Yet there are several good reasons why starting online therapy now may be beneficial:
1. Self-improvement – you might find that you are coping well overall with the crisis and, despite the limitations that are imposed on us, you are keeping a positive mind-set. However, there are issues in your life that you felt for a while needed addressing but you never had the time to delve into them. Why not take this opportunity, the time you find you have in your hands now, to invest in yourself and explore avenues for self-improvement?
2. Help with coping – despite a sense that you can manage life’s challenges relatively well, you feel the new constraints of this crisis are creating new challenges that are difficult to deal with. You might be finding the childcare overwhelming, the dynamics in your relationship with your partner having shifted, or you may be struggling with isolation. It might be a good time to reach out for support externally. Therapy can help you think through how you can manage the current circumstances better. It can help you think about the bigger picture of how you manage your relationships. It can also simply be cathartic to express your distress and find support in someone who isn’t a parent, a partner or children who you feel might be struggling themselves to not worry in these circumstances.
3. Developing “bad habits” – there is no doubt that the situation is difficult and worrying that it is hard to be hopeful and positive sometimes. You might find that the coping mechanisms you have developed to manage the worries are unhealthy. Substance abuse, self harm, over-eating are examples of behaviours that might provide a temporary relief but have negative consequences both for your physical and mental health. It might be a good time to understand more about the anxiety you are feeling and find alternative ways to manage.
If it is the idea of video-sessions that is stopping you from starting therapy now, because you feel you prefer face-to-face, you are not alone. However, many clients have found it is surprisingly easier to engage with a video session than they expected. You won’t know until you have tried it and it this reluctance may not be a good reason to miss out on getting the support you feel you need. You might feel phone sessions are more comfortable than video sessions: some therapists might offer that as an alternative. In my case I have had clients try phone sessions first and then feel they could transition to video sessions. Think about what you would find more comfortable and don’t be afraid to ask.
Some clients have been concerned about the difficulty with boundaries: how to have a session with, for example, your partner in the house? Well, it is a time for creative solutions. For some, it is good enough to know that their family is in a different room with the music on, to give them a good enough sense of privacy. For others, going to their car for their therapy session has felt like a better solution. It is about finding a good enough alternative to the privacy you would have in a consulting room.
In some ways, this whole situation we find ourselves in is a test in resilience, creativity and in finding good enough alternatives to satisfy our needs. Whilst we cannot control a lot of what is happening, we can control how we deal with it all.
Author: Vicky Reynal, Psychotherapist at InsideOut