by Douglas L. Anderson, PsyD,
We are living in an unusual time unlike what any of us have seen in our lifetimes. COVID-19 has become a menace that is disrupting our lives and fundamentally changing how we experience the world. We are being encouraged to stay home if at all possible, to keep at least six feet between us and others, and to wash our hands a lot! We have been told that to effectively slow down the spread and “flatten the curve” we will need near total cooperation from the public.
That’s not how we normally function. Our culture, broadly speaking, promotes a strong independent spirit that is not inclined toward being told what to do. But the message from our key medical minds and from our political structures is consistent and calls on us to respond cooperatively. We are in a moment that calls on us to be unendingly considerate of the other person – the colleague, friends, neighbors, and in particular those who are at risk from this virus. We are asked to act in certain ways for the sake of others so that we can reduce the speed of spread and thus have the capacity to meet the medical needs of those who will need such services.
The result of all of this is that we are appropriately anxious. If someone tells you to “calm down,” you are encouraged to tell them to leave you alone. Especially if the person telling you that is your therapist. Go ahead and smile, chuckle even. Here’s the deal. Some things in life naturally cause us to become anxious. You could say that we have the reasonable right to be a bit afraid and anxious at a time when something we can’t see is having its way with our population, impacting our economic, physical, and relational lives.
Human beings have a characteristic that seems to be particularly apparent in places like rural South Dakota. We find ways to adapt. We find a way forward in the midst of all sorts of difficult situations. We find ways to thrive.
However, some of us are more vulnerable to anxiety and depression because of a mix of family of origin issues, histories of traumatic experiences, and brain chemistry. Just as some in our population are more vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 due to medical issues and advanced age, so some in our population are more vulnerable to the psychological impact of COVID-19 due to other kinds of personal issues.
If you fit in that group, and many of us do, know that telemental health (psychotherapy provided online using a video application that is secure and protects your confidentiality) services are available through River Counseling and Sioux Falls Psychological Services. Our team has been using telemental health as an option for some of our clients for a few years now. But COVID-19 has pushed us to accomplish in two weeks what would have happened naturally over a couple of years. And your insurance provider very likely now covers these services. Some providers, in fact, are actually covering even the copayment for psychotherapy provided in this way. And many are even covering psychotherapy provided by phone calls for those who lack internet service or who may lack adequate bandwidth for the video portion. They know it is in our best interest to meet the psychological and relationship needs of our communities in any way we can while protecting people from the spread of COVID-19.
The days and weeks ahead will have plenty of challenge in them, and this could result in increased levels of anxiety and depression, as well as increased relationship difficulties. Let River Counseling and Sioux Falls Psychological Services assist you without you ever needing to leave your home. We will get through this together.
River Counseling Services are here to meet you where you are offering hope. You may schedule an appointment in the Platte office, or meet with one of our Sioux Falls Psychological Services therapists from your own computer, smart phone, or over the computer in the Platte office. To schedule your appointment call 605-337-3444.