getting care in the comfort of your home
Video Therapy for Couples
UNCERTAINTY AND CHANGE
Due to the novel Coronavirus, we are all facing stress levels that are much higher than usual. You may be filled with uncertainty, and feel triggered by the constant stream of bad news and rapidly changing restrictions to our lives. As of this writing, Santa Clara County has placed a “shelter in place” order.
Here is a very helpful downloadable guide called "Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty".
TURNING COVID-19 SHELTER-IN-PLACE INTO AN OPPORTUNITY
This new reality can place a real strain on navigating your most important relationships. In addition to normal challenges in life, couples are also experiencing:
disagreements about the severity of the Coronavirus,
arguments about ways to deal with day-to-day decisions regarding safety,
tension about finances,
fear about loved ones' health,
feelings of isolation,
anxiety that shows up as irritability and anger...
and the list goes on and on.
Here are two excellent videos on how to diffuse fights during this time:
1) Fighting about strict we should be in our sheltering
The main points are "to agree to disagree" with your opinions and to "lean toward safety" when finding a compromise during a crisis.
2) When you feel anxious, here's some coping strategies.
The main points of this video are to figure out what you're feeling and then, when you're both in a good place emotionally, express your feelings to your partner. Make the virus the enemy, not your partner.
Please know that I am available to support you using Teletherapy (Video or Phone). In fact, I encourage you to use this time at home better your communication, improve your relationship and strengthen your family.
THE COUPLES ADVANTAGE
When doing video therapy with an individual and a therapist, the connection is weakened by the computer putting distance between the two humans trying to connect. While it's better than nothing and can still work, it loses some of its power.
This is different for couples therapy. Because the two of you are IN THE SAME ROOM, with me guiding you, you feel the DEEP CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU actually being together.
CONSIDERATIONS OF VIDEO THERAPY
Some of the logistical advantages of telehealth counseling:
no driving to an appointment,
no searching for a parking space,
no worries about childcare while they’re away,
no need to switch therapists if they move, and
no problem if the specialist happens to be far away.
But you may wonder, sure it's convenient, but does it work?
Fortunately, there is good news on the research front. Researchers have shown that online therapy works as well as traditional face-to-face therapy. Studies have examined two factors:
outcomes for clients and
the quality of their relationships with their therapists
The findings show equal efficacy across telehealth and in-person conditions. If you'd like to dig in further, start with this meta-analysis (92 studies involving 9,000 clients) which has clearly confirmed the value of teletherapy.
Even though you may solve the problem of finding a sitter, you may still face the obstacle of interruption by your children. There are several ways to deal with this.
First, if you are interrupted, we pause for a moment, ask the kids to leave, and then restart. It's not ideal but we usually recover quickly.
Second, depending on the age of the children, you can ask them to not disturb you in advance.
Clearly explain that you are working on your communication with each other. This sets a great example of working on relationships for their later lives.
There are several limitations to online couples counseling that you should be aware of. At a most basic level, you need to be willing to have an open mind to building emotional connections using technology. Often, clients talk themselves out of trying online counseling because they think “they’ll be talking to a computer.” Many of these folks are pleasantly surprised by how easy it is once they get started. In fact, some clients actually feel more comfortable being in the privacy of their own living room.
Many private insurance companies like Cigna and Aetna, have come around on teletherapy - supporting what they now recognize as a “legitimate” service. Still, the level of coverage varies wildly between providers and even between different policies. See my FAQ's on exactly what to ask your insurance company.
Security and Privacy:
You should know that whenever technology is involved, it is never 100% risk free. Even the most secure system can be hacked. I hope this does not deter you but I feel it's my duty to mention it.