The pandemic and ongoing uncertainty associated with these times has impacted on everybody’s mental health. Mental health services have received more requests from people looking for help.
Psychological therapy has had to adapt to the new reality we find ourselves living with changes that may continue to have profound impact after the pandemic is managed and life resumes.
Is it useful to see your psychologist or mental health professional in person? I believe that we are finding out that most psychological therapies that you might have previously accessed with face to face sessions can be provided via web based video sessions.
We are having to work in different ways, using more questioning, working more collaboratively with our clients by being more direct in the absence of visual and non-verbal cues. People in crisis can still go to their closest hospital accident and emergency for help rather than being “stuck” with a web-based video consultation.
I have found that the flexibility of using Facetime/Skype/WhatsApp/Microsoft Teams brings more flexibility for clients. They are not having to factor travel time during work hours to attend their appointment face to face in my clinic. They can now usually see a psychologist without other people being aware of the visit or explaining where they have been out of the office.
Overall people are getting better at finding privacy where they can talk to a psychologist whether in another room or while walking using earphones.
Another change is that online consultations can ensure privacy as they can talk to mental health professionals from anywhere in the United Kingdom or overseas. Generally, with accessing psychological therapy there are shorter waiting lists but more flexibility due to people’s routines and less travel time.
Whether you were to see me or another mental health professional, make an appointment get yourself settled with a cup of coffee and set up in your comfortable chair and; let the psychologist lead. You do not need to prepare for the session, and you are not going to give up your control – you do not have to talk about anything you do not want to talk about.
I believe that online web consultations will continue which can work for both clients and mental health professionals.