Learn how office setup supports Self-Connection Psychotherapy.
We get so much information from people’s faces, reading expressions to learn how they are responding and how they’re feeling. People are watching our face just as we are watching theirs, but most of the time we are unaware of our own expressions. Many symptoms grow out of that lack of awareness of what’s going on with ourselves. Watching ourselves on a video screen gives us the same information everyone else has.
Why Equipment Matters
Whether you are learning the Self-Connection Psychotherapy treatment model or using it with patients or clients, the right equipment will speed the process.
In the learning phase, the key is to practice the model with yourself. Begin by looking at yourself on a video screen and responding to what you see. If video is not available, a mirror or a selfie on your smartphone will do.
The treatment phase requires a more formal approach. I have my office arranged so that I sit across from my patient and a monitor. My patient sits across from me and a separate monitor. Both monitors show the same information — a split screen with side-by-side closeups of the patient’s face and my face. As a result, the patient can easily see me or themselves, and I can see myself and the patient. This allows us to monitor our own expressions while interacting with each other.
My Office Setup
My office equipment for Self-Connection Psychotherapy consists of two video monitors, two video cameras, a video mixer, an amplifier, two microphones, a DVD recorder, and cabling. One of the two video cameras is focused on me and one on the patient. The cameras feed into the video mixer. The patient and I both wear tie-tack (lavalier) microphones. The audio cables feed into an amplifier and then into the mixer. The mixer provides the video images on the screens we face and also feeds into the DVD recorder. I record the session for both my use and the patient’s use.
I found that recording via DVD is the most time-efficient way of creating a record of the session. If both the patient and I speak clearly in a quiet office, it is possible to record without tie-tack microphones. Instead I use a room microphone situated between the myself and my patient. This is preferable because people tend to inadvertently wall off with portable microphones.
It is also possible to use a single camera with a second built-in camera pointed in the opposite direction. This setup provides a large picture of the patient and a smaller insert of the therapist in the corner of the patient’s image. The drawback is that there is no large image of the therapist. You will improve your chance of successfully adopting the model if you monitor your own expression during the session. Look for an upcoming article on how to monitor yourself and how this will make you a better therapist.
The Minimum Office Setup
The simplest way to do this model of therapy is with a single camera focused on the patient. Recording could be made to a flash drive and also transmitted to a monitor that the patient observes. This way the patient can see their expression while the session is being recorded. Unfortunately, with this limited equipment setup, the therapist will only see him or herself by looking into a mirror or their smartphone self image.
Another approach is to use two cameras, one focused on the patient and one focused on the therapist. Both record to flash drives, providing high quality recordings of the patient and therapist. This approach calls for downloading the two drives to a computer and syncing the tracks, which is a time-consuming process.
Hopefully, with the advent of new technology, equipment needs for Self-Connection Psychotherapy will become simpler. I spoke to people at Google about using the Google Glass system with a tiny camera on a stalk attached to Google Glasses, but it is not yet possible.
Whatever office setup you choose, the most important thing you can do to learn Self-Connection Psychotherapy is to start watching yourself and get patients watching themselves. I think you’ll find it illuminating. Watching the videos and watching your own image live is critical to your success.
View other articles I’ve written on Self-Connection Psychotherapy here, or visit the Therapist Member Resources page for interesting references I’ve found.