In 2018, one in five American adults reported experiencing mental illness, and 2020 is pushing the number of people dealing with stress and anxiety to historic levels. “The most common issue since March has been anxiety,” says Amy Cirbus, Ph. D. , a licensed mental health counselor and director of clinical content at Talkspace, a platform through which therapists offer text, audio, and video support remotely. “For some users right now, the current climate has exacerbated chronic mental health problems.
MyWellbeing offers this guide to help fight off any phone fear. “For the first few minutes, I recommend sharing about why you’re looking for therapists, what your hopes are, and what your fears are,” Petersel says. “You may want to ask an open-ended question, like, ‘Now that you know that about me, what might working with you look like?
Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)—third-party services that offer mental health referrals and short-term counseling (even for the months following a layoff). “It’s a big benefit a lot of employees don’t tap into,” says Gavriella Gold, an H. R. professional in Seattle. “We know that you might not want to talk to H. R. about what’s going on, so we connect you to a third-party service.
When we picture therapy, we often think of a room with a couch, a lamp, a plant, and a bespectacled person with a notebook asking, “How do you feel about that? ” But in an age of social distancing, therapy (like just about everything else in our lives) has gone virtual. “There’s a lot more intimacy when you're meeting a client in their home and they’re meeting you in yours,” says Atara Vogelstein, a licensed creative arts therapist in New York.
And in an age of social distancing, connecting virtually is the new norm. "By wearing a mask, your facial expressions, around your mouth or by the creases around your eyes, are hidden," says Alyssa Petersel, licensed master social worker, founder of MyWellbeing, a therapist-matching service in New York. "A therapist might miss those psychosomatic cues, which are helpful in reflecting what you might not be saying, but are likely communicating nonverbally.
When do you not only have the time but the ability to create the headspace for your work with a therapist to be resonant and valuable? “I try to be strategic about when I do my therapy,” Singer says of her experiences working with her own therapist. “For a few weeks I was doing therapy at 5 p. m. on a Friday, and it just felt like chitchat.
If you can’t stomach video calls, there’s also text therapy. “Text-based therapy is an asset for people who have multiple people in their home, who are juggling several obligations and have limited time and privacy, and who have an irregular schedule and may find it best to have a place to put their thoughts intermittently throughout the day,” says Cirbus.
There are a lot of things happening to stress you out this year. Finding a therapist shouldn’t be one of them. https://t.co/jbMeMsQJc2— Glamour (@glamourmag) August 19, 2020