I’ve been seeing a therapist for several years and we recently moved to facetime appointments. It just doesn’t feel right. Should we break up?

Mental Health

A: We are all adjusting right now. And therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and others who provide mental health services are more often than not working virtually. One thing to keep in mind: Even if it feels different, research has shown that telemental health services can be just as effective as in person services.

And even if you receive services like art therapy, play therapy, or occupational therapy, you may have a unique learning opportunity. Increasingly therapists, through virtual technologies, are empowering clients by: engaging parents/caregivers/family members/guardians to actively participate and lead in tasks; guiding individuals through exercises (such as art therapy with tools provided/mailed, parent management with feedback on play, and even relaxation and massage); and improving the therapist’s understanding of the individual’s home environment.

Still, if you have an urgent need to see a therapist in person and your state permits it, stick to the following rules: 1) Stay home if sick or in contact with someone who was sick; 2) Maintain social distance; 3) Wear a mask; 4) Only use supplies that are intended for single use (art supplies), bring your own supplies, and/or ensure appropriate sanitization of all surfaces/supplies in the office or in your home (if the therapist comes to your home). These steps will likely make the nature of the appointment/interaction a little different, but it could be needed if your mental health/your family’s mental health is deteriorating. We know this is a difficult time. Loneliness alone can increase mental health symptoms, so it is important to continue to reach out to all of your social networks (APA article).

So the short answer is: continue your therapy and maybe try new methods to achieve the same treatment goals. Also consider boosting your therapy sessions with one of the many new apps out there like the VA’s COVID Coach.

Of course, if something doesn’t feel right and you need more help, there is always someone to answer and guide you to resources/additional support at 1-800-273-8255.

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