With the Corona Virus (COVID-19) currently permeating through every facet of our society, we can all feel a little anxious at times. In fact, there is such a thing called pandemic anxiety. With the COVID-19 virus being declared as a pandemic, it’s almost impossible to not experience future focused thoughts, both rational and irrational. You may find yourself getting swept up in the tsunami of stress and fear. Quarantine, long lines, empty shelves, canceling school and vacations, and lack of adequate child care are just some of the obstacles we are facing as a community today.
Here is where I want you to breathe: inhale, exhale and repeat. What should not be canceled is prioritizing your mental health. With the social distancing being forced upon us, now is the perfect time to tend to yourself. An issue many face is finding a therapist that is accepting new clients, and then worrying about traveling to their office during this state of national emergency. Don’t worry, therapists are humans (and parents too). We are also worried about meeting clients who are sick or even have been traveling. Well, what if I told you that I can accommodate you with an any time or even a lunch time therapy session. How is this possible? E-therapy or telehealth.
By now, you may have heard of the newest trend in therapy, e-therapy. This form of therapy utilizes the convenience and power of the Internet. E-therapy can be conducted through simultaneous communication such as video chat and text messaging or time delayed communication like email or in a chat room. There are several advantages to this new modality that may benefit one compared to traditional talk therapy interventions. Having said that, I still firmly believe in the power of the traditional talk sessions in both office & e-therapy settings.
2020 has been said to be the year for self care. What an incredible year it’s been so far. We are still very much living in a fast paced, and unfortunately a fear based society. Committing to mindfulness and self care is difficult, especially when you only have so much time in the day or your week. It’s even more arduous when set in the middle of a pandemic. Like anything else, one needs to schedule and truly dedicate their time to meet their goals. Even if it is 50 minutes in the entire week, taking some time for your mental health will always be better than committing no time for yourself.
The first benefit of e-therapy sessions is the convenience and flexibility. I am a new mom and have been spending more hours at home. I recently met new mommy friends and gathered that most of their common frustrations include wanting to talk to someone about their experiences, however many are not able to. Whether they cannot leave their house because they do not have child care, there is a lack of transportation (especially if they share a car with their spouse), or they simply don’t have the financial means for the cost of a full session. The advantage of engaging in e-therapy allows for the new parent or any individual to receive support on their schedule.
E-therapy sessions can also be a helpful option for people who live in remote areas, homebound, disabled or do not have transportation to attend a face to face session. Online sessions are very helpful to clients who are sick or even for those who frequently travel. Especially in today’s time, these sessions can be helpful as they reduce the need to find care for children or elders.
Engaging in e-therapy sessions also reduces the wait time to schedule a session. I not only treat clients without insurance, but I am also able to collaborate with clients and the needs of their schedules. I understand that not everyone is available during traditional office hours. Using this form of therapy, we can work together to meet and check in weekly at a time that works for you.
The last benefit is the affordability of this form of therapy. Clients who utilize this model have found they are able to save money on gas and time without needing to travel to meet their clinician at the office. I know for me, especially now, every cent and minute matters. It may be helpful to note that e-therapy sessions are typically less costly than a regular face to face session.
Of course with any decision there are both pros and cons. E-therapy is not recommended for those with serious mental health diagnosis, trauma or for those who are experiencing suicidal ideations. It is critical to pay attention to the therapist behind the screen. Like any person in the medical and mental health field, you should know their credentials. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Florida. I am not a psuedo-science based life coach. The differences include having a higher level of education, completing over 1500 client contact hours, over 100 hours of clinical supervision, receiving certifications with required courses for the State and passing the National Board exam.
During our e-therapy sessions, you can expect the same experience and attention as you would have in a face to face session. You will be asked to complete an intake and consent to treat form before our first session. We will discuss and create therapeutic goals for our work together. Some examples include learning how to reduce symptoms of anxiety, finding how to cope with depression, increasing ways to manage stress or improving your self-esteem. It is important to know that while these sessions provide convenience, it does not expedite your healing process. Being behind the screen does take away from observing non verbal cues, therefore the “joining” process is important to establish. This means, we will go slow. Therapy is not a quick fix or an hour of advice giving. I want to get to know you and explore attempted solutions to the identified problem. You will have space to process your experiences and will receive feedback or sometimes assignments (don’t worry, you won’t be graded).
Confidentiality and your privacy is still very important to me. During our sessions, I will ask that you are in a private and quiet place. You may even want to wear a headset or earphones to protect what is said and also to improve the sound quality.
In closing, I know it is a hectic time and pandemic anxiety is real. If you are interested in finding adaptive ways to cope with the stress of our world or the stress of your day, please contact me today. I look forward to speaking with you more and exploring ways to assist in your healing process.