By now, Americans know COVID-19 takes a serious toll on our physical health. It causes shortness of breath, fever, and a persistent cough.
But what about the toll COVID takes on our mental health? Forty-five percent of US adults reported their mental health has been negatively affected by the deadly virus.
The good news is that while mental illness cases have increased, so has the availability of online therapy.
Let’s explore how e-therapy works and how it can help you overcome mental disorders caused by COVID-19.
How Does Online Therapy Work?
Online therapy, also known as cyber-counseling or e-therapy, is the process of providing mental health services via the internet. Internet therapy has been in the works for years, but the recent COVID-19 pandemic is making cyber-counseling more popular than ever.
E-therapy can be done through text, video calls, online chats, and email.
Online therapy offers more flexibility for patients. Email and text services are provided in a time-delayed format, so patients can respond whenever they have time.
If you want real-time e-therapy, try using online chat or video calls. Therapists set up virtual appointments with their patients and spend an allotted amount of time working through issues.
Types of Online Therapy for Mental Illness Cases
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to lose their jobs, say goodbye to loved ones, and suffer serious health problems. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported a 1,000% increase in call-ins when comparing April 2020 to April 2019.
People experiencing mental illness and emotional issues can find relief working with therapists online. Online therapy is available for individuals, groups, and families.
You can do almost anything online as you can do in person. Internet therapy allows patients suffering from mental difficulties to connect with therapists from the comfort of their homes.
Various online therapies work to aid individuals and families dealing with the mental and emotional toll COVID-19 has caused.
Online CBT Therapy
An international pandemic equals high stress, depression, and anxiety rates across the world.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for depression and anxiety. Patients discuss problematic behaviors with counselors to change how they think and act.
A mental health therapist will break down a patient’s feelings, thoughts, and physical actions. He or she will determine how negative emotions and memories affect the patient’s actions.
The therapy teaches patients how to manage problems and emotions to prevent them from causing negative impacts.
iCBT is a form of online therapy. It is similar to normal CBT techniques, but it is performed over the internet.
Patients engaging in iCBT complete questionnaires to establish how they are feeling. The results are discussed with an online therapist.
Patients then move through 10 modules. The modules are online and completed at the patient’s own pace.
Therapists tracks and monitors the patient throughout the process. There are check-ins set up along the way to ensure the patient is staying on track and making progress.
Online Grief Counseling
There have been over 113,000 COVID-related deaths in America. That’s over 100,000 wives, husbands, brothers, and sisters who have been laid to rest. It should come as no surprise that Americans are grieving now more than ever.
Online grief counseling provides support and therapy for those dealing with losing their loved ones. Grief includes a range of emotions. People may experience intense sadness, anger, and guilt.
Grief counseling helps patients understand death and cope with losing a loved one.
Online grief counseling provides people mental health support in a virtual format. There are three parts of successful internet grief counseling.
First, therapists instruct patients to talk about the deceased. There is no judgment and no filter. Patients can openly discuss their emotions and memories.
Second, the therapist helps the patient distinguish grief from trauma. Trauma is when a person experiences flashbacks or has trouble getting frightening images out of their head. Trauma prevents people from coping with grief.
Third, therapists help patients organize their grief. Patients are encouraged to let go of guilt and overcome negative emotions associated with the death of their loved one. The therapy helps people commit to living a healthy life without their loved one.
Tips for Online Therapy
Patients undergoing online therapy need to attend virtual sessions in a private area where there will be no interruptions. Patients must feel free to express all of their thoughts and emotions.
Tips for creating a comfortable environment for an online therapy session include:
- Finding a space away from household distractions and noise
- Wearing headphones or AirPods to increase privacy and decrease outside noise
- Using a white-noise machine or downloading a white-noise app to prevent eavesdropping
Do what you can to make your therapy space as comfortable as possible. Use soft lights and bring in extra pillows or blankets.
If you have a cat or a dog, they can accompany you during your session to make you feel more at ease. Just make sure they are well-behaved and will not disrupt your therapy session.
If you can, use a computer rather than a phone during your appointment. A computer has a large display, making it easier to connect with your counselor. It also gives your therapist a better view for monitoring your body language.
Before your appointment, test your technology. Make sure everything you need is fully charged. Ensure your camera and microphone are working.
Eliminate distractions by turning your phone off or putting it on Do Not Disturb mode. Close all other web browsers and applications on your computer.
Don’t forget to jot down your emotions outside of your sessions, so you can discuss them with your therapist. Write down questions you have and address them during your appointment.
Discover More Health Tips
Your mental health can’t wait for help until the pandemic is over. Online therapy is playing a vital role in decreasing the number of mental illness cases due to COVID-19. If you’re suffering, support is always available.
For more health-related tips and tricks, browse our blog.