Coronavirus update: Turning to virtual therapy during COVID-19 crisis

Samantha Chatman (WLS) -- While many people are finding ways to manage the effects of COVID-19, others are finding it hard to cope with this new normal.

With so much uncertainty, local therapists are turning to technology to connect with their clients during this tough time.

Depression, anxiety and fear are the feelings some people may be experiencing while trying to manage life during the COVID-19 crisis. Some of may feel an overwhelming sense of isolation, but local therapist are here to remind you, you're far from alone.

At a time when some of us are feeling afraid and uncertain about what tomorrow will bring, local therapists like Chantelle Bittings say now more than ever, they have to be there for their clients.

"A lot of people are isolated," Bittings said. "This is a time that none of us have experienced."

And that's why Bittings and her colleagues are turning to virtual therapy, connecting with clients and checking in on their state of mind. She says virtual therapy is easy to navigate.

"We provide you with a secure link and at the time of the appointment you click on the link and boom, there we are, ready for your session," Bittings said.

She said the first therapy virtual session can be somewhat awkward at first, but over time, "My clients are kind of relaxed, kicked back on their bed or laying in their bed and they're just ready to talk."

Bittings says she's done virtual therapy sessions with people of all backgrounds, many of whom are afraid they'll get the virus. Others are feeling lonely.

She's even done virtual sessions with young children.

"We want to make sure that they're OK too," Bittings said. "They hear a lot of stuff in the news. They hear the reports. They hear their parents talking. They have the same type of worries: Will someone I love be infected with the virus? What does it mean for me?"

Her message to anyone dealing with depression, anxiety or fear is to:

-Try to get some fresh air at least once a day,

-Have a phone conversation or video chat with a loved one or close friends and discuss how you're feeling and how they're coping with the COVID 19 crisis,

-Try to exercise and get your body moving,

-And seek professional help if your emotions are becoming too heavy to bear.

Therapy is valuable for everyone," Bittles said. "If you're feeling anxious or depressed or your levels are through the roof right now...we're going to talk and help you find solutions."

According to goodtherapy.org, a therapy session can cost anywhere from $65-$250. But many insurance policies cover therapy so you could expect to pay much less.
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