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For over 20 years, Maria has specialised in delivering individual and couples therapy for clients.
Maria’s core approach to therapy is systemic, but her work is also influenced from other schools of therapy like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, narrative therapy, Gestalt, mindfulness, emotionally focused therapy and Gottman’s Couples therapy etc.
For me, the transition was not too difficult. As a therapist that moved over to London from Greece seven years ago, I had clients that I had built a relationship with and so wanted to continue our sessions following my move. Thus, for these clients I had already been holding sessions over videocam, so had some experience of moving to practicing online.
With my clients, both those I had been meeting with online for years, and those I had been seeing face-to-face prior to lockdown, the transition worked well as we had already established a relationship. Because of this factor, the connection was there to enable us to move to virtual sessions.
I had to find a way to make my home environment like my office to maintain elements of continuity. This is important to uphold for my clients, wanting to keep some normality of their routine in relation to our sessions – e.g.
-having a professional and clear background
-positioning myself in the posture I would normally sit at during sessions
-trying to angle my camera in a way that was similar to the setting of our meetings.
I believe that making them feel comfortable and familiar is vital to them, as many missed the physical presence of being in the office.
I also needed to ensure I had a strong internet connection throughout all of my meetings, and so I did everything I could to ensure a smooth and reliable internet connection. I wanted the quality of our sessions to be as clear as possible, as the eyes and ears are the centre of sensory input, so it is important for both the therapist and client to have a clear vision and audio throughout the session.
Yes, my clients have been continuing to attend their sessions. Lockdown has forced us to slow down, stay put and self-reflect, and maintaining sessions with clients has provided them with an hour of peace in the anxiousness and uncertainty of everything going on around us.
It has been important from them to view me not just as a therapist, but as an ally.
I have tried to encourage clients to go for walks, and venture out of the house if they can. I also arranged some socially distanced walks with clients as they miss that element of physical interaction.
It is important for people not to close themselves off, and to take a break from the confined environment indoors.
By Ellie Giardina
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