All Posts in Category: Motivation

Advantages and Disadvantages of Video Sessions in the Therapy World

Telehealth has become a convenient method in providing services for both practitioners and clients. What advantages are there to this form of treatment when it comes to counseling and therapy? The obvious factor is time. This method helps those with busy schedules save valuable time in traffic getting to the appointment. This form of treatment also expands care to those who would otherwise not be able to make it to the session, such as women with babies or young children or people with physical/emotional disabilities that prevent them from leaving the home regularly.

In order to increase safety during Covid-19, video sessions have also become popular. On one hand, this method provides ease and removes barriers. This major advantage allows underserved populations to gain the support during critical times. On the other hand, what are the implications of video sessions on the therapeutic relationship?

There is something about the in-person connection that appears to be very healing for those struggling with certain issues, especially depression. The basis of psychotherapy is the therapeutic relationship and how technology affects that relationship is important to discuss. In my experience, it’s been easier to work with clients who may have already started the therapy process in person and then transitioned to some form of tele-therapy that works for their schedule and lifestyle. The initial connection has been formed and then the therapy process is able to sustain the issues that technology poses. I have found it much more difficult to begin the therapy process using technology initially with clients. Those who were already in therapy prior to COVID-19 already established that supportive relationship with their psychologist or therapist, making it easier to adapt to the changes that have come along with COVID-19. Another disadvantage is that there is no way to completely guarantee privacy or confidentiality with the use of tablets and computers for video sessions.

From a clinical perspective, video sessions can easily create interruptions that are not part of traditional therapy. As a therapist, it’s pertinent to pay attention to the non-verbal communications that occur that can easily go unnoticed with video sessions. Clarifying and slowing down the therapy process may help clinicians and therapists within a session recognize the non-verbal cues that can often times go unnoticed with video sessions. Utilizing the advantages while minimizing the disadvantages of video sessions is key in approaching therapeutic work using technology.

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Fear and it’s Role in Recovery

Fear can be something that you do not even realize is holding you back from attaining recovery and health for mental health issues. The role fear plays in each of our lives can look unique to each person. Tackling the areas that you fear can free you from chronic problematic behaviors. It’s this feeling of fear which may actually keep you in your existing patterns. Approaching what you fear can help you attain a sense of empowerment. Many times fear keeps people avoiding or denying problems within their life. Whether this emotion is keeping you from taking the first step toward recovery or is limiting your quality of life, it’s important to understand where and how it shows up in your life. When you acknowledge the presence of fear, you can more easily move onto actual acceptance of your existing condition. This in turn will lead to healthier behaviors to begin the process of recovery (depression, trauma, addiction or substance abuse) such as entering treatment, asking for help, or simply sharing that this problem really exists for you.

Think of how fear is holding you back. Make a conscious effort to approach whatever you are afraid of in regards to your recovery. Much of the time, what we tell ourselves can only increase these feelings and keep us avoiding our problems. Changing your mental script can help you approach whatever is causing you fear (“I will fail at recovery” “People will judge me” “I can’t do this”, or “I won’t get better”). Whatever your thoughts are, work on changing them to more positive ones that help you approach your fears. Letting fear rule your life will only keep you from attaining peace and health in your day-to-day existence. Fear will also foster regrets later of what you did not do and/or worsen your existing condition. Take some time, and reflect on the role fear plays in your life and your recovery.

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Emotions and Recovery in Substance Abuse and Trauma

We all have our own way of dealing with our feelings. This week, I’ve been wondering about all the different ways people manage or deal with their feelings. What relationship do you have with your feelings? What do you tell yourself about feelings? Are you comfortable with emotions or uncomfortable? Are you fearful of experiencing them? My own personal style has been to deny them or avoid emotions by pushing them away or bottling them up for as long as possible. Sound familiar? Individuals struggling with substance abuse and/or trauma among other mental health concerns many times utilize maladaptive coping strategies to manage or numb difficult emotions, such as drinking, drug abuse, partying, staying over productive, and other activities or behaviors that keep you from confronting those emotions.

What makes letting negative or difficult emotions in so difficult? Much of the time, it’s what we tell ourselves will happen if we do or our beliefs about emotions. For example, emotions are dangerous. Negative emotions arise from painful experiences or events that occur in your life. Can we learn to welcome in the pain that we feel from emotions? Sounds strange I know. Working on accepting that pain will arrive at our doorstep from time to time, can help alleviate some of the anxiety and fear around difficult emotions. Maybe the resistance only makes these emotions more intense or heightened. We can learn to tell ourselves that we can survive the emotions that arise from certain events, because we have survived the event itself. This may assist us in approaching the work that is ahead with these feelings. We can either keep the door shut, which will have the emotions linger at your front door, or open that door and let the feelings in. Individual therapy can help you in developing a healthier relationship with your feelings and teach you how to approach your feelings so that you can begin to give up other unhealthy ways you have been managing.

Can we just allow ourselves to have self-compassion for knowing that the human existence can be difficult at times? That compassion entails allowing ourselves to feel the hurt in order to heal from the pain you have experienced within your life. Can we just learn to be kinder to ourselves for living in the human experience, which naturally includes pain as part of the process?

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