It goes without saying that the current Coronavirus pandemic is dramatically impacting our society and the whole world in many different ways. Everything from our supermarkets and health services to the way we live our lives daily has changed. On top of this, with the strict measures of implementing lockdown in most cities, it’s not surprising that this health crisis has affected many people’s mental health.
How can virtual therapy help us cope with the Coronavirus lockdown?
Social isolation, potential loss of loved ones, and financial distress – are some of the things experienced by a lot of people during this Coronavirus pandemic. Aside from bringing changes to our daily lives, their effects are likely bad for our mental health as well.
Online sessions and mental health apps, whether they offer simply mindfulness training or one-on-one training, are believed to be potential solutions. For those who were already under therapy even before this health crisis, online therapy has been their lifeline during this pandemic.
Due to the implementation of lockdown in many cities around the world, virtual activities continue to replace their everyday routine. Online physical therapy and telemedicine are among the examples.
According to Rebecca Grist of the University of Brighton, UK 2 , there are a lot of advantages of virtual therapy. These are as follows:
- flexible treatment access,
- greater reach of isolated populations,
- increased convenience,
- fewer visits to specialized clinics, and
- greater anonymity and privacy.
Getting Started with Online Therapy
For most of us, life has been quite challenging while adjusting to the “new normal.” You know that you may be needing some professional help to keep your mental health in check, but you don’t know where to get started. While you’ve probably heard of telemedicine and online therapy from time to time, you may not know exactly what it is about and how to find a therapist for you.
While receiving online therapy from home may feel uneasy at first, most people adapt well and find their way throughout the treatment. Your therapist will also guide you along the way so you can feel comfortable with this new medium of treatment. But first, you do need to find the best therapist, who is a good fit for you.
To help you in that matter, here are four steps to follow:
1. Identify Your Problem
First, you need to clarify the problems you’re facing during this pandemic-induced stay-at-home environment. Then, determine your goals for therapy to address those problems. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What am I struggling with at the moment?
- How do I want to think, act, or feel differently?
- How do I want the different aspects of my life to be different? (as husband/wife, parent, son/daughter, or worker?)
- How will I know if the therapy has been successful in helping me cope during this pandemic?
2. Determine Your Mode of Payment for the Online Therapy
You also have to decide how you will be paying for the therapy. Consider all the factors, including how you can afford to maintain the expenses for the length of therapy – a process that takes a longer time than you might think.
You have to decide whether you’ll need to go in-network, make use of insurance, or find a therapist who will adjust your payment based on a sliding scale. You may also reach out to your local hospital, behavioral health clinic, or training program for therapists if you are in search of low-cost options.
3. Look for Referrals
As you look for the best therapist in your area, be sure to also check for referrals. Ask recommendations from your family, friends, or family physician. If you fail to get a personal referral, there are other ways you can go to get one. You may look into your insurance company to get referrals. You may also contact your state’s psychological association for a list of the psychologists in your area or get in touch with the American Psychological Association.
4. Search for Potential Therapists
Once you have a few potential therapists in mind, check out their website and contact them to learn more about their experience, conditions of their services, and approach to helping you. Here are some of the questions you might want to ask:
- How long have you been in this practice?
- How many years has it been since you got your license?
- What is your area of specialty in medicine?
- After explaining your situation and providing relevant information, ask whether they have experience treating this type of condition. Also, ask what approach they’re planning to use with you.
At this time of difficult times, your mental health and well-being are very important. Reach out immediately for help if your anxiety is reaching proportions that need professional help.
1 Becker-Phelps, L. (2020, May 06). How to Get Started With Online Therapy During COVID-19 Lockdown. Retrieved June 20, 2020, from https://blogs.webmd.com/relationships/20200506/how-to-get-started-with-online-therapy-during-covid19-lockdown
2 Murugesu, J. (2020, April 24). Can virtual therapy help us cope with the coronavirus lockdown? Retrieved June 20, 2020, from https://www.newscientist.com/article/2241614-can-virtual-therapy-help-us-cope-with-the-coronavirus-lockdown/3 Sbraccia, S. (2020, May 12). How effective can virtual physical therapy be during COVID-19 lockdown? Retrieved June 20, 2020, from https://www.cbs17.com/community/health/coronavirus/how-effective-can-virtual-physical-therapy-be-during-covid-19-lockdown/
Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended or recommended for patients or other lay persons or as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Patients must always consult a qualified health care professional regarding their diagnosis and treatment. Mental health conditions are complex, people differ widely in their conditions and responses, and interactions with other conditions and treatments are best evaluated by a physical examination and consultation with a qualified clinician.