When the pandemic hit, many of Elise’s clients were skeptical about virtual therapy sessions. She saw a huge dropoff of participation in the first month until everyone started realizing that the virus wasn’t going away. Luckily, Elise was well-versed in telehealth. She had just branched out and started her own practice at the end of 2019. She had recently relocated and several past clients wanted to continue under her care. The only way that would work was virtually.
Elise specializes in women’s issues and perinatal mental health. Now that people are more accepting of virtual therapy, her roster is more than full. There has been a huge influx of people looking for counseling, and with insurance companies often waiving co-pays for telehealth there is a lot more opportunity for them to find help.
Elise has seen an uptick in the severity of mental health issues throughout the pandemic. Many of her clients are struggling with the isolation, and she feels that depression and anxiety are on the rise.
“The majority of what I’ve been discussing with my clients has included or has been solely about the effects of the pandemic. Everyone’s being impacted financially. They are being impacted at their work life and their homelife. This is a collective trauma; we are all disconnected. Many people are just functioning at the level of survival mode and many clients are having a trauma response: fight, flight, or freeze.”
Elise does not know how long the psychological and emotional effects will last, but she has words of advice for us all.
“Be patient and kind to each other; everyone is experiencing the same lack of control. We have to learn to tolerate certain amounts of discomfort, certainly not extreme discomfort. I’ve been talking a lot about expectations and reality with my clients. If there is a vast gap between our expectations and our reality, it will cause problems and we will experience distress. Right now, we have to face this new reality because there are limitations to what we can change. What we have more control over is our expectations. We should try to make fewer comparisons and maybe not try to plan ten steps ahead.”
The most important message Elise has for everyone is that there are plenty of accessible resources available now and that no one needs to suffer alone in isolation. Talking to someone even over the internet can be therapeutic and we are all in this together.
Read more stories about mental health with how a therapist sets realistic expectations during the pandemic or how long-term care facilities are sacrificing mental health for safety. Or watch more stories on fuconomy’s youtube channel.