Ways Your Client Is Distracted By Your Background

Today we are going to give you ways on how to make your background prefect for teletherapy.

Are your clients paying more attention to what is around you than you? 

You are probably guilty of having a distracting background! Don’t feel bad, most therapists have all committed one of these offenses throughout teletherapy. We are going to show you all the ways your clients could be getting distracted and how to ensure they won’t be again.

Providing teletherapy is the new normal. 

As you have found your groove with your teletherapy services, you may be feeling confident that you are doing everything right. What about your background though? 

It’s easy to have a background that can be disturbing to your client without even knowing you are doing it.

If you are practicing solely from the comfort of your own home you most likely are surrounded by your things, pets, and whatever other distractions you may have going on. Even if you don’t find these things bothersome, they could be creating a very distracting background for your client. 

This is going to limit the amount of healing your client may receive.

Below is a good representation of how your background should look. 

good background

Here are some of the ways your client could be focusing on everything but what you are saying.

1. Echos

If you are in a room with very little furniture or other absorbent materials you are probably going to echo a bit on your audio. You won’t hear this on your end of the video so you may not even be aware of the problem. 

How to know if you are echoing?

I recommend using your device in your chosen space, record a video of yourself, and play it back to see if you hear your voice echo. 

How do you fix it?

We found this super helpful helpful video from Justin Brown that helped us reduce echo for us. We put some of the tips below. 

If you are hearing this echo, start by moving your microphone as close to your mouth as possible.

Then soften up the room some, place some blankets on the ground and all sides of you that are not in camera view stretched out over the walls. This prevents the sound waves from hitting the walls and bouncing back on your audio.

Re-record yourself to ensure that the problem is fixed. 

Feel free to do this as many times as you may need.

2. Bad Lighting 

This is easily the biggest common mistake therapists are making with teletherapy. What we consider bad lighting is when your face is the darkest thing on the screen. This commonly occurs when you sit in front of a window or another strong light source. 

How do you fix it?

Just position yourself where the strongest light source in the room is pointing towards your face. So if you’re sitting in front of a window instead of having your camera pointed at the window, move around where you are facing the window. This will illuminate your face giving your client a good view of your face. You can always grab some lamps and direct the light at your face to help light it up as well. 

Your main goal is to make sure your client can see your face well lit up.

bad lighting

2. Exceedingly Personal Background

Think about your office. Think about things that you would say are inappropriate to have in your office. 

The same rule applies here as to what you should have shown in your teletherapy frame. I like to say the rule is, if you wouldn’t have it showing in your office, don’t have it in your frame. 

Think about the impact some of these things may have on a client. Be very aware of how it may share personal information about yourself that you may not want to share. 

Your personal sleeping space crosses some intimate lines that just aren’t appropriate for teletherapy. 

Just remember to angle any of these things out of your frame. Again, don’t have anything you wouldn’t have in your office showing. Think about how it might impact your client to see these things. 

Your background should promote the same blissful space that your office does.

4. Chaotic Background

Having a spotless house all the time is impossible, messes happen, it’s part of life. There is nothing wrong with that, but your client should never see that.

How do you fix this?

Position your frame so it is pointed at a wall to ensure that your client is only seeing a nice clear space behind you. The best way to do this is to get as close to the wall as possible then angle the camera to only show the wall and your face.

5. Looking Down

This happens when the computer is sitting below eye level, forcing you to angle your face down towards the camera. Think about what the client sees when the camera is looking up, your chin probably looks doubled and they have a straight shot up your nose. That is not flattering in any way.

looking down

This also gives clients the appearance that you are looking down at them. For many physiological reasons that is not something you want them to feel. 

Find a way to position yourself at eye level of the computer to prevent this downward look from happening.

6. Shaky Camera 

Have you ever FaceTimed someone who is moving the camera the entire time? It makes it really hard to focus on what is going on. It even makes your stomach churn a little bit if it’s shaking too much. 

Don’t be the person who is shaking the camera the whole time. Place your device on a solid surface and leave it there throughout the entire session.

7. Wide Angle Background

This happens when you’re too zoomed out. I’m sure your entire room set up is absolutely beautiful, but your clients don’t need to see all of that, it just creates too much background noise for your sessions. 

How do you fix this?

Try angling the camera so that it shows the upper part of your body only. This will allow your client to stay focused and not get distracted. The easiest way to fix this is to bring your device closer to you. The plus side to this is, you can give all your sessions in your sweat pants and the client will never know! 

Don’t feel bad if you have been doing some of these distracting issues, just move forward giving your clients a better place to practice healing. 

Click here to make sure your telehealth is running as fast as possible. 

Leave us comments on how much this helped you create a less distracted healing space. 

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