I’ve been providing video therapy since 2019, before the pandemic; however, the majority of my sessions were in-person before. Due to stress from the pandemic and concerns surrounding in-person therapy, I experienced an increased demand for video therapy. But as my caseload grew, I discovered other reasons for the increased demand.
Prior to the pandemic, video therapy was already convenient and resolved obstacles associated with coming into the office for an in-person session, such as:
- Accessibility (Live in an area of California that has a shortage of therapists, individuals who experience physical/mobility limitations, college students who are not able to access their on-campus counseling center/have used up the number of sessions provided by the center, etc.)
- Caregiver responsibilities (eldercare, children, etc.)
- Transportation (removes the hassle of commuting or sitting in traffic, vehicle dependability, etc.)
Once the pandemic occurred, additional factors came to light, such as:
- Very Cost-Effective: The fee for therapy can vary, based upon years of experience, specialty, certifications and training, etc. What came to light was the difference in cost depending on where the client lives. And the difference was huge, so much so that the cost of individual therapy that most therapists charge in one area in California can be significantly higher than the fee in a different part of California, 400 miles away.
- Client-Therapist Fit: A therapist who works in California can provide video therapy to any client as long as the client lives in California. The state of California is large, with many therapists, so a resident of California has many options to choose from when it comes to a therapist. The more options there are, the better the client’s chances are of finding a therapist that is a fit for them. Yes, there is a list of what and how the therapist “treats” clients on their website, but I am talking about a true client-therapist fit, not the treatment type (and to be honest, all of us therapists learned about CBT in graduate school, so any of us could do it if we want to). This is a professional, helping relationship, so other factors might be important to the client and assist with healing, such as the culture and race of therapist, because BIPOC clients may want a fellow BIPOC therapist; the way the therapist goes about helping the specific challenge that the client comes into therapy for; the personality or demeanor of therapist, how much the client feels truly heard and understood by the therapist on that free consultation call, and if the client actually likes their therapist (FYI, this is a deal-breaker with teenagers).
- Feasible For The Busy: The pandemic did not create more time for people. In actuality, it took away time. Grocery shopping became an entirely new experience that either required pre-planning to get necessities delivered, or spent time remembering to bring a mask and waiting in longer, physically distanced lines at the stores. Parents and caregivers had to switch back to having children, teenagers, and college-aged young adults at home 24/7. All while either continuing to work or applying for jobs. And don’t even get me started on the mental and emotional fatigue from all of this. Who would have time or energy to drive to a therapy session? And when commute time is factored in, where would it fit into the schedule? Fortunately, individual therapy sessions are only 50-minutes and one time per week. And with video sessions, it can be squeezed in-between tasks and obligations. All it takes is a private space; the most popular seems to be inside a car that’s parked in a driveway, garage, or at a nearby park.
- The Final Straw: The pandemic and its wrath can be the final straw at the end of a long list of stressors, changes, and losses a person already experienced. As cliché as it sounds, sometimes there’s one final situation that ignites reaching out for help. A person who thinks to themself, “You know what, things have been happening already and now this new situation on top of everything else…I’m going to take the initiative to call and try therapy.” This takes a ton of strength. Everytime a new potential client reaches out to me, I praise them for it, because that first step can be very hard to do. But this one step will propel the individual to better mental health and well-being.
- Consistently During an Unstable Time: One unintended benefit is that weekly therapy sessions provide consistency during a time when things change from one day to the next. Safer-at-home orders, in-restaurant dining, working in-office or off site, hybrid or online-only schooling, friends and family gatherings, and what types of businesses are open, can all change at any given time. And I they have; multiple times. I’ve lost count. Therapy assists with routine and consistency because you know that at least one day per week, you will have an appointment. Therapists also assist with how to respond effectively to each of the stressors, changes, and adjustments that clients experience. We also want to make sure you are seen and heard, so we validate you and your experience.
Receiving assistance from a therapist can be helpful. If you are interested in receiving therapy with me, you can call, email, or self-schedule a phone consultation. Ready to get started? Let’s work together!
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Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. The topics being discussed are meant as a self-help tool for you own use. It is not psychotherapy or counseling. This information is to be used based on your own judgment. If you need to speak with a professional, you should find one local to you and contact them directly.