How Therapists Are Adapting to a COVID-19 World



COVID-19 has created unparalleled levels of stress and anxiety for the average person. Many people who were already in therapy when the pandemic began have discussed the impact of COVID-19 with their therapists. Many people have also sought out therapy for the first time to help manage the stress that living during COVID-19 has brought to their lives. As a result, treatment professionals have had to incorporate plans of action adaptable to these newfound complications.

The Pandemic Also Affects Professionals

Complicating the new landscape of a world taken over by a pandemic is the fact that many professionals are dealing with their own fears and concerns about COVID-19 while trying to treat their clients for the same issue. It can be difficult for a therapist to guide people in handling their emotions and making decisions about how to react when they themselves have the same concerns. A therapist may be struggling to keep their usual roster of appointments while dealing with distance learning children. Similar to their clients, they worry about themselves or a loved one contracting the virus. If someone in their lives is sick or has lost their battle with COVID-19, stress can become burdensome. These losses make it taxing to simultaneously be responsible for providing professional help to several people in the same boat. 

Telehealth Appointments Offer Options

If you are not offering telehealth appointments, consider doing so. Telehealth therapy appointments have significantly increased during the pandemic. They can provide both the therapist and their clients peace of mind that neither is in danger of infecting the other. It also keeps both parties from having to leave their homes or risk exposure to the general public. Telehealth appointments also allow a therapist to offer sessions outside their regular hours, which can help them arrange a better schedule for themselves and their clients, particularly if their client load is increasing. 

Adapting to Client Needs

Keep in mind that no matter how much you want to help as many people as possible, you have to make sure you are taking care of yourself, too. Squeezing in more appointments than usual is a noble effort, but spreading yourself too thin may ultimately cause you to become overwhelmed and less effective. You may end up cutting down drastically on sessions offered in order to manage your own mental health. 

Many therapists are reporting that their clients are expressing concern about their therapist’s well-being. While it’s crucial to maintain appropriate boundaries, it can be soothing to a client to know that their therapist is experiencing elevated levels of stress, too. A brief exchange of feelings about pandemic-related topics can help build a bond between a treatment professional and their client. 

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Think about some of the specific suggestions you give a client to help them manage their stress levels. Make sure you are applying them to yourself, as needed. Engaging in regular exercise, getting outside daily to get some sun and fresh air, and maintaining a healthy diet all provide benefits. If things like yoga, meditation, or aromatherapy are a go-to stress reliever, or if you are interested in trying one of these for the first time, be sure to incorporate that into your routine. Make time for a hobby that relaxes or rejuvenates you. Take time to relax with a book or watch a movie. Block out time for it in your appointment calendar, so it doesn’t get pushed aside. 

It’s also beneficial to make sure you have your own outlet to discuss how you feel about the pandemic and anything related to it. This may be a partner, family member, or friends. For others, it may include seeing a professional to help you manage the world of being a therapist during such a historical time of rising mental health issues. Remember that you are not alone if you feel overwhelmed as a treatment professional in a COVID-19 world. There are not a host of textbooks or classes that teach how to work during this new reality, leaving many therapists scrambling to adapt to it. Constant changes in local policies about social distancing, guidelines for safety, and differing opinions from politicians from the national to the local level can be exhausting. Organize any articles or emails you need to read related to all this and then set aside time to go through them.  

Therapists are experiencing an increase in their patient roster and the need to help manage their stress from living during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, therapists themselves are also dealing with the same anxieties as their clients. Treatment professionals must take care of themselves, too. Sustain Recovery is a treatment center in California that offers multiple options for managing co-occurring mental illnesses and abuse of drugs and alcohol by adolescents. We provide several options for care, ranging from outpatient to long-term residential, that are designed to fit your child’s treatment needs. We offer COVID-19 compliant facilities to provide safety for our clients, their families, and staff. If increased anxiety about the pandemic or other mental health issues are causing your child to need intensive help, call us today to find out how we can create a plan for their success! (949) 407-9052.