There’s no rule book for how to parent and take care of your family in a global pandemic. As moms, it has always been easy to question ourselves. Is this normal behavior for my child/teen? Am I doing right by my family? Am I a bad mom for feeling overwhelmed with parenting? Will my spouse and I ever have that same connection we had pre-kids? In the current state of the world, these questions can easily become amplified.
While telehealth counseling has existed for some time, the spotlight didn’t fully shine on it until 2020 when many business practices pivoted in response to COVID.
So what is telehealth counseling?
Telehealth sessions work much like the traditional in-person counseling but allow for individuals to meet with their therapist from the comfort, convenience, and privacy of their own home. Telehealth counseling can take place in several formats, including child, individual, marital, and family counseling.
Are you interested but also skeptical about trying out virtual counseling? We have some tips to make the process easier!
- Have your device, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or phone, fully charged or plugged in. This prevents that panic of seeing the 5% battery remaining notice when you’re in the middle of an important conversation!
- Headphones are also handy to prevent sound from echoing. They can also improve focus on the session, especially if your household is busy during the appointment!
- Don’t underestimate the importance of good lighting! As therapists, we enjoy paying careful attention to body language and facial expressions because it helps us understand what you may be experiencing and how we can best support you. Natural light from windows is great! If that’s not an option, moving a desk or standing lamp in front of you works wonders.
My child is overwhelmed with virtual school. How can telehealth counseling help?
Virtual playrooms are a great tool that can be used in child telehealth counseling. We recognize that for many children, being expected to sit still in front of a computer for any period of time is a challenge. Virtual playrooms allow for a collaborative and interactive therapeutic process to take place, just like when in-person play therapy sessions are held.
Therapists invite individuals into the virtual playrooms by sharing their screen, which displays the Google slide “playrooms.” Each slide brings access to a different themed room. Sensory regulation, body movement, and the art room are a few examples of the different playrooms we can offer! Providing autonomy to children can be very empowering. When children are given remote access to control the screen, they can fully engage in the session. They can explore each room and select their preferred way to complete their therapeutic work!
How could therapy help me or my family member?
Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, and relationship or family concerns. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include developing skills for improving relationships, learning new (and healthier) ways to cope, or discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage.
What is my role in therapy as a parent?
Every situation is different. In some situations, it can be highly beneficial for parents to be active participants in therapy, especially if your child is struggling with adjusting to household transitions. Parents can also support therapy by modeling a commitment to treatment by supporting their child in arriving and logging on to sessions on time, or helping their child practice coping skills in between sessions.
Trust and confidentiality are important components of the therapeutic relationship that lead to successful treatment. In some instances, parents can best support their child’s therapeutic process by respecting their child’s privacy and not asking detailed questions about treatment.
Not sure what method of support is best? Ask your child! This allows them to practice communicating their needs. Your child’s therapist is also a great resource and will be able to share their clinical recommendations. They can also explain any legal or ethical considerations that may be applicable.
Can I see the same counselor that treats my family member?
It’s not uncommon for multiple family members to participate in therapy. In fact, it can be a great way to learn new and healthier ways to connect and communicate as a family! Family members typically will meet with their own counselor because trust and confidentiality are so important to the therapeutic alliance that is created. This allows for treatment to take place in an ethical setting where each participant can be assured that the therapeutic work they are doing stays private.
This sounds great! Where do I go to find mental health help?
Online search engines, such as Google or Psychology Today, can be a great place to start, in addition to contacting your insurance company for information on providers who accept your insurance.
The Family Connection has proudly served New Mexico since 2004. With three offices located in Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Santa Fe, The Family Connection provides both in-person and telehealth counseling services. The Family Connection is a community of mental health professionals who believe in guiding change that will have a positive impact for generations to come. We provide therapeutic services for individuals, children, couples and families with honesty and integrity. We believe in healing and helping others to live out their purpose.