Resistance to Tele-Mental Health
by Richard G. Wirtz, PSYD
We are such creatures of habit!
Taking the step to access mental health care has long been a challenge for lots of people. The reasons why this is so hard is the topic for another blog. Maybe I will get to that one someday! Stay tuned.
Now we have an even bigger challenge - the need to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak. To do so, we have had to shutter our office doors and provide all our services over telemedicine platforms and perform what we now call tele-mental health services.
This has been a tough transition for some of our existing clients and several have opted to suspend their sessions until they can be seen face to face. Some may be concerned that it will not be the same kind of experience and might lose it's value. Others may be afraid of navigating the technology. Still others may have jobs that require lots of time on video conferences and they can't stand the thought of spending one more hour in front of a screen.
And then there are the more esoteric or unconscious reasons. The need to resist the virus dictating one more aspect of their lives or giving the therapist a more intimate view into the privacy of their home.
Whatever it might be, it is important to remember the value of adapting to the challenges of life. If you have lemons then make lemonade. Our ability to roll with the punches has not been tested like this in my lifetime and how we fare will not be determined by how much we resist the realities but how we work with them to meet our needs as best we can.
I don't know how this chapter ends but I have a hunch that tele-mental health is here to stay. Maybe not as the primary vehicle for receiving mental health services but as a means of accessing the care we want/need when we are blocked by forces outside our control.
If you have been reluctant to try it, let me give you a little push to do so. If you have never tried accessing mental health services then it's just a new experience. If you are a veteran of therapy/counseling in the comfort of a provider's office then it's just a new experience.
See for yourself! Your mental health is ESSENTIAL and anything you can do to bolster it is for the common good.