Jennifer Gomez, MSS, LCSW
Therapy in your comfies: Considering telehealth in times of the coronavirus & overscheduling
There are different names for it: telehealth, online therapy, or virtual therapy, but they all mean the same thing. Therapy through your phone, tablet, or computer instead of in person. Today’s environment is creating so much worry and stress. People are working from home and avoiding crowds to minimize the likelihood of getting sick, schools and businesses are closing; children are out of school and stuck at home. Besides the worries of the coronavirus, people are overwhelmed with the daily schedules of work and responsibilities. There is a feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Anxiety is through the roof and so many people would benefit from the support of therapy. There are numerous barriers to getting therapy and telehealth (as I’ll refer to it) is able to minimize those.
First, let me explain how telehealth works in my practice. I use a secure, HIPAA compliant program called Telehealth. That means our session and all your information stays completely private. Prior to our session, I send you a personalized, one time use link that opens a video window. I see you and you can see me. All you need is a secure internet connection so you can use your phone, tablet or computer. There are no apps to download, no passwords or codes to enter. At the end of our session, we both close the window and that’s it. You leave your session feeling lighter and calmer than when you began, just as if you’d seen me in person.
The idea of telehealth is a relatively new one and many clients prefer the connection they feel from being in the room with me. I completely understand that and I enjoy having clients in my office. I have used telehealth to work with clients for years and I will tell you honestly, it also offers an ability to connect. Not only do I hear you, but I can see you and you can see me. For confidentiality I recommend being somewhere private and quiet, but where you are is completely up to you. I’ll be in the privacy of my office, completely focused on you just as if you were right there with me.
At this moment when people are quarantining and trying to stay away from others, telehealth provides you with the therapy you need. With people around us ill and feeling a lack of control over when it will end, anxiety and stress are skyrocketing. Therapy is more important than ever to help you manage these emotions and move through them. Telehealth provides you with the opportunity to speak to a therapist and receive the support you need in a place where you feel safe. Have you ever considered therapy, but decided you don’t have the time to drive to an office, sit in a session and then drive back home? Telehealth also eliminates the added time necessary for therapy. My sessions are 50 minutes. There’s no additional travel or waiting period outside of that 50 minutes. After our session ends, you turn off the computer or put down the phone and return to your routine, knowing you just did something important to care for yourself.
There are so many reasons to consider trying telehealth, especially if some of the reasons you’ve put off therapy are because of time and convenience. The right therapist for you may be farther than you’re willing to travel, but telehealth makes it possible. Don’t want to change from your comfies or get off the couch? Have your therapy session on your couch (just make sure the TV is off, please)! Maybe you’re a busy parent and you have to manage everyone else’s schedules. I get it. You probably have barely any time for yourself. I often remind adults I work with “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Put more simply, you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. I truly hope in caring for others, you aren’t forgetting about yourself. If you think you don’t have time for therapy because everyone around you needs your time and attention, telehealth may be perfect for you.
If you want to know more about telehealth or if talking to a professional about how you're feeling would be beneficial for you, please feel welcome to contact me. You don't have to manage your anxiety alone and whether we are in person or through a screen, I want to be there for you. Stay healthy as best you can and take care of yourself.