The Effects of COVID-19 on Therapists

By June 15, 2021Mental Health
therapists

When the COVID-19 pandemic led to stay-at-home regulations, many people lost ways to socialize and maintain economic stability. The world turned upside down as people tried to navigate the changing recommendations, findings, and expectations from employers and family. The pandemic affected how people received their healthcare, education, and social assistance. People, including therapists, faced significant cutbacks or job losses.

The Beginning of the Pandemic

At the beginning of the pandemic, the world was at a standstill. Every industry was adjusting to the new realities of working outside of the office. Unfortunately, therapists who worked in fields like education or social services faced hardships because their jobs weren’t easy to transition from the face-to-face model to telehealth.

The transition occurred with little disruption to patient care for therapists who could shift their practice from an office-based model to a telehealth-based model. Those in private or group practices that could transition from the office to home eventually saw an increase in patient care as the pandemic affected the country.

Benefits of TeleHealth

The pandemic’s quarantine and social-distancing regulations impacted the mental well-being of many. When the pandemic quarantine orders remained in place after several weeks, people began to experience feelings like depression, anxiety, and stress. Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety increased throughout 2020. Reports of suicidal ideations or substance abuse also increased. Those with suicidal thoughts or substance abuse began to seek help in alleviating their mental health issues. The increase in demands at home because of remote work, isolation, child care, and economic instability increased the need for therapy. Some called mental health or substance addiction hotlines for a referral to a treatment center or therapist.

The integration of telehealth into patient-centered therapy helped make therapy accessible to most people. With the increase in appointments, some therapists saw more people than before the federal and state governments imposed COVID-19 regulations. The need for mental health care boomed, and therapists across the nation benefited from this increase in appointments.

Limits of Telehealth

Telehealth allowed patients to remain in treatment despite stay-at-home restrictions. Patient care wasn’t affected, and therapists could effectively treat their patients despite the regulations. However, not all services provided by therapists are effective when performed through telehealth services. Several forms of therapeutic care saw job losses, revenue reduction, or loss of health benefits. Some therapists lost revenue because services like psychological testing are difficult to perform over the phone or during video appointments. Phone and video conferences can’t relay a person’s spatial, visual, intelligence, or coordination skills.

Forensic Therapy

COVID-19 restrictions also limit therapists who provide child custody evaluations. Video or phone appointments can conflict with their ethical obligation to protect a child’s identity and privacy. Another limitation of video calls is the inability to judge interactions between the parent and child or the child’s behavior during an observation. Some therapists prefer to wait until they can observe the children or the interactions between the parent(s) and child(ren) in person. The ethical conflicts can result in a loss of appointments and income.

Consumer Trends or Company Services

Companies are experiencing a loss of revenue because of the slowed economy, adaptations to the new business models, and a shift in consumer spending. The result of these changes is felt by those who are providing contracted services. These companies will search for ways to decrease their losses; many will cut services provided by therapists who study ergonomics, telework, and quarantine effects.

Change in Employment

Therapists who lost their position because of COVID-19 can choose to apply the same suggestions they give to their clients. Using holistic based care can decrease stress, anxiety, or depression and give them a different perspective.

The loss of a job is a chance to review their career. Are there changes they would like to make to how they give client care? Is transition within their field possible? Can they use their skills in a different area?  Some therapy based jobs are:

  • Consultant
  • Editor
  • Writer
  • Online based information site

Other options can include leaving the field and starting a new career, taking on freelance, consulting, or part-time work.

Face-to-Face Sessions

The restrictions surrounding social distancing and in-office visits are also beginning to relax. As clients start scheduling appointments for in-office therapy sessions, therapists can feel some hesitation. During the pandemic, therapy with patients either continued with regular sessions, decreased frequency, or stopped. Resuming sessions face-to-face can create a feeling of renewing or starting over with clients. Also, interactions with clients via telehealth were a barrier to body language analysis. Therapists need to take the time necessary to feel comfortable with previous and new clients and relearn how to speak with a client by taking small steps to discuss issues with clients and discuss topics with colleagues. Everyone will readjust to face-to-face therapy on their own time.

COVID-19 changed the way people work, socialize, and spend money. Industries across the nation have shifted to meet the increased or decreased need for their services. The economy forced restructuring, furloughs, or layoffs that affected therapists in several different fields. While job loss affects everyone, it is also an opportunity to consider new adventures. Consider different types of career opportunities within the field of psychology or seek a new path. A job loss can compel a person to find passion in their career life.

Economic uncertainties and an increase in demands from work and family led to a rise in therapy appointments. However, the ramifications of COVID-19 felt throughout those in the field of therapy were also impacted. Many may have fallen into harmful coping behaviors, but they can implement healthy coping skills through mental health and substance addiction therapy. These skills can boost their self-confidence and encourage them to seek new opportunities. Changes in employment status are challenging, but they can also lead to the chance to follow a passion. Sometimes people lose sight of what they are interested in or enjoy because they are busy living day-to-day. With the guidance of those who nurture healthy lifestyle changes, it is possible to uncover themselves. Alta Centers can help guide you through your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Our medically-trained detox professionals will design a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. To learn more about reconnecting with yourself, call (888) 202-2583.

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