Melissa Weisel, MSW, LCSW, MSM PH-PP
Therapy in the Digital Age
If you had told me a year ago that most therapy clients would be utilizing telehealth I would have spit out my hot chocolate (hello FALL). Yet, here we are, a week away from Thanksgiving, and we have been utilizing telehealth to deliver outpatient therapy services for months. And no one sees an end in sight to this technological gift, whether due to the time it is taking to manage COVID-19 and develop things like a vaccine, or because many clients have gotten used to and dare I say LOVE having the flexibility to have therapy online.
So as the leaves fall and the air turns CRISP, I wanted to write a bit of a love note to therapy in the digital age. Here it is...
Thank you for being there when we needed you most. When the walls were falling down around us, you were in that crumbling mess of rubble continuing to connect us to our human supports. You allowed us to have an anchor in a pretty spectacularly awful storm, one which continues to rage on, just to varying degrees of intensity. One which none of us could have prepared for.
When the safety of brick and mortar became a germ dungeon with suddenly inadequate airflow, you expanded dramatically to enfold us into your digital arms and held us gently like the weeping babies we were... at least some of the time. Now to be specific, the one's holding us were our therapists, case managers, doctors, nurses, coordinators, organizers, etc. who made the change to digital platforms with the swiftness of pole vaulting olympians. Even if they felt entirely inadequate while doing it, providers switched gears and converted their professional and personal lives to the online sanctuary that is telehealth.
Here, in telehealth land, we can skip the long commutes and stop worrying about the laundry having to wait until we get home from a 12 hour day. That laundry can swish swish swish away in the background while we balance atop a creaky old chair with our phones or laptops on garbage cans and pieces of plywood. We became MacGyver level fixers and doers, adapting our homes, our offices, and our personalities to this new challenge. And we did it in sweatpants! In house robes (for those sounds only interactions)! We did it with stained shirts hidden under scarves!
I guess my point is that this unprecedented (GAG) time really has shown us that we are capable of drastic change if we seek out the highlights, the small moments of joy. Are we happy hundreds of thousands of people have died? NO. What do you take me for?!
But do I feel a little bit more confident I can adult? Chyea... I have adulted the heck out of 2020. In sweatpants!
With a grateful clothes hamper,
All jokes aside, tell me what you've learned from the last 9 months of digital living. What are you grateful for? What are you looking forward to when COVID is contained? What do you need to keep going?