The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the daily routine of so many individuals around the world. Anyone who regularly sources the help they need through therapy or counseling, along with the therapists, psychiatrists and counselors themselves who provide the help, has been forced to redefine how care is provided and received.
With social distancing protocols limiting in-office and in-person interactions, not only in therapy settings but in virtually every setting – grocery stores, church gatherings, public events, etc. – the world at large was forced to hold events virtually, or not at all. It’s a trend that affected counselors and clients alike, as therapy sessions migrated online, together with all of the new challenges and obstacles that online counseling brings.
Online counseling is certainly different from traditional, in-person therapy, and the change has affected both patients and therapists in so many ways.
How has coronavirus affected clients?
It’s no secret that the coronavirus outbreak has forced so many individuals to reevaluate nearly everything about their individual daily routines. From grocery store visits to dropping off and picking up children from school, there are now extra steps and additional security precautions for even the simplest day-to-day tasks.
In addition, coronavirus has brought with it numerous healthcare, economic and societal changes. Overcrowded hospitals mean new medical policies; delayed manufacturing processes mean new normals for product delivery times; massive travel restrictions and flight cancellations mean a restructured year for all travel-dependent individuals. And of course, the COVID-19 outbreak meant furloughs and lay-offs for millions of people, who now need the income more than ever before.
Recent mental health studies indicate a vast rise in individuals reporting mental health issues as a direct result of coronavirus, quarantine or secondary effects of the pandemic. Some studies have the percentage of Americans reporting coronavirus-related mental health challenges as high as 47%.
All of this means that the need for modern therapy has arguably never been higher, despite new challenges to receive that same care.
How are counselors, therapists and psychiatrists dealing with COVID-19?
Counselors and therapists alike have their own set of coronavirus-related challenges to deal with. Many healthcare professionals have been laid off or furloughed since the pandemic took hold; those who have retained their positions have dealt with two major strains: a vast increase in total patients, and a learn-on-the-fly approach for all the new technology that makes online counseling possible.
Counselors are dealing with an increase not only in total patients overall, but also in total patients with coronavirus-related issues and concerns. Issues like stress, anxiety, depression and grief are now receiving a new focus in light of COVID-19.
Many therapists in the field are also now forced to quickly acclimate to new online counseling technology, that allows for secure web connections between counselors and clients. For some counselors, the learning curve is a simple one, and some counselors even prefer the informality of the new process over traditional therapy. However, many counselors are obviously hesitant to host counseling sessions online, given the fact that the distance between client and counselor can contribute to misunderstandings, missed details and frustration at technological limitations.
How is Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling dealing with COVID-19?
We understand that both clients and counselors are experiencing direct and indirect pressure related to the coronavirus outbreak. From day one, it’s always been our priority to protect not only our patients, but the counselors and therapists who provide help during difficult times.
That’s why we’ve resolved to provide care for all existing and new clients during this time. In order to reach new clients and pair each with a licensed counselor ready to offer professional help, we’ve leveraged a secure telehealth platform, which connects clients with counselors over phone or video conferencing.
We understand that there’s a learning curve when it comes to new technology. However, this is the safest and quickest way for you or a loved one to receive the help you need, and our counselors are trained to assist any new or returning clients in the use of this new technology.
We’ve also made it a point to offer the same services over telehealth video conferencing that we also offer in all of our outpatient locations. This ensures that all patients – whether they’re new or returning – have access to the same sessions, in the event that visiting our physical locations isn’t possible.
Now more than ever, we understand that clients are seeking mental health services. For over 30 years, we’ve provided counseling services for adults, teens and children. Call 1-800-809-2925 to take your first steps toward recovery today, or reach out for mental health clinical services and counseling, or address substance use and alcohol challenges.