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Has anyone experienced starting with someone new during the pandemic?

Thread starter #1
Hello 👋 I registered an account in order to ask folks about this...

After having a therapy break, I recently found a new trauma therapist to work with. He, like most others in this area, are doing all virtual sessions due to the pandemic. We've had one session so far, and I found it to be very difficult due to the online aspect - both in terms of the therapeutic relationship but more so feeling ok discussing trauma history.

I have preexisting online privacy / security concerns, and I don't know how or if I can overcome them to get the help that I need. (I realize the irony since I'm asking an online forum this question.)

The question is, has anyone experienced starting with someone new during the pandemic? Am I alone in feeling like there's an extra stressor involved in the virtual aspect? Thanks for reading!
 
#2
Virtual therapy sucks and is no one's first choice. That being said, after five months of online therapy, I've gotten pretty used to it. Security-wise almost all therapists will give you a secure option. I started by using Google Meet, but switched to a secure method and was pleased to discover it worked better.
 
#4
Well, the basic security question is, what do you fear will happen to your video if, however unlikely as it may be, someone could get hold of it? And are you sure it's not just the hypervigilance and paranoia of PTSD kicking into gear?
 
Thread starter #5
I understand it's unlikely that someone will hack into the session or access the video or logs or whatever, but the risk is still there. And there are so many cyber criminals out there that could use that material for blackmail. We already know healthcare industry in general is being targeted.

With the proliferation of online therapy during the pandemic, I fear that we will find out months from now that all these allegedly secure sites were breached etc.... just like all the other breaches.

I have a hard enough time trusting someone enough to talk about my trauma. I've historically always inquired as to how my/a therapist stores notes from our sessions. It's just a thing with me I guess. Maybe a control thing.
 
#6
Yes I started with someone new in end of March and it kind of sucks that there’s no end in sight of doing online therapy when we are supposed to go deeper as months go by and I just don’t know how to do that online.
As far as privacy, I have never even thought about it. I guess if the healthcare / video calls were targeted in general and everyone’s information was out there I wouldn’t worry as I don’t think I am interesting enough to stand out from the crowd of everyone else. I am more worried I guess about someone I know listening in, which I know it’s not possible. So ya I guess I don’t worry at all about the privacy thing.
 
#8
About the extra stressor of doing online therapy, here's a thread on the experiences of a lot of people here at the beginning of COVID:
Virtual/Video/Telehealth Sessions

Regarding privacy, I would discuss with my provider:
a. Is there ever any need to record sessions with your clients?
b. What information about me do you as the provider need to enter into the video site?
c. Are you working from home or an office? And if you are home, how do you ensure confidentiality of your notes?

From my experiences, nothing is recorded and the site doesn't know much of anything about me other than possibly recording my IP address. The confidential information is in my provider's notes.
 
Thread starter #10
@Wendell_R thanks for pointing me back to that thread. I remember seeing it in recent weeks, before registering for an account. There were so many posts that I didn't get through everyone's. Thanks for the questions to ask - those are good ones, and I'm definitely going to review those with my therapist.

@mylunareclipse I agree it does suck! Has it gotten easier as the months have go on?

I just feel like I'm in this catch 22. I need the help, it's actually good timing for me receive it, and it's online or nothing... for who knows how long.

But I'm finding the online aspect to be piling onto my anxiety and adding another stressor. Probably not a good thing. I also get that my view on this is extreme and I wish I could figure out a way not to care.
 
Thread starter #11
I know that this likely varies by state / country, but does anyone know what the common practice is for storing therapy notes in the U.S.? I learned that the new therapist puts everything on the cloud through a secure site. I'm not cool with that. He said he could accommodate me if I had another suggestion, and I don't.
 
#12
I'm not cool with that. He said he could accommodate me if I had another suggestion, and I don't.
So, what are you thinking about your notes? Do you want your own personalized USB drive or something? Maybe the only thing to do is to find someone else that is willing to be accommodating to your fears. There aren't state mandates for "therapists" - it varies by field/degree/approach. It sounds like you might want someone who doesn't store notes. Not all therapists do.

I gotta add, I got hard copy notes from my person in college and they were almost comical and made no sense and had nothing of any interest detailed. I just rolled my eyes because it was all more about him than me anyway! Never worried about therapy notes after that.
 
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