Accessing Online Therapy during and after Covid
Updated: Aug 27, 2021
The Covid pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on society and the world in lots of different ways. Given the enormity of this worldwide event, it is no surprise that it has had an enormous effect on many people’s mental health. The mental health of the UK was already at crisis point pre-pandemic, and a huge global disaster such as the one we have and continue to face, naturally results in an increase in anxiety and other mental health concerns. A new level of openness about the challenges of life in a pandemic has occurred. We have collectively begun to express the struggles which we are facing.
A recent survey revealed that four in ten adults felt the pandemic had a negative impact on their mental health, stress and anxiety featuring most highly. Over a quarter had experienced depressive episodes and a fifth, panic attacks.
Being able to access therapeutic services became ever more important. Due to lockdown and Covid restrictions the profession has, like so many others, had to adapt. Now, more than ever, people are turning to online therapy as a means of combatting existing mental health issues, as well as those exacerbated, or triggered, by the pandemic. Being able to access quality mental health therapy online has become a matter of urgency. Fewer people are willing or able to access face-to-face therapy and it seems that online services, once a niche market, is becoming a norm in these unusual times.
Although I was a deep sceptic of online therapy at the onset of the pandemic, I have been pleasantly surprised to find how effective the platform is. It is perhaps true that talking to a therapist online may feel strange at first and it is completely understandable that you may take some time to adjust to the idea of online therapy. In my experience (and we therapists are adjusting to this change with you!) treating sessions like face-to-face appointments can aid this adjustment. It is imperative not to feel rushed into a therapeutic relationship until you feel you have found a therapist that feels like a good fit. Positive therapeutic outcomes rest heavily on a strong working alliance and most therapists offer free preliminary consultations to enable you to find the right person for you. Don't be afraid to shop around.
Once you have found a therapist (If you are struggling with this, visit the BACP or UKCP websites for registered counsellors and psychotherapists), it is important that you find a safe, quiet and confidential space in order to maximise your comfort and ease. By finding a place where you feel safe and contained, you will create an environment where you can become immersed in your session. This will help in overcoming the initial nerves or reservations about online therapy, and allow you to express yourself as fully and openly as you would in a face-to-face consultation.
It is more important than ever during this time that we have access to human contact, empathy and support. Online therapy can be a wonderful way to access this and at a time of global isolation and deteriorating mental health, it is an essential resource for so many.