My new therapeutic motto is one day at a time… one week at a time… to help clients who are having a lot of anxiety about the virus pandemic and the future.
My advice is this: try to STOP from thinking about 4 weeks, 8 weeks, or 6 months from now. Many clients are talking about their fears about next month and into the summer and fall. It’s understandable, but you can train your brain to STOP!
No one knows how everything is going to develop. However, worrying about many things that might go wrong during the next 6-18 months and watching the news for hours a day is probably making it worse!
Keep your news intake to less than 30-60 minutes per day. Focus on what you can do today and this week to cope with your current situation. If your mind goes to more than one week into the future, STOP! Tell yourself, you will figure out the future when you get to it.
For myself, I have had moments when I start to think about the following questions: will my son be able to graduate from high school this May? Will we still be able to go on the planned vacation we had scheduled in June to celebrate two graduations? Will I be going to NYC the end of April to present Gottman Art and Science of Love? What will happen to my business next month – will we have less clients? Or, will we have more than we can handle? Will I be feeling completely stressed out if the children do not go back to school this spring at all?
And then I must STOP! I turn off my anxious amygdala with some soothing thoughts about coping for today and go back to focusing on one day at a time. You might be surprised to know that I went through a terrible crisis in 2008 and another one during 2014 and during those years, I could only just take one day at a time to get through it.
I hope you can learn to train your brain to shut off the worry by focusing on today and today only. Find your way to cope with today’s challenges… maybe you will write in your journal, read a book or watch a funny movie or television show, bake a cake, engage in meditation, play cards with a family member, take a walk or do some yoga poses in your family room…
Another future worry is that there has been some concern from our clients about insurance coverage for teletherapy [ which is done via videoconference. Research has indicated that telemedicine is also an effective form of treatment to help most clients reach their therapy goals. When you are stuck at home feeling anxious you might benefit from using this time to work on your relationship or learning how to better cope with anxiety. Some clients have a very small co-pay or even no co-pay…
Rest assured, Care First, Cigna, and many other insurance companies will pay for teletherapy that is done over video conference. If you are concerned about this, you could call member services to check on your plan; however, we frequently file claims for teletherapy and there has been no problems with getting those claims paid!
If you would like to engage in teletherapy, insurance coverage is one worry that I want to take off your mind! You can reach out to schedule an appointment by going to our easy to use scheduling link any time at www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie