When it came time for us to name our psychology group practice, we had a long list of contenders (thank goodness we didn’t settle on Betterment Psychology or The Mindly Group). In the end, the obvious choice was Grand Central Psychology, as our office is located directly across the street from the iconic building in midtown Manhattan. The name reflected our central location in the world’s busiest city. It represented our clients, many of whom attend sessions after they get off the train on their way to work, during their lunch breaks from their midtown jobs, or on their way home after a long day. Grand Central Psychology was the obvious choice because it conjured up images of our clients having a respite from the relentless cacophony of Manhattan. Plus, we love the building’s beautiful ceiling and knew it would look great on our website.
And yet, now, Grand Central Psychology is a misnomer. For none of our clinicians are practicing at the intersection of 42nd and Madison. Instead, like most of America and most of the world, we are working from home. We are “seeing” our clients via teletherapy (videoconferencing and phone), as our planet is battling the Covid-19 pandemic. Our clients aren’t sitting on our couches but rather their own--or in some cases, their beds, their kitchen tables, their closets. It is a strange time to be doing therapy.
While we miss seeing our clients in person, we are so grateful that we are able to provide them with therapy, especially now. As we are all struggling with the uncertainty of today’s unprecedented circumstances, it is essential that we make mental health a priority. Global rates of depression and anxiety are at an all-time high due to isolation and fears about the direct and indirect effects of the Covid-19 virus. Clients are worried about their health and the health of their loved ones, they are accommodating to the new normal of working from home and homeschooling their children, and they are concerned about the economic impact of this pandemic.
There has never been more of a need for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a symptom-focused, goal-oriented treatment that helps clients deal with the here and now. Decades of research have shown CBT to be the most effective orientation for helping clients learn coping mechanisms to deal with a wide range of issues. For more information about CBT, please refer to our website’s section on this topic. We will also expand more on the ins-and-outs of cognitive behavioral therapy in a future blog post.
We are so proud of how our clients are utilizing their CBT skills to cope with today’s crisis. In fact, several of our clients have told us that, in many ways, they feel better prepared to deal with today’s challenges because they already have the CBT skills in place to manage their symptoms at this challenging time. One of our clients even said that she is helping her friends who don’t typically struggle with anxiety, by teaching them what she has learned in therapy.
We won’t lie--we miss seeing our clients in person. We miss opening our doors and letting our clients into our offices. We miss the face-to-face interaction. And yet, we also see that there are real benefits of teletherapy. Of course the most obvious benefit is that it is much easier to coordinate schedules; we no longer have to compete with long commutes, after-school activities, and all of the other scheduling conflicts of “normal” life. More importantly, from a clinical perspective, therapy sessions from one’s home allow for some in vivo (real world) exposure. For example, a client with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can do exposures with anxiety-provoking stimuli around his or her house that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do in an office setting. While we are sheltering in place, we are appreciating the opportunity to take advantage of this new way of doing therapy.
But it’s not just our existing clients who are utilizing teletherapy at this time. Over the past several weeks, a number of new clients have started therapy with Grand Central Psychology. These individuals have recognized the need to prioritize their mental health at a time when they are feeling scared, sad, isolated, and out-of-control. They are learning new tools to cope with their “new normal” and to effectively manage these unprecedented times. All without ever having to leave their couch.
If you are interested in learning more about teletherapy, we are more than happy to answer any of your questions by offering free phone consultations at 212 696 1355.
It’s a strange time to be doing therapy. And certainly a strange time to start a blog. But we hope to utilize this platform to let you know more about our practice and the ways in which we treat our clients, even remotely. We welcome your comments below and look forward to hearing from you. And hopefully one day soon, we will see you across the street from Grand Central!