Aspects in which online psychotherapy helps with anxiety caused by the pandemic.
The coronavirus crisis has led to two situations for which there are no precedents in recent decades: psychological problems are affecting more people than normal, on the one hand, and many of these people cannot travel to the consultation of the psychologist, on the other.
Fortunately, today there is a solution that allows you to adapt to these circumstances: online therapy.
Throughout this article we will see how our work as psychologists can provide effective support for those who suffer from anxiety problems, very common during these days of confinement.
What aspects of the pandemic are a source of anxiety?
These are the different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic that favor the appearance of anxiety problems among the population of the countries most affected by the coronavirus.
1. Economic and labor uncertainty
We must not forget that psychological well-being is greatly influenced by the material living conditions that we have : in general, it is more difficult to be happy and have an optimal capacity for emotional management if you are in a situation of job insecurity and lack of resources to live.
That is why the expansion of the coronavirus is generating such a strong psychological footprint among a good part of the layers of society: we must not only manage the discomfort caused by seeing our limited freedoms during these days, but there is also to know how to manage the thoughts of anticipation of what will happen to us in the economic crisis that is emerging as a result of the pandemic. And in the absence of information and knowledge gaps in general, it is very easy for fear to arise ; the most pessimistic ideas have the power to attract our attention if there are no certainties to counteract their effect.
Social isolation is another factor that enhances the appearance of anxiety disorders. Specifically, it favors the development of what is known in psychology as anxiety-depressive symptoms. The tendency to spend a long time without interacting with other people drags us into an unhealthy way of life, in which we do not expose ourselves to activities with the ability to stimulate ourselves, we suffer greater discomfort and it is more difficult for us to regulate our emotions, and this is capable of generating a domino effect that makes the situation worse.
For example, spending hours and hours alone makes us more likely to sleep irregularly, eat poorly, do less physical activity and organize our schedules worse, as well as to engage in fewer activities that are truly satisfactory for us.
This lack of stimuli, added to the possible appearance of problems derived from the above (accumulation of responsibilities, malnutrition, postural and muscular problems, lack of sleep, etc.) increases the chances of developing generalized anxiety, depression, addictions, etc.
3. Coexistence problems
For many people, it is very hard to be constantly surrounded by the people with whom you live. This crisis situation exacerbates conflict management problems, and makes the consequences of these more negative, not even having the possibility of leaving home until the situation calms down.
On the other hand, for many parents, confinement implies having to take care of their young children 24 hours a day for several weeks in a row, as they do not go to school; all this added to a committed work context.
4. The duel
It should not be forgotten that for many people, the pandemic implies the need to know how to deal with the mourning for the loss of loved ones who have not survived COVID-19, or who are in very bad condition.
The feelings of anguish produced by these kinds of situations usually generate psychological rumination, that is, disturbing thoughts that come to our mind over and over again, and that usually end up leaving in a matter of days, but that sometimes suppose a true psychological crisis before which is necessary to go to therapy.
5. Fear of contagion
Finally, the fear of getting infected is also a source of anxiety before which online therapy can be very useful. For some people, it is difficult to “disconnect” from those catastrophic thoughts according to which being distracted for 5 seconds may imply being infected and / or transmitting the virus to the rest of the family.
How does online therapy help in these cases?
As we have seen, emotional alterations related to anxiety are the protagonists when it comes to the psychological impact of the coronavirus crisis. Given this, online therapy provides the following benefits.
1. It is accessible to everyone
In Western societies, practically anyone can receive psychological treatment without having to leave home: it does not matter the state of health or age, as long as there is an Internet connection and an electronic device capable of connecting to the network.
2. Helps to balance schedules
As the patient saves time traveling to the psychologist’s office, it is easy to incorporate these sessions into the weekly schedule.
3. Fear of contagion is not a barrier
People who suffer from fear of infection can count on the professional support of the psychotherapist from the safe environment of their home.
4. Choose between more options
On the other hand, as they are not conditioned by distance, the patient can choose the psychologist they like the most regardless of the kilometers that separate them.
Are you interested in learning to manage anxiety through online therapy?
If you are considering resorting to online therapy to overcome anxiety problems, I invite you to contact me. I am a psychologist specialized in the clinical field and I have been treating patients for more than 25 years, as well as being one of the pioneers of online therapy in Spain. To see my contact information, access this page.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
McLaughlin, K .; Behar, E .; Borkovec, T. (2005). Family history of psychological problems in generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology 64 (7): pp. 905-918.