It's the first thing that springs to mind when you think of psychological therapy: a patient reclining on a couch in their shrink’s office, unburdening themselves of all their problems
But that was pre-Covid. Now if there’s a couch in the equation, the patient will more than likely be lying on it in their own home as they connect with their therapist via Zoom or some other video-conferencing platform.
But they could just as easily be sitting in a nice shady spot in their garden or lying in bed or relaxing at their desk, taking a break from work while they check-in with their counsellor remotely.
Just as the pandemic has altered the way we work, school our kids and communicate with family, it’s also brought about drastic changes in the way people interact with their therapists and other medical practitioners.
Many psychologists previously resisted offering teletherapy, as it’s known, because they thought the technology might get in the way and stop clients from opening up.
But as the pandemic swept the globe, people needed their therapy sessions more than ever as they tried to make sense of our radically changing world. And as the disease continues to pose a risk, online therapy remains the safest option.
“In the past, I was reluctant to offer online sessions as I assumed they wouldn’t be as effective, but my experience has proven otherwise,” says Dr Rakhi Beekrum, a counselling psychologist from Durban, who started consulting via Zoom at the beginning of lockdown.
She says patients are more relaxed and focused in their own environments, making it easier for them to dig deep and do the work.
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1 October 2020