self-doubt, unwitting self-sabotage, or anxiety, among many others.
Once we’ve identified a topic, I teach you CFT skills (tools) that help you reframe your perspective. The human brain is very open to learning. With a little time and practice, you’ll be able to rewire your thoughts and beliefs.
As we do this, you’ll also learn about the scientific theories that support what we do in sessions. As your knowledge grows, you’ll be able to transfer these CFT tools to help you work through other issues in your life.
Online CFT Coach
Just as a trainer at a fitness center would come alongside you to show you the proper way to lift weights or increase the intensity of your workouts, I do something similar during our online appointments.
Video-conferencing gives us what we need to do the work: a chance to have a discussion with each other and shape our approach for your CFT workout. The fact that we’re not meeting in person does not change anything about my CFT sessions!
Is it Effective?
Online therapy has been well-studied and has been shown to be as effective as in-person sessions. In fact, some researchers have found that online sessions allow clients to be more consistent with their treatment. This is largely because of the ease and convenience of online sessions.
I have found the same to be true with my clients. They appreciate the flexibility and ease of access to online Compassion Focused Therapy sessions.