One of my former clients sent me a link for a recent article in the Washington Post by Lori Gotlieb called “The surprising intimacy of online therapy sessions during the pandemic.”
The article resonated with me.
For those of you who have been doing teletherapy during the pandemic, I know you can relate!
In one session, my nine year old brought me a glass of water and it spilled all over my laptop. (You guessed it, I now have a new laptop)! My client (who is used to seeing me be professional) saw me shriek as I lunged to protect my smart phone from getting water damage also!
I have started wearing comfortable sweatshirts and yoga pants to work on a daily basis – and have ended up snacking and taking my lunch or dinner during sessions while talking with clients. They are likewise sometimes eating, snacking, or drinking coffee.
After all, many of us are juggling more these days with home-schooling children …and with staff no longer at the office to help in the same fashion with work tasks.
I have also noted that people have had therapy in a variety of locations: in closets, in their car, outside on the porch, or pretty much anywhere they can get some privacy from family members and housemates.
Part of therapy is not even about the client’s original treatment goals!!!
Treatment plans in part have changed to add the goal “surviving the anxiety and grief brought on by the pandemic.” Many clients have a need to have time in their session to discuss the anxiety and stress to include such things as: more conflict with family members, fear of death and mortality (that they suddenly feel more intensely), exploring emotions about a loved one sick with covid, and the stress of not one but two spouses out of work due to the shutdown.
For me, the most interesting part is that I can relate to my clients even more than normal. After all, this is a traumatic situation I am going through at the same time. There is shared drama and shared meaning that we are making while clients are exploring their emotions and setting goals to cope and overcome.
Of course, in most cases we are still also working on other therapy goals as well…
However, I will say that the treatment goal of building rapport with a client has been the easiest! After all, we are hanging out in our sweatshirts in whatever location brings the most privacy- sometimes with kids screaming from another room… fun times…
For those of you who have been receiving therapy during the pandemic, you know what I am talking about.
If you have been afraid to try teletherapy but desperately need it for one reason or another…. Well perhaps this post will be a gentle calling for you to give it a whirl.
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