Online Therapy During the
Time of Coronavirus
Managing your therapy in a secure and confidential way
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.”
Social Isolation And its Effect on Mental Health
The world has seemingly changed overnight. Quite suddenly, our daily routines, work, hobbies, and social lives have all been upended. We can’t spend time with the people we love or do the activities we enjoy. During times like these, your mental health may seem less important than the pandemic going on in the world.
The truth is that your mental health, especially during times like these, is of utmost importance. Your mental health impacts how you will get through any challenges in the upcoming months. The choices you will make depend on your ability to think clearly, factually, and decisively. And how you pick up the pieces when the outbreak ends–and it will end–will depend on your mental health. It will depend on how resilient you are.
Social Distancing and Isolation
Right now, what is safe for our bodies can be at odds with what is best for our mental health. Although practices such as social distancing and isolation may be necessary in order to curb the spread of this new disease, the reality is that these behaviors can have a very profound effect on our mental well being. Social gatherings and time with friends can often be where we turn for support during difficult times – but in the current crisis, many of these traditional sources of strength are not accessible.
Disruption of Routine
Having a routine is often one of the things that can help us feel settled, and that our life is predictable and under control. With the sudden disruption to both work and school, our routines may change (or disappear completely) overnight. Additionally, the challenge of having multiple family members confined to the same space, and the need to navigate new challenges – such as working from home, or assisting children in schoolwork that has been assigned for remote learning – can all feel overwhelming and unmanageable.
Resilience and COVID 19
Given all of these many challenges, how can we hope to respond?
Resilience is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as the process of being able to “bounce back” from distressing and traumatic events. Having resiliency enables an individual to recover from events that are traumatic, violent, or stressful.
One way to build resilience is through self-care. Especially during tough times, self-care is vital to keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. Think of self-care as the oxygen mask on an airplane. If you are traveling on the airplane with a dependent or a loved one, it’s best to put on the emergency oxygen mask on yourself first, before the people you love. If people are depending on you, then you have to be well enough to assist them. Otherwise, they are left to their own devices. Developing resiliency not only helps you, but the people around you.
Online Therapy for Self-Care
Mental healthcare helps an individual, and their loved ones, develop resiliency. And it has perhaps never been a more important option than it is today. Given the unprecedented stress that many people are encountering, it is vital to not put ongoing therapy on hold during this uncertain season. Additionally, many people may find that, given the unusually intense stress of this time, they can benefit greatly from accessing and starting online therapy. Although in-person sessions may not be feasible at this time due to social distancing and travel restrictions, online therapy can be a great alternative.
How does Online therapy work?
Online therapy allows an individual to meet with a therapist who may be far away. The session can occur through video, text, phone audio, or a mix of methods. Some therapists may leave the choice of the media used up to the client. Online therapy is convenient and accessible, especially while coronavirus remains a threat.
Is Online Therapy Private and Confidential?
Privacy is always maintained in a 1:1 session of online therapy. Online therapists must follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. They must also follow any state-level rules and regulations regarding health records and personal privacy. The software being used by the therapist is HIPAA compliant to protect your personal information.
Online therapy also provides social support and contact, particularly if you live alone or are in self-isolation. Online therapy can also provide an objective perspective at a time when you might be having difficulty being able to see a different point of view, due to isolation. Having someone to talk to and process thoughts with can go a long way in helping to build resiliency.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
Online therapy is just as effective as in-person sessions. What’s important about therapy isn’t the physical presence of the therapist. It is the therapeutic rapport, interaction, and feedback that drives therapy. All those aspects can be achieved through online therapy. As strange as it may feel at first, online therapy is easy to adapt to.
Though there may be a lot to worry about at this time and many events are being canceled, don’t let therapy by one of them. Therapy provides hope and resilience, both of which will guide us through.
Would you like to get more information, or to start receiving therapy online? Contact me and schedule a free consultation.