Appointment Checklist

If you and Dr. Murphy mutually agree to engage in telepsychology, then the checklists below can help you prepare for a successful online interaction. This page is meant to provide you with some tips to prepare for your sessions. In addition, the following website has some videos and tips about how to effectively set up your space for a telepsychology/psychotherapy session: . (This page is based heavily on the content developed by Person Centered Tech, and is used with their permission.)

Creating Confidential Space

If you were attending therapy in a physical office, Dr. Murphy and her staff would be responsible for setting up a confidential and private space. But in telepsychology, Dr. Murphy can only set up a confidential and private space on her end. For your end, you will have to set up your own psychotherapy space. The following are some suggestions and considerations to help guide you in setting up a private, comfortable, usable space for yourself so you can concentrate on the work of psychotherapy.

Ideally, you would set up your session in a private room with:

  • a lockable door
  • a comfortable seating option
  • a computer (instead of a phone) with a camera at eye level
  • a strong internet signal

Many people use a bedroom or office in their home. If an “ideal” space is not available, sometimes clients are able to set up a private and relatively comfortable space in a laundry room, closet, basement, or attic. Being comfortable is important so that you are able to focus on psychotherapy rather than your physical discomfort, so being creative in setting up a comfortable but also private environment is important. Sometimes, sitting in your car can be the most private location for a telepsychology appointment, but it is not ideal. Under no circumstances should you engage in a telepsychology session while driving. Here are some additional considerations if your car is the best choice:

  • Is there a light source so Dr. Murphy will be able to see you if the sun goes down during our session time?
  • Is there a way to charge your communication device during the session (for example, if your computer or phone battery gets low during the session)?
  • Is there a strong enough internet connection in your car? Sometimes the wifi connection from your home is not consistent from the street or driveway outside your home.

Here are some additional considerations about the space you choose:

  • If you are not able to lock the door, will other people in your location respect your request for privacy and not enter the room?
  • Can people outside the room hear you talking?
  • Can you create white noise with a fan or electronic device (for example, a tablet/iPad/smartphone may have an app that plays white noise)? ** Note: white noise works best outside the door to the space. **
  • Can you use headphones or earbuds so that Dr. Murphy’s voice is kept private and is only hearable by you?

Technical Set-Up

  • Screen size: Use of a laptop or desktop computer with the largest screen size you have is the best choice for a telepsychology appointment. These devices have a large enough screen for you to be able to see Dr. Murphy better and for her to see you, and to improve our ability to read each other’s nonverbal facial expressions and body language. When you use a smaller device (such as a smartphone) for a telepsychology appointment, it is also easier to feel disconnected from Dr. Murphy, and to have a more passive approach to therapy (for example, responding more like you are watching a TikTok video than engaging in a therapeutic interaction). While it is not ideal, a smartphone is an option if you have no other devices. 
  • Eye level: For any device that you use, having the camera approximately level with your eyes creates the easiest feeling of interaction. This may require propping up your device or computer monitor on other items to reach the best height.
  • Lighting: Your face should be well lit, and you should not have a bright light source directly behind you.
  • Headphones/Earbuds: You should use headphones or earbuds whenever possible, to avoid an echo between Dr. Murphy’s voice coming through the speaker and entering the computer again through the microphone.
  • Internet connection strength: If possible, move your connection device as close as you can to your Wifi router (the box that makes the Wifi). Or better yet, plug your computer into the router with a cable. 
  • Computer Efficiency: You should close out of any programs that you don’t need which use your internet connection. Also, check to be sure that any antimalware (antivirus) software is not running scans during the session.
  • Bluetooth connections: Disconnect whatever device you are using (computer, smartphone, etc.) from any bluetooth speakers that you will not be using during the session (for example, so you do not broadcast Dr. Murphy’s voice into speakers in another room or in a car you share with others).