Ways for Therapists to Specialize in Treating Pandemic-Related Conditions



The COVID-19 global pandemic impacted many people who have sought therapy for help adjusting to the changes in everyday life. Even though society has now plunged into the first stages of reopening, the damage done to millions of people remains palpable.

For many treatment professionals, the fallout from the pandemic presented new challenges. We had to develop adaptive approaches to treat our clients who experience anxiety and depression related to the coronavirus. Some have found themselves leading the charge in how to best approach this new demand for therapeutic assistance. Others have put together a combination of different plans of attack.

Many therapists now find themselves presented with a new opportunity: expanding their practice to focus on pandemic-related mental health. The sheer volume of Americans seeking help for this means an increase in treatment plans and providers has taken center stage. If you find yourself interested in addressing this call, consider the populations that most commonly need help.

First Responders and Medical Personnel Took a Huge Emotional Hit

First responders and medical personnel make up a significant portion of people impacted by COVID-19 stress. This group has spent over a year dealing with high numbers of patients with the coronavirus, and many medical workers might have been exposed to the virus themselves. Although training for the unlikely events of a pandemic can be taught, no amount of training can take away the shock of how quickly the virus spread across the world.

While medical training might have been in place, preparation for the emotional fallout was next to impossible. The mental health of many first responders and medical personnel in the U.S. took an enormous hit.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that job stress related to the pandemic can turn into more serious conditions. These include acute stress disorder, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and secondary traumatic stress. The CDC issued guidelines for signs that first responders may experience:

  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Exhaustion
  • Anger or irritation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • A change in sleep pattern
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of motivation
  • Compassion fatigue
  • Job burnout

These experiences represent a high population of clients who will need help dealing with the fallout. Many current or new clients may want to continue in their chosen career field. Those who do can benefit from professional guidance in dealing with the impact that has already occurred. Their therapists can help guide them in handling ongoing stress that will likely continue for an extended period.

Business Owners and Employees Need Help Adjusting

Before the pandemic, company owners had not counted working from home as part of their business model and found themselves forced to adapt. In many cases, many employees found themselves allocated to home offices overnight.

For the owners and many management positions, this change meant rethinking how their businesses function. Learning to manage and motivate a team of employees who were now primarily home-based landed as a significant challenge on their desk. Millions of employees suddenly found their commute consisted of walking down a hallway in their home to a room with a computer. Both groups of workers found challenges in adapting to this new way of work life.

As the coronavirus vaccine becomes more widely distributed, many businesses are opening their office doors again. Many of these employees will need help adjusting to changing gears. Being exposed to people in close quarters again may concern them. They may have differing opinions about residual safety guidelines at work regarding things like wearing masks and keeping a distance.

Several companies find that the work-from-home approach suits many of their employees and don’t plan to switch back. These employees may need help adapting to working from home permanently.

Some therapists may want to contemplate offering regular therapy to those impacted by job-related pandemic stress. They might also consider offering seminars or short-term workshops targeting directly at specific businesses. A game plan that the bosses, employees, and therapists sign off on can help ease the anxiety of moving into the next phase of post-pandemic employment.

Children and Teenagers Need Help Adjusting to Re-entry

The underage population took an enormous hit during the pandemic. Children found it challenging to process the dramatic changes in their lives. Teenagers found themselves impacted due to their youth and inexperience with handling grandiose life developments. For therapists who treat children, these changes open an opportunity to offer specialized treatment to this population.

Many parents find themselves at a loss for how to help their kids. They understand that their child feels anxious or depressed, but they might not know where to turn. If the child already struggles with mental health issues, life during quarantine may have worsened them.

Some therapists might want to consider treatment specifically targeted at helping kids process their pandemic-related feelings. Those who specialize in holistic approaches like art and music therapy might want to take this route to help kids. Getting out the word that your practice can help children deal with the coronavirus can lead to helping a great deal of them move forward.

Most treatment professionals have found untold numbers of their patients need help dealing with pandemic-related stress and anxiety. Many developed mental health issues due to living through such an ordeal, while those who already experienced mental health challenges found that theirs increased. Some therapists now find themselves faced with the opportunity to focus their practice on pandemic-related issues. They may want to offer treatment to populations such as medical personnel, first responders, business owners and employees, and children. Sustain Recovery provides long-term treatment for adolescents and young adults who struggle with addiction and managing their mental health. We also offer our clients COVID-related stress management. Our Southern California location provides a beautiful backdrop to help your young client begin their healing process. We provide multiple treatment modalities to help kids prepare to re-enter a world now healing from the pandemic. Call us today at (949) 407-9052 to discuss your clients’ needs.