COUNSELING FOR BETTER COMMUNICATIONS. Blog by Sandy Malawer, Director, Family Therapy Center in McLean, Virginia. www.Counseling-Connection.net 703.893.9065 / 703.346.7056 (cell). E-Mail … SandyMalawer@Counseling-Connection.net
Some good observations from a recent piece discussing therapy and the pandemic. This is a starting point for many who are dealing with this difficult time.
• It is completely normal that Americans are feeling stressed, anxious, sad and irritable. But for people in an unprecedented situation dealing with unfamiliar emotions, it can be difficult.
• You should consider professional help if you are: feeling anxious, tense or angry all the time.
• Therapy offers a chance to speak confidentially to a professional about what you are dealing with.
• Psychiatric medications can be helpful with or without therapy. “There are both short-term and longer-term pharmacological solutions.
• When looking for a therapist who could be a good fit for you or your family member, consider asking your primary-care physician. Searching the Internet for therapists and reading their websites can be quite helpful.
• Most therapists have transitioned to teletherapy because of the coronavirus lockdown.
• Recent research has found that video-enabled teletherapy is effective and the therapeutic relationship and satisfaction with therapy do not suffer.
“Feeling Irritable in Pandemic?” Washington Post (May 26, 2020).
From a recent post on CNBC (May 12th, 2020). ……………
We are in the middle of a mental-health crisis. Millions of Americans are suffering in silence. They are sad and alone. They feel scared and hopeless.
These feelings can become all-consuming and interfere with our lives in profound ways: disrupting our sleep, making it impossible to concentrate, putting stress on our relationships or making it feel like even getting out of bed is too much to handle.
It turns out that mental illness is normal.
To that point, many people were struggling to keep it together before the crisis. Some had never experienced a mental-health challenge before and are now suffering from anxiety and depression. Some are struggling to adjust to the direct health and economic consequences of the virus — job loss, financial stress, illness and/or the death of a loved one.
• Stop beating yourself up. Yes, many people have it a lot worse than you. Yes, you have much to be grateful for. But that doesn’t mean you’re not suffering.
• Stop comparing yourself to others.
• Look for the opportunity. The pain is real. It is important for you to take time to honor reality. Spend time keeping a journal about your feelings and talking with a supportive other.
• Ask for help. Social connection is critical to our mental health. Make it a point to connect with friends and family members daily using technology.
There is no reason you should be going through this alone and therapy can help. The great news is that there are more opportunities now than ever right to establish a relationship with a therapist using tele-health services.
Good article in the Washington Post on mental health illness, the virus, and lack of preparation. But mostly, it highlights the very great increase of mental health issues. It describes some of the basic issues. Below are various observations made in this article. Really outstanding ……………
And yet, out of the trillions of dollars Congress passed in emergency virus funding only a tiny portion is allocated for mental health.
Just as the country took drastic steps to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by infections, it needs to brace for the coming wave of behavioral health needs.
When diseases strike, experts say, they cast a shadow pandemic of psychological and societal injuries. The shadow often trails the disease by weeks, months, even years.
This approaching wave of mental injuries will be met in coming months by a severely broken system.
Parity and access problems may only worsen with the pandemic, which has upended the functions of hospitals, insurance companies and mental health centers.
A Congressional letter asked the government to lift reimbursement restrictions that have prevented therapists from using phone calls to treat patients. The Trump administration indicated it would do so.
While Congress recently authorized emergency funds for hospitals and medical providers, very little will go to mental health and addiction service providers
This virus is messing with everyone. The anxiety, isolation, uncertainty.. Everyone’s struggling with it in one way or another.
An excellent op-ed on depression and political events. Really outstanding statement as to role of therapists ……………….
Affording a therapist and finding the right therapist — it is rare: wisdom, empathy and kindness cannot be taught — they are the first obstacles to overcome. Then you might have to find the right and affordable psychiatrist, who will help you make an informed decision about whether to take psychiatric drugs that will or will not help, perhaps even saving your life.
This is a good article on infidelity. It’s conclusion, surprisingly, is that infidelity by either partner or both, is not necessarily the end of the road. Here’s some thoughts from this New York Times piece from earlier this month …………
“The good news is, depending upon what caused one partner to wander and how determined a couple is to remain together, infidelity need not result in divorce …. But short of irreversible incompatibility or physical or emotional abuse, with professional counseling and a mutual willingness to preserve the marriage, therapists maintain that couples stand a good chance of overcoming the trauma of infidelity and avoiding what is often the more painful trauma of divorce.”
Served 8 years as a gubernatorial appointee on the Board of the Virginia Board of Counseling. This is the licensing and regulatory agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia for licensed professional counselors. A great experience. But now glad to avoid the traffic on I95.
The following is from a piece published last year —
As the name would suggest, couples therapy is intended for couples. But sometimes, only one partner is willing to go. “The resistant partner may fear being vulnerable, think that therapy won’t be helpful or be uncomfortable talking about their problems.” “Regardless of the reasons, I’d say it’s still helpful if the other partner comes in for support.”
My take. This is so true. Often one party may come initially but then over time the other would also joins in. this is often with good results for the couple’s relationship.
The online counseling field is growing 70 to 80 percent faster than projected since November 2016, when Trump was elected.
There are spikes in female, minority, Muslim, Jewish and LGBT customers, among others
The majority of patients are millennials, with an average age between 33 and 34.
Although in-person therapy is the standard practice phone counseling is a great alternative for busy professionals and others. This has greatly increased since last November. There are many reasons for this, such as convenience, individuals being more comfortable with online conversations, for those who cannot leave house or office, among others.
Political differences can easily strain family and couple relationships. Any differences between people can trigger desires to convince the other to ‘see it my way!’ Convincing, however, is less effective, and more likely to create relationship rifts, than simply sharing perspectives.Some people have more ability to allow others to be different. This ability takes patience. It takes willingness to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. This ability also rests on ability to keep your emotions in the calm zone. My best advice is to channel discussions into other directions. It’s more important to keep a good relationship than win an argument.