With Covid restriction easing, many states are letting people back into the offices. Below I answer some frequent questions about returning to in-person therapy.
What are the pros to returning to in-person therapy after months of doing teletherapy appointments?
It gives you a safe place to go to where you can start to re-adjust to the outside environment again.
It’s also likely that the office will have a smaller number of people that you’ll have to interact with comparability if you were to go to a public restaurant.
Easing back into things is okay and very healthy. It gives your mind and body time to adjust so you don’t feel too emotionally overwhelmed and physically distressed. It’s a gradual way to learn how to regulate yourself again to help prevent you from getting overstimulated. It’s similar to exercise. If your body is used to working out then you may not feel as sore afterward; however, if it’s been months or years since your last workout, your stamina will be lower and your body might be pretty sore the next day. It will take time to get back to a comfortable place but it’s very possible.
What about returning to therapy if you put it on pause during the pandemic in general and didn’t do teletherapy?
I’m sure you’ll have a lot to catch up on. This would be a good time to reflect.
- Wer there things you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
- Were there certain coping strategies that worked better than others?
- Did you notice any new thinking patterns?
It may also be good to go over your counseling goals to make sure they are still meeting your needs as things may have changed during your break from therapy.
How to see your therapist for the first time in person without it being awkward?
Treat it no differently than any other appointment.
Whether you’re meeting in person or online, the format of the appointment should remain similar.
I do suggest arriving 15-30 minutes early to your appointment to give yourself some time to reacclimate to the office environment.
You can also talk to your therapist beforehand if you have any concerns, so you feel more prepared upon return.
Is it OK to stay remote?
Absolutely! If it means you’ll continue with therapy, this is 100% okay and you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.
You should do what feels most safe and comfortable for you.
If you continue to find your sessions to be effective in meeting your goals, then you are doing the right thing.
How to ask your therapist if you can stay remote if you want to?
It’s completely okay to stay remote. Simply say that you’d prefer to continue meeting your therapist online.
You can do this during a session or email them ahead of time.
Most therapists shouldn’t have a problem working around your preferences and needs if it means that it will help you in your therapeutic process.
Of course, there may be some exceptions to this as some counseling styles and modalities will work better in person.
Why is it a good idea now – why it’s good to continue on if you have been going remotely and why it’s a good idea to start right now (or start back up) if you haven’t been going.
It’s always beneficial to have check-ins.
Too often do we overschedule ourselves, leaving no time to reflect.
Attending therapy builds this act of self-care into your structure. This can help you with instilling healthier personal boundaries.
Taking the time to check in with yourself emotionally is just as important as taking care of your body. It’s just as important as feeding yourself and your family.
It’s just as important as getting enough sleep.
The best part is that your work doesn’t just stop after your session is over.
You can take what you learned about yourself and apply it to your real life, continuing to become increasingly aware of just how your thoughts affect your behavior and emotions.
How to find a therapist right now (especially given that demand is so high), etc.
Psychology Today has been a reliable source.
When reaching out to a therapist, I would even ask the therapist for a referral if they were not accepting new clients. You just never know.
I would also recommend asking to be added to a waitlist if that’s an option.
This could be an effective way to get comfortable with talk therapy, especially if you are a complete newbie to therapy.
Anything else to know about returning to in-person therapy or therapy in a pandemic in general?
You can always go back to doing therapy remotely if you find in-person therapy to be too triggering for you now.
I suggest gradually shifting back if you struggle with change.
Knowing that you have the option to meet both in-person and online can take some of the pressure away from having to commit to a permanent decision without you really knowing how you feel about returning to in-person long term.