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  • Writer's pictureSarah Santiago

Why virtual therapy is perfect for college students!

College student wears headphones and sits with a laptop and a mug, looking happy. This image is intended to represent how comfortable and convienent virtual online therapy and counseling can be for college students with busy schedules. Online counseling is a convenient and easy way to support college student's mental health. Sarah Santiago offers online counseling to college and university students in Michigan.

On the fence about virtual therapy? I get it. I was on that fence once too. I used to think that face to face therapy was best. Then 2020 happened and I had to adapt to provide therapy safely to my clients. I've invested in high quality technology to provide the most premium virtual therapy experience possible. Here’s what I've learned: virtual therapy is wonderful! My clients are very happy with it too and here’s why:

  • It’s comfortable! You can log onto your therapy session from the comfort of wherever you are! You can cuddle up in your favorite chair (or couch, or bed!) with your favorite mug of tea, your pet can snooze at your feet, and you don’t even have to put your shoes on to go outside!

  • It’s more accessible! Many college students travel and move around frequently. Visits home, holiday travel, internships, visiting faraway friends, moving within the state, etc. Virtual therapy means access to your established therapist wherever you go! As long as you’re in the State of Michigan we can meet!

  • It’s convenient! Our weather in Michigan can make travel quite dangerous at times. My clients love not having to travel through snowstorms or bad weather to make their appointments. You won’t have to worry about finding or paying for parking near my office. Simply log on and you’ve arrived!

  • It’s flexible! College students have busy schedules and are often rushing from one thing to the next. Not having a commute to get to therapy means more time for the other things on your plate.

  • It’s discreet! Concerned about someone seeing you walk in/out of a therapist’s office? That’s not an issue with virtual therapy!

You might be worried about privacy. If you have concerns about having a private space to conduct your virtual session, please contact me; I have a whole list of ideas and would be happy to help you identify a private location that feels right for you. Here are some of my client's favorite places to do therapy:

  • In their parked car! Many of my clients who have access to a car find it really comfortable to park at a safe and serene location (a park, the beach, a beautiful spot on campus, etc.) for their session. Sometimes even just being in their car parked in their own driveway gives them enough privacy to feel comfortable. Since it's so common to talk on the phone in the car, most outsiders don't think anything of it!

  • In a private reserved space on campus. Most campuses allow free room reservations for students. Often campus libraries and residence halls have private study rooms available for student use. It might be a great idea to look into what private spaces your campus has available.

  • Campus counseling rooms. Since 2020, many campus counseling centers have started to implement private counseling rooms for students to conduct virtual sessions with their therapist- even if they are meeting an off campus therapist. Ask your campus counseling center if they offer this service to students.

  • Asking roommate for privacy. Many of my clients have simply asked their roommates to let them have their dorm room or apartment alone for an hour. Some clients feel comfortable telling their roommates that they have a therapy appointment and some just tell their roommates that they have a meeting and need an hour of privacy. If you know your roommates schedule you can try to schedule your session for a time when your roommate is in class or at work to avoid a conversation all together.

Tips for having a successful virtual counseling experience:

  • Take 5 minutes to get set up. Check your wifi connection. Make sure your phone or laptop has enough battery power. Log in and make sure your tech is working properly. Email your therapist if you're having any connection issues.

  • Wear earbuds or headphones! This will ensure that you have more privacy, but that you can hear your therapist more clearly. It also allows your therapist to hear you better since most earbuds have mics in them.

  • Get comfortable. Sit in a relaxing place and take a moment to ensure that your body feels supported and comfortable. For some people this means sitting in a chair, at a desk, or sitting propped up in their bed.

  • Have your necessary supplies nearby. Things like chargers, tissues, and water can help your session go more smoothly and feel more comfortable.

  • Come up with a secret signal with your therapist. Give the signal if you ever don't feel safe, or if you think someone might be within earshot and you want to stop talking. Sometimes roommates can accidentally interrupt us and your signal can let your therapist know to stop the therapy talk while you handle the situation.

  • Let your therapist know if you have any concerns or aspects that you don't enjoy. Your therapist can brainstorm with you to help make your experience more comfortable or help you get connected with someone who can better provide you with the experience that you're looking for.

You might also be worried that it will feel awkward. I get that too. Here’s my honest answer: therapy is awkward at first (even in person). You’re meeting with someone new and sharing details about your life with them. Here’s where I ask you to trust your therapist. It’s my job as a therapist to help make you as comfortable as possible. I have worked very hard to create a virtual space that feels comfortable and safe. Nearly all of my clients have shared that after the first session or two they found virtual therapy to feel very enjoyable, and I’m confident that you will feel that way too!

Give it a try! If you're still on the fence, commit to 3 sessions and then check in with yourself; you might just be surprised at how much you enjoy it!

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