Therapy in a Pandemic: Different, but Necessary

The same monotonous routine, being isolated from the people we love, and the drastic change of life that we have experienced in the last year has by no means been easy for anyone. This pandemic, and the isolation that social distancing may have invoked for some, has caused many people to struggle with their mental health. Some, for the first time, and some struggled with their mental health more after already facing challenges. So, many of us sought out therapy. And I’ll be the first to say that it’s a really good idea. 

Many people think that their problems and feelings are not “serious enough” to go to therapy--only people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. go to therapy. The reality is, anyone can go to therapy for anything. Sometimes, just having an unbiased person to talk about what’s going on in your life can be really helpful, and help you to problem-solve. Especially during a pandemic, there’s a lot of change that we have all had to endure. Having a professional help you unpack how your life has changed and how you are coping with it can be integral to growth right now--and it’s okay if we can’t unpack it on our own. Asking for help does not mean that you can’t handle hardships on your own, but that you found the strength to ask for help because you know it will help you grow. 

mental health scrabble tiles Photo by Wokandapix by Pixabay

Now, therapy in a pandemic looks a little different. Most therapists are using telehealth, which is the new buzz word for saying that they’re using video calls for appointments. While some may feel like this can make the connection between a therapist and a client more difficult to create, being online also eliminates some of the stress and anxiety that comes with physically going to a therapy appointment. Many people who go to therapy for the first time in person have to deal with the anxiety of driving there, filling out paperwork in the waiting room, and checking in with a receptionist. While this may all sound simple, the thought of opening up to someone can be very nerve wracking, and all these steps leading up to it can just be reminders of that anxiety. With telehealth, you fill out all the paperwork online beforehand, in the comfort of your own space, and don’t have to worry about engaging with anyone else besides your therapist. 

Needing therapy right now, or at any time, is not a weakness. Instead, it’s a symbol of having the strength and courage to get yourself help. In the beginning, it can be scary. Being vulnerable to a complete stranger seems intimidating for many. With time, most clients get more and more comfortable with their therapists, and are able to lead healthier lives with healthy coping mechanisms. 

women sitting next to each other with laptops Photo by WOCinTech distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license

It’s a big step to take, but one that is worth it if you have the ability to get therapy. Many insurances are fully covering therapy due to the pandemic, so make sure to check in with a therapist that you are interested in if they accept your insurance and for availability.  www.psychologytoday.com and www.goodtherapy.com are great websites to get started with finding a therapist. 

Finding the right therapist might not come the first time around-- it can take a few to find your perfect fit, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that therapy doesn’t work for you, you just may have the wrong person. 

Seeking out therapy is a journey. It’s one of worry and stress, but also one that can bring people to health, happiness, and feelings of validity. Putting the work in to help yourself is commendable, brave, and strong, and you can make that decision right now.

Photos: Her Campus Media