Starting Therapy in 2020 (without losing hope)
First, I want to begin by recognizing that this year has been a whirlwind of a multitude of experiences in our world, and subsequently within ourselves. While writing this, I began to list out about 12 things that have happened or are happening this year, but instead of risking re-traumatizing anyone, I want to instead acknowledge and center on how heavy this year has been.
The happenings of this year have been heavy alone, but also cumulatively.
I want you to know that what you are feeling, as nonsensical as it may feel, is valid.
I want to invite you to hold a little more self-compassion for yourself in these trying times, as trying as that can be.
Now, if the process of reaching out and starting therapy wasn’t vulnerable (by vulnerable, I mean that it invites you to be completely who you are in your story) enough, 2020 added on teletherapy, where sessions are conducted through a device. Some of you may have had a reaction of, “I will do anything for my well-being, I’m still in”. Others have maybe thought, “I don’t want any more screen time”, or “Why should I settle for teletherapy?” All of these reactions are valid. Naturally, we all need some sort of connection throughout our day. Whether that’s with ourselves, or with another being. Looking at screens can have an effect on our eyes and body, and for those who work on screens and are in and out of virtual meetings, I can understand that another virtual interaction may not be exciting or ideal.
I invite you to look at B’well’s blogs on What Can I Expect During a Telehealth Counseling Session? and The (new) Rituals of Therapy. There you can find really valuable information on setting yourself up for a safe and helpful tele-session, the proven benefits of telehealth, how you can work through anxiety and various feelings, and how you can still connect with your human self.
Before we continue, I guess I should introduce myself... "Hello, my name is Nia!" I recently joined B’well in September. I am immensely grateful to be a part of this practice and this group of clinicians. Put shortly, my sweet spots in therapy are intersectional identities, anxiety, unlearning, healing, and liberation.
Yes, I Am Real :)
Some folx may be weary of a virtual start to therapy with a new therapist. Whether it’s your first time or you’re getting back into it, I hear you.
It’s hard to reach out to a stranger and it’s hard having to tell your story over and over to different therapists. I want you to know that although a device separates us, the value is the same and the modalities have just slightly shifted.
P.S. I am a real person! I am thankful for Telehealth in these trying times and I also look forward to the day we can meet in person.
If You’re Exploring Options...
Be specific with what you want, as much as you can be. Think about whether you want to access therapy through an app, through text, in-person, through telehealth, the length and frequency of sessions, and what you are looking for in a professional therapist.
Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what we want or need. And we certainly don’t have to know all of the time. Try to tune in to yourself and listen to your needs.
To further support you, try finding and connecting to community spaces that feel good. You can search on Google for different therapy or support groups, events on Eventbrite, and maybe reach out to someone and ask if they know of any good resources happening right now.
At B'well we offer 45 min & 55-minute sessions. Currently, all sessions are happening via telehealth, with clients & counselors connecting through Google Meet or Doxy. We offer specialized therapy for children through adults and continually aim to create a safe, secure environment for our clients- even when we cannot meet in a physical environment!
Reminders in Telehealth
If you’re unsure of anything in Telehealth, ask your therapist.
Take it at your own pace and treat it as you would an in-person session. This is still your space.
Check in with yourself, somatically, emotionally, however. I like to invite clients to take moments and let their gaze relax; look around the room; release tension in their jaw, their shoulders, arms, abdomen, hips, legs, and feet. You have full permission to practice ease in this teletherapy space.
It will get better. Let me say that again: it will get better. In the meantime, focus on what you can in each moment of the day, and the week. Take it one step at a time. Maybe try a visual imagery exercise of imagining a sweet, sweet vacation, or your most desired thing in life, and hold onto that. And lastly, remember that rest is productive.
Nia is the newest member of the B'well team! She provides therapy to children, teens, & adults and applies a holistic lens and compassion-centered focus to her work.
To connect with Nia, reach out here or email her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.