As the coronavirus outbreak continues, many people may be interested in looking to therapy to help ease stress and anxiety, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Dr. Jen Hartstein, Yahoo Lifestyle Mental Health Contributor and practicing psychologist in New York City, wants people to know they’re not alone and that there are resources out there for those seeking help. “It is very normal for everyone to be feeling depressed, anxious, hopeless, confused — there are so many emotions right now,” she says. “We’re all on an emotional rollercoaster together, so we’ve just got to ride it,” she adds.
If you don’t know where to begin, Dr. Hartstein reveals there are many resources available to people seeking out a therapist. “Finding a therapist can be very daunting and can be a very challenging prospect, but it’s important to kind of think about it like you might be finding a doctor,” she says. She suggests asking friends who you think might be in therapy for a recommendation, calling your primary care physician for a referral or consulting websites like Psychology Today.
Since in-person therapy isn’t an option for most right now, Dr. Hartstein says virtual therapy can be a great tool. “We’re all doing teletherapy,” she says. “Teletherapy can be just as effective as in-person,” she adds. Dr. Hartstein also wants people to know that speaking with a therapist can be more affordable than they might think. “May insurance companies do cover therapy,” she says. “At different times, people offer sliding fees. If you are really in a situation where financially you don’t have the money ask them what their sliding fee scale is and they might be able to provide you a reduced rate,” she adds.
Dr. Hartstein says that “therapy can be helpful at any point, but really during a crisis, it can be incredibly helpful because we don’t really know what to do with these feelings and very often we’re so busy that we’re not allowing ourselves to drop in and be in our feelings, so here’s an opportunity to explore it, understand it, problem-solve it.”