Teletherapy can be exhausting – and it’s not just screen time.

In the context of COVID19 it’s also major change + brand new habits + upheaval + a whole lotta stress!!!!!

If you are feeling drained or exhausted by the move to telehealth as a therapist, you are not alone!

“Staring at a screen all day” is a culprit for sure. Technical know-how, glitches, and dealing with the practicalities are certainly trying.

But there are so many more factors!

The switch here is a LOT. It’s not just a switch to screens. We’ve moved out of our offices and into our homes and bathrooms – and even cars! We have changed how we sit, how we use our bodies, how we pay attention and how we use our therapeutic skills.

Our work has changed.

For many clients, the issues and the focus have shifted. Clients’ functioning (and our own!) has been affected. We need to attend to our relationships with our clients in new and resourceful ways.

We are adapting to strange new territory without much of a map.

All these changes demand new brain connections and decision-making and they zap our emotional and physical energy.

And we are doing this all in the midst of enormous social upheaval and global medical crisis.

As we explore ways to make it better, let’s not forget that this is really and truly a very big deal.

Some tips that can help:

  • Use screen settings, screen protectors or glasses to reduce blue light.
  • Take eye breaks. Soften your gaze, looking at nature or art, rest your eyes in the palms of your hands.
  • Take breaks – good ones! Adjust your schedule if you can.
  • Alternate between video and audio only or phone.
  • Sit comfortably! Adjust the screen set-up to your position, not the other way around.
  • MOVE your body – between sessions and IN session when it’s appropriate. Incorporate it into session.
  • Work outside or take walks as you talk when appropriate. Your clients can do this too.
  • Reduce your focus on the screen. Pay attention to your whole environment. Have plants or outside views nearby.
  • Listen and take in your clients with your whole self. “Listen” with your heart, your ears and your body more than your eyes.
  • EXPERIMENT! Try new things. Change things up. Give up on what flops.

These tips just begin to scratch the surface. Shifting to telehealth is difficult, but managing therapist fatigue in the covid crisis is a much bigger challenge.

Prioritize your own emotional, mental, physical, and relational needs.

Pay attention to yourself so that you get the clues you need about what is and is not working and be as creative as you can about taking care of yourself.

Above all else, approach your work with self-compassion and care.

I’m talking about these and many other teletherapy issues with my individual consultation clients and groups and over in the COVID OASIS for Therapists FB group.


What are your teletherapy questions and challenges?

I’d love to hear anything you’d like to share, so if you’d like, please get in touch.

© 2020 Annabelle Coote

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be considered as legal, ethical, clinical, treatment planning, treatment recommendations, or any other business or clinical practice advice related to your work as a therapist.


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