A tip to aid connection when working online

Dear colleagues

We know the therapeutic relationship is at the heart of our effectiveness. Yet when working via video conference, it can be hard maintaining a strong sense of connection with your clients.  Here’s a tip from my misspent youth that night help…

When I was an actor working in theatres I was taught that if I wanted everyone in the audience to feel included I needed to look at the back row, that is, above the heads of most of the people in the theatre.  If you look above people’s heads they will feel included.  But if you look at the front row, all the people above your “eyeline” will feel excluded.

Now most people work on a computer with a single screen and a camera mounted at the top of the screen.  What this inevitably means is that when you are looking at your clients onscreen, you are looking down, and the camera (which is your clients point of view) will be above your eyeline.  This gives your clients a subtle message that you are not with them – they aren’t in your sight, as it were.

I have a monitor ( a second screen) mounted above my laptop set up something like the picture below.  That means I can move the image of my clients above the camera.  I was playing with it today and the difference was so clear I felt moved to tell you all about it. 

You can buy a new monitor for about $200.  There are many other benefits of having two screens so I doubt you’ll regret the money.  And if you plan on doing more tele-therapy, your connection with your clients will benefit.