Online Therapy

Are Difficult Or Unexpected Circumstances Disrupting The Normal Flow Of Your Life, Career, Or Therapy?

by Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Psy.D., LMFT

Has an unexpected situation, like the current COVID-19 crisis, derailed your ability to navigate your life or career or participate in mental health support or therapy?

Do you find yourself stuck and unsure how to navigate your life with the current “social distancing” and the uncertainty it brings? Perhaps the present global health crisis is affecting your emotional wellbeing, creativity, or reducing the opportunities to be productive or to perform. You may not know what will happen next or how to keep pursuing your life or passion in such uncertain times. 

man looking at computer stressedFor all of us, dealing with this pandemic and its impact is very new, and there are a lot of unknowns we haven’t had to face before. Maybe you’re feeling isolated or frustrated with yourself. And while you think that you’re capable of navigating the stress of the present situation, you still find yourself disconnected from your life or creative energy. 

Even if you’re staying active, the isolation from social distancing can make it hard to maintain your sense of hope, motivation, or productivity. And if you’re sheltering at home with loved ones, relationship issues and conflicts may be triggered. 

Maybe you were struggling with depression, anxiety, emotional trauma, or relationship issues even before the COVID-19 crisis, and now everything seems even more challenging. You’re highly creative and productive and you like to accomplish your life dreams and goals. But your emotions and the current circumstances are really testing your abilities to remain engaged, productive, creative, or emotionally connected. You find yourself facing not only your own challenges but also the outside challenges you can’t control. Your need for mental health support is at an all-time high in these situations. 

On the other hand, you may frequently be in production or on set—perhaps even in another country—and attending in-office therapy just isn’t possible. Or you might have a second home or special location where you go to focus on your craft without distraction, and you don’t want to stop therapy while you’re there. This is where online therapy services can be most convenient.

Regardless of the challenges or unanticipated changes that may be affecting your daily functioning, they don’t have to completely overturn your life and career. By taking the time to talk to a counselor online, you can find relief and regain a sense of control over your situation. Instead of spending this time too stressed or detached to train or practice your skills, online therapy can help you continue your work through this crisis and aid in your mental health. Instead of having to pick up the pieces when this crisis is over, you can continue to be present in your life and career.

It’s Normal to Feel Unsure When The Unexpected Happens

It’s natural to experience a state of shock when the life you used to have or that you were actively pursuing has turned into a big uncertaintyYou might feel confused and thrown off of your daily routine, and unsure about how to establish a new normal without the structure and accountability of the outside world.

You may be struggling to maintain the active lifestyle that played such a central role in your ability to create. The longer you are stuck at home, the less motivated or inspired you feel. Or worse, you might get caught in a negative feedback loop: your inability to create/perform as effectively as you want can trigger or exacerbate your depression, anxiety, or trauma—which fosters more self-doubt—reinforcing feelings of helplessness.

Thankfully, the cycle can be broken. With online counseling, you can learn to normalize the challenges you’re up against right now so that you can break free from harmful feelings and beliefs and continue to work, create, perform, and live your life. 

Online Therapy Is An Effective Tool When In-Person Sessions Aren’t An Option

Online therapy services can be an effective way to find the professional support you need right now. By embracing teletherapy options, you can continue being creative and efficient. 

I have been working with clients online or via phone therapy for years. Although it’s not exactly the same as one-on-one, in-person therapy sessions, meeting online can be just as effective. It provides a human connection where you can express yourself openly and honestly, without fear of judgment or criticism. By taking advantage of new technology for video meetings, you can talk to a therapist on the phone or online and still have that authentic, healing therapeutic connection that comes from in-office meetings. 

as an online therapy provider, my approach follows a similar outline as they would if we met in my office, and I draw from the same set of evidence-based treatments (including EMDR). I have seen how effective teletherapy and phone sessions can be for clients who are traveling for work or otherwise unable to attend in-person counseling. And I know that regardless of the physical distance between us, I can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

For video sessions, I use the most secure version of Zoom available (which is currently in line with HIPAA guidelines) and Doxy, a platform ethically approved for online psychotherapy. All you need is a private place to work and internet access via a computer, laptop, or smartphone. I’ll provide a Zoom or Doxy link (both platforms are free for you to use). Or if you prefer meeting for therapy by phone, I will call you at the scheduled time.

During mental health care sessions, we will go through the same things we would in my office—gathering information, addressing any privacy concerns you might have, filling out confidentiality forms, scheduling subsequent sessions, etc.

Perhaps you’re thinking that you should wait to start therapy until this whole COVID-19 crisis is over and you can meet in-office. However, we don’t know when it will be over and what life will look like afterward. And delaying the treatment you need to be able to function better can leave you feeling stuck in a very painful place that affects your personal and professional wellbeing. By taking responsibility to deal with this difficult situation right now in a constructive and healthy way, you can foster a sense of hope and self-confidence that allows you to bring something healthy into society for yourself and others.

Maybe you’re considering online therapy but still have some questions

Is teletherapy really as effective as in-person therapy?

The nature of working with highly creative people is that they are often traveling or otherwise unable to attend therapy in person. But the need for therapy doesn’t stop just because you’re busy or out of the area. I have done a lot of phone therapy sessions with my clients in the past, and I’ve seen firsthand how beneficial teletherapy can be when in-person sessions aren’t an option. Moreover, several studies have examined the effectiveness of online psychotherapy and found it to be just as productive as one-on-one, in-office counseling.1,2,3

I’m concerned about privacy issues during online counseling sessions.

zoom meeting iphone black and whiteAdvancements in technology have made teletherapy as secure as it can be right now. Many of my clients actually view online therapy as more private than in-office sessions. You can talk to an online therapy provider from the privacy of your own home/room; you don’t have to go out in public or sit in a waiting room where someone might see you. And to protect client privacy, I use video chat platforms that are ethically approved by the board of psychology, such as Doxy, a HIPAA-compliant program. While there has been some debate about Zoom’s privacy, I use the most secure version of this platform available.

Will my health insurance cover online therapy sessions?

I do not take insurance, but I can provide a superbill that you can submit to your insurance. To be sure about what exactly they do and do not cover, check with your insurance. If you’re struggling with resources because of the COVID-19 crisis, I can be flexible with the fee and we can reevaluate as we come back to normalcy.

Keep Your Productivity, Creativity, or Relationships Going Despite Obstacles

If you are ready for Online Therapy I offer a free, 15-minute phone consultation. You can reach me at 310-424-0292 or click on the contact link.

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