5 Things Therapists Wish You'd Stop Doing During Video Sessions

If you must sit in the bathroom, on the toilet, maybe don't flush - even if it's "just tissues."

two therapists cringing, man behind a laptop Qwasyx from Getty Images,  Mix and Match Studio via Canva

Over the last few years, many psychotherapy sessions have moved from in-person sessions to virtual ones online. The upside of a therapy session over something like Zoom is that it has made therapy much more accessible for the masses.

Previously, many people lived too far from their local clinics or providers to make in-person sessions practical or were unable to get reimbursement for teletherapy services. 2020 changed all of that.


I’ve spoken to many of my psychotherapist colleagues over the last few years, and most agree that working with patients via video has provided an interesting peek into their lives (and perhaps into ours). They also agree that some "peeks" can be a bit distracting, and pretty awkward to witness. 

That said, being invited into patients’ homes via video sessions is a privilege. Speaking for myself, I do not take this for granted— I am truly appreciative. So the following is said with a light heart, and I hope you'll find the humor in it, along with some genuine tips.

RELATED: How To Get The Most Out Of Virtual Couples' Counseling


Your therapist wishes you'd stop doing these 5 things on your video sessions.

1. Car therapy 

Doing the session from your car? No problem. Doing the session while you’re driving in your car—problem. Yes, you might be only five minutes from home, but please either pull over or just turn off the video. Seeing cars whiz by outside your window while you keep glancing down at the phone is going to give me a heart attack.

2. Toilet therapy

If the bathroom is the only place in which you have privacy for the session, sitting on the toilet is fine. Flushing is not. And saying, “I was crying so it’s just tissues,” does not make it less awkward. Just don’t flush.



3. That sinking feeling

Tablets and phones can slip if you just prop them up. For a therapist, being able to see you from the chest/shoulders up is great. Seeing you slowly sink in the frame until all I see is your forehead and ceiling—not so great. Please make sure your handheld device is in a stable position and will stay that way.


RELATED: 10 Signs That Tell You It's Definitely Time To Go To Therapy

4. Intrusions

If you live with other people and there’s a door behind you, kids or another adult might come in during the session. If the person quickly leaves—it’s fine. If they glance at the screen, see me, and say, “Is that your psychologist? Does he know we haven't had sex in three months?" less so. Perhaps double-check the lock.

5. Pet anatomy

Dog on your lap during the session—fine. Cat on your laptop keyboard—not fine. As a therapist, it’s important for me to see your face. I’d rather not have to look past your cat’s rectum to do it.

RELATED: 4 Harsh Truths Real-Life Therapists Want You To Know About Therapy


Guy Winch, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts. He shares advice, insights and more content like this in his popular newsletter, The Get Wrong Do Right Newsletter