Therapy and Pandemic — Seven Observations.

Therapist (women on couch)

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).

Mental-Health & the Pandemic: Four Helpful Hints.

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.

MENTAL HEALTH & THE VIRUS — We All Need Help.

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.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/04/mental-health-coronavirus/

Now, Therapists at the Office.

Companies say the benefit can be a tool for improving employee performance and, ultimately retention. Employees want mental-health care but often struggle to find the help they need that fits their schedule or is included in their insurance coverage, say executives at several companies. In-house counseling can save time and money and boost workers’ resilience and productivity, as well as their overall health and well-being, say health-care experts and human-resources executives.

 

In the past, discussion of mental-health issues at the office was uncommon. Workers were largely expected to leave their personal struggles at home. Crying was confined to the bathroom stall.

 

Today, that’s changing. One reason is a broadening of the popular understanding of “mental health” to encompass anxiety, stress and other widespread issues.

 

It’s also a reflection of a changing workplace. Younger workers are more comfortable talking about their struggles and expect their employers to take emotional distress seriously, says Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

 

From “The Therapist in the Next Cubicle. “Wall Street Journal (January 31, 2019). https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-latest-perk-for-stressed-out-office-workers-therapy-comes-to-you-11580486984

 

 

Why is Everyone So Depressed?

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.

Why is America So Depressed?” NEW YORK TIMES (January 3, 2020). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/02/opinion/depression-america-trump.html

Child Crisis & Couples Counseling.

One very common and difficult issue in couples counseling is when the couple disagrees on treatment options for their mentally ill or addicted child.

Therapy helps find a middle ground that they can agree upon and work toto support each other. So they feel less alone with this struggle.

THE FAMILY THERAPY CENTER OF MCLEAN http://www.virginiacounselling.com/

Is There a Way Back from Infidelity?

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.”

The Hard Road Back From Infidelity.” New York Times (Jan. 28, 2018 )