Online Therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic

July 30, 2020

Are you feeling more stressed or isolated?

All our lives have changed dramatically in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Everything from our health services, to our food shopping, to our day to day living has been affected. As well as this, with social distancing and self-isolation in practice, it is unsurprising that this is having an impact on our mental health. The underlying stress that the pandemic has caused may not even be obvious to you, but it can impact our lives in many ways. Therefore, access to online therapy services are now essential.

Accessing online therapy

Privacy

Find a quiet, private space where you can close the door and not be overheard. Sometimes this is difficult in busy households with children off school or shared accommodation. Online therapy sessions can often be flexibly timed, to suit your needs and circumstances.

Wearing headphones is also recommended to block out any background noise and the voice of the therapist. A useful tip is removing or muting notifications that may distract you whilst on using the computer or laptop for online therapy.

Treat online therapy like a face-to-face session

It might feel strange speaking via video conferencing at first. Make sure you are comfortable, feeling awake and fresh. Distractions are often unavoidable, but try to reduce them as much as possible.

Try not to hold back. It can feel different to when you are sitting in the same room as a therapist. Some people may find the computer a barrier in the beginning, but get used to the change and can freely process their feelings and thoughts. Other people enjoy the fact that they are not sitting so close to the therapist and can often find they are more inclined to open up that way.

If you are staying home more at this time, perhaps working at home, you might be feeling isolated from people. Working with a therapist online can actually be a helpful way to stay connected with the world.

Your therapist is there to help, support and will help you through the process, so you can discuss any feelings of vulnerability.

Current Practice at Insight Counselling Brighton and Hove

Claire at Insight Counselling Brighton and Hove is choosing to continue to work online with clients, instead of returning to face to face therapy for the foreseeable future. This allows:

  • Counselling and therapy sessions in the comfort of your own home
  • Flexibility – no need to travel. This is helpful if you’re self-isolating
  • Day time and evening sessions are available

For more information on our online therapy, don’t hesitate to get in touch using the contact page or by emailing info@insightcounsellingbrighton.co.uk

Now is the time to get the online support you need.

If you are still unsure about whether now is the right time to contact a therapist, take a look at the article on this site: When is the Right Time to See a Counsellor – for further information about the therapeutic process.

Mental health apps – daily tools for stress and anxiety

August 22, 2017

Are you the kind of person who uses their mobile phone to organise, keep notes, sync calendars and even check step count? You might find using a mobile phone app to support your mental health journey could also be beneficial.

Mental Health Apps

There are lots of different types of apps that you could try. At Insight Counselling, the mental health app Pacifica has been trialled over the last six months with some really good results. Clients find it easy to use, helpful to record moods and feelings and to carry out CBT thought experiments. There are also audio mindfulness meditations and self-help CBT advice.

It’s free unless you wish to delve deeper, so worth taking a look.

How can therapy help me with my anxiety?

February 25, 2017

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Anxiety is a word that gets thrown around a lot and can mean different things to different people. Essentially, it’s used to describe feeling uneasy, worried and afraid and the mental and physical effects this can cause. For example, before sitting an exam it’s natural to feel scared, worried, sick, have stomach cramps, etc.

So when does anxiety stop being a natural response to a stressful event and turn into something more significant?

Anxiety is caused by the ‘fight or flight response’. A normal biological reaction to when we feel threatened, and something that has been with us since the dawn of man. When your body feels under threat it automatically releases hormones that physically prepare you to fight the danger, or run away from it.

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Although we don’t have much use for the fight or flight response anymore – we’re unlikely to be charged at by a woolly mammoth any time soon, our biological reactions to it remains.


Anxiety becomes a problem when the fight or flight response stays switched on and the physical and mental symptoms have an impact on your quality of life.

Long term anxiety can be extremely difficult, and is often experienced alongside other illnesses such as depression and chronic pain. One of the key difficulties is that anxiety can lead to you feeling trapped within a ‘vicious circle’. When you’re feeling low and run down you tend to avoid activity because you don’t have the energy for it, or just can’t muster the motivation. This can lead to you feeling guilty and that you haven’t achieved as much as the ‘healthy’ you would have – you don’t feel like the person you used to be anymore. This makes you feel worse and you avoid more activity and you seem stuck in this never ending circle.

As anxiety can affect your health and wellbeing in numerous ways it is important to figure out the causes and find a way of resolving the anxiety whilst managing the symptoms. Although self-help and medication are useful in reducing symptoms, research has shown that therapy is usually the most effective option when it comes to treating anxiety.

Therapy looks at the causes of triggers and any underlying issues that might aggravate it rather than just treating the symptoms.
One starting point to be used in combination with other therapeutic approaches is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT uses the basis that it’s the way you think and react to a situation that’s causing the anxiety, rather than the situation itself. CBT challenges the way you think in a process called ‘cognitive restructuring’.

It’s a three step process that involves:

  1. Identifying the negative thought processes
  2. Challenging the negative thoughts
  3. Replacing the negative thoughts with realistic thoughts

CBT may also include learning to recognise when you’re anxious and what that feels like for you – often there are some signs that anxiety is going to kick in that when you learn to recognise what they feel like, can help you prevent the anxiety from kicking in.

Therapy gives you the tools to be able to manage the symptoms of anxiety and employ coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques to lessen its impact on you and your life.

Whilst self-help alone may not be effective in treating your anxiety, it is useful when combined with therapy. From writing a journal or diary to help figure out patterns of thinking, or even identifying triggers; through to mindfulness and breathing exercises that can help you through a panic attack. For some great tips and ideas for self-help visit the Mind website


CBT is best used as a ‘holding approach’– it’s useful for managing the anxiety and lessen its impact with a supportive counsellor guiding you through and challenging the negative thinking, but often there are deep rooted issues causing or aggravating your anxiety. So in the long term, it’s important that these issues are resolved through exploration and discussion with an experienced counsellor.

There are various kinds of therapeutic approaches that can be used to discover these causes which are tailored to your needs, problems and requirements ensuring that you get what you really need out of therapy.

room3Having an open mind is important when starting therapy as the process can be a difficult one with long-term thoughts that have to be challenged and adjusted. However, it is effective in treating anxiety and can mean the difference between coping with your anxiety and living your life how you want to.

Claire ScottFor a more in-depth discussion about how therapy can help you contact Claire at claire@insightcounsellingbrighton.co.uk to arrange your initial consultation.
Due to the Covid19 pandemic, Claire is currently working online. If you are curious about online therapy, take a look at the Online Therapy blog here.

In the meantime, check out these YouTube videos that you may find useful.