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March 28, 2020

How To Be Kind To Yourself On A Video Call

Melissa Di Fonzo

A lady sitting on the couch laughing while on her laptop.

Virtual World

“With COVID-19 going around, in support of social distancing measures, we at Shift have modified our usual in-clinic sessions to video sessions…”

I imagine for many of you, reading the words “video sessions” prompted an internal sigh. Maybe your inner voice said something like, 

“Really? I sooo do not want to sit in front of a camera for an hour and watch myself!”

I get it. It can be uncomfortable to see yourself on video. I’ve shared some helpful strategies below to help you get through the awkwardness of video calling with your therapist.

1. Notice when your inner critic comes out

Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves that unless we set the intention to notice when we're berating ourselves, we might not even realize we are being so unkind to ourselves.  When you become aware of the critical thoughts you might be telling yourself, only then can you make a mindful effort to offer the thought (and yourself) loving compassion. 

2. Focus on the person you’re talking to

During the video session, focus your eyes on the person you’re talking to (your therapist!), not on the lower part of the screen where you can see your own image. I know that’s easier said than done. Even better, you can minimize your own image so even if you’re tempted to take a peak, you won't see yourself.  This way you can stay present with your therapist during your session together and really get the most from your session.  However, I strongly recommend #3 (see below) as an alternative as this suggestion (#2) can turn into an unhealthy avoidance tactic.

3. Lean into the discomfort    

If you struggle with seeing yourself on video, tell your therapist and you can use part of the video call session to expose yourself to your own image (un-minimize your image) and look directly at yourself on the screen while you are with your therapist. Have your therapist guide you through the exposure to work with you to move through the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts as they arise, to support you with becoming more accepting of yourself.

In the end, this is our new normal for the next little bit. We may as well lean into it.

See you in the virtual world!

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