Module 2: Equipment and setup

Your toolbox:

Online therapy is different for each clinician and different for each family, so you’ll use different tools in different situations, but a lot of the basic tools in your online therapy toolbox will remain the same. 

Equipment: What do I need? What does my client need?

Tool What we can use it for, and who uses it? Importance
Internet connection Client and clinician should have this. Service might be patchy in some areas. Remember that even if you have a good connection, your client might not. Essential
Data storage Secure data storage onshore (e.g. Amazon Web Services). Client and clinician will ideally both have access to this. Essential
Computer Clinician-client videoconference (you will need a computer with a webcam), email, word/data processing, data sharing, instant messaging. Important
Videoconferencing software Being able to see your client is likely important for you and for your client and their support network too. There is a variety of solutions on the market, including Coviu and Zoom. You and your client will need the same platform. Important
Email Send messages or materials between multiple people in the team. Important
Headset You can use regular earphones and the internal microphone and speaker on your computer and phone, although some people prefer to use a different setup. I have always used my earphones and internal microphone and speaker because the sound quality is good, and they’re portable, so you can use them when you’re between meetings or when you get calls from clients when you’re away from my desk. Important
Tablet Clinician-client videoconference, communication software usage (Pictello, LAMP) Useful but not very important
Video sharing Sites like Youtube are great for sharing educational videos that clients can watch in their own time. You can even make your own videos as reminders for your clients on how to complete certain therapy tasks, or demonstrate therapy activities in role-play situations. Useful but not essential
Smart phone Clinician-client videoconference, email, word/data processing, telephone calls, instant messaging, SMS messaging Useful but not very important

Setup:

It’s important to be prepared so that you can make the most of your online therapy sessions. There are different considerations for online therapy than there are for in-person therapy. Ask yourself and your clients the questions below, so that you know your setup is ready to go.

 

1. Do you have the hardware and software you need? Is it working, and can you use it? e.g. Do you have your computer and can you access the tools you need for the session, like email and videosharing? Have you tried using them with a colleague before?

2. Does your client have the hardware they need? Is it working, and can they use it? Remind your client – “Do you have your iPad charged? Have you had a go at using your direct messaging app?”

3. Is your internet working and is your client’s internet working?

 

Online therapy tip:

Not all videoconferencing services store their data in Australia, and not all services encrypt their data. Be aware of the requirements of your organisation’s privacy policy, client preferences regarding privacy, and if you’re providing government funded services (e.g. NDIS) make sure you are compliant with privacy requirements.

Online therapy example:

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Ben’s goal is to initiate play with a peer in the playground. His teacher aide and his speech therapist discuss how they can assist him. They decide that it would be most helpful if the teacher aide could follow Ben at a distance with her smart phone and earphones while she is video-conferencing with his speech therapist. The therapist coaches the teacher aide by giving verbal prompts and verbal feedback to the teacher aide to shape Ben’s communication strategies