5 Steps You Can Take to Support a Loved One Attending Counseling

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
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Supporting a loved one attending counseling

Navigating how to best support a loved one who is struggling with mental health challenges can be a difficult experience in itself. If a friend or family member has confided in you about his or her decision to attend mental health counseling, it can be tricky to know how to help while prioritizing their privacy. If you’re wondering how to best support a loved one through mental health counseling, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Congratulate your friend on admitting they need help

Going to counseling is no walk in the park. The self-assessment required to begin counseling as well as the actual process of getting started can be intimidating. Your loved one will have likely faced stigma, prejudices and hesitation in arriving at their decision to attend mental health counseling. In addition to applauding your friend’s participation in counseling, make sure to thank them for sharing. Keeping open communication about counseling can be a major support to your loved one. If you’re struggling with the right words, try “I may not always know how to feel or respond, but I think it’s brave of you to talk about your counseling and want you to know I’m here to listen.”

2. Support the treatment plan they choose

As your loved one is open about attending counseling, ask about his or her goals for treatment. These can be personal goals or part of a designated treatment plan. Research shows that support systems can bolster the positive impact on mental health interventions, so being aware of the end goal can allow you to offer the best encouragement. Don’t force your friend or family member into sharing details of counseling against their will, but instead simply take the time to familiarize yourself with any details they choose to share. He or she will feel affirmed by your interest in helping.

One of the most helpful resources you can offer is time. Simply being available for that healthy external processing can work wonders. Schedule a weekly walk or a phone call and expect to listen. Establishing a pattern of sharing emotions and experiences will be beneficial for both of you.

3. Familiarize yourself with helpful mental health resources

In general, it’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with available mental health resources, both local and online mental health channels. Read psychology resources and articles about treatment options or find mindfulness activities you can participate in together. A small investment of time will make your loved one feel incredibly supported. There are also a wide variety of valuable mental health resources online, as well as mobile applications perfect for smartphones, that can help both you and your loved one navigate the thoughts and feelings you’re currently experiencing.

4. Knowing your role

As a support person, you are not a therapist, a life coach, a psychiatrist, a doctor or a counselor. Your role as a support person is crucial and unique, but limited like every other role. You cannot diagnose your friend, in the same way a doctor can’t surprise your friend with ice cream on a tough day.

Your friend likely values your opinion highly, and may make important decisions based on what you say. Use discretion in offering advice or suggestions. As a friend, your main job is to listen. Instead of giving your opinion on a medication change, ask “how do you feel since you switched medications?” or “what changes have you noticed?” Picture yourself as a sounding board, and allow that time and space for your friend to share in the confidence of your company.

5. Ask for help

Having a friend or family member struggle with mental health issues can feel like a secret burden. Often this love and care that we show to others can take a toll on our own lives. Supporting someone in this way can put a strain on our finances, relationships, time and emotional energy. 

The devotion required to support a loved one struggling with mental health can be overwhelming. There is no shame in acknowledging this predicament, and even discussing it with your loved one. Typically, it is an indication that more intensive or frequent counseling is necessary and you’ll be helping your friend by bringing it up. The awkwardness of the conversation will be worth it. 

Likewise, do not be afraid to seek counseling for yourself through Pyramid Online Counseling if the emotional toll is persistent. You’re best suited to help others if you’re taking care of your own mental health, too. We’re available at (833) 525-3077; you can also fill out our streamlined contact form and a licensed healthcare professional will reach out to help you work through next steps.

Supporting your friend or family member through mental health counseling is a selfless role. As your loved one embraces mental health treatment, there are likely to be ups and downs. Remembering to affirm, listen and equip yourself with knowledge and resources helpful to sustain your emotional fortitude, and always be honest with yourself about your bandwidth to shoulder the burden alongside your loved one. In the meantime, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Your loved one is lucky to have someone like you on their team.

Online Counseling: Clearing Up the Myths

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
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online counseling myths

Online counseling may not be new to the world, but it may be new to you. Starting counseling itself can be a huge hurdle, full of its own fears and anxieties. Adding the virtual layer to therapy, especially if you’re not tech-savvy, can seem daunting. Voicing those fears and addressing concerns is the first step to becoming comfortable with the online counseling process, and receiving the help you’re looking for.

Circumstances such as the coronavirus pandemic require that accommodations be made to protect our mental and physical health. Additionally, some lifestyles and careers are not compatible with traditional counseling. Online counseling can serve as a viable, even preferred therapy option, offering clients both flexibility and comfort not typical of in-person counseling.

During this time, online counseling is truly a blessing and an incredible service that providers are able to offer. Advances in technology have made it possible at perhaps the most opportune time to take advantage of this more accessible service. Your therapist can address any questions or concerns that might be raised during the process.

You’re likely to come across a wide variety of opinions and information on the internet regarding online counseling. We’ve also taken the time to address some of the most popular online counseling myths below:

Myth 1: Online counseling never takes my insurance

We make it a priority to accept a wide variety of insurance providers. As we outline on our website, we accept over a dozen different types of insurance, as well as Medical Assistance. Also, Pyramid Online Counseling will work with your union or Employee Assistance Program to get you the counseling you need. Any questions about insurance can also be discussed over the phone.

Myth 2: Online counselors aren’t licensed

There is a caveat to this myth: some online counselors are not licensed. Depending on how you come across your provider, you may stumble upon a site that offers counseling with certified or licensed professionals working behind the screen. However, the team that makes up Pyramid Online Counseling is exclusively composed of board-certified and board-eligible professionals, psychologists and therapists. Therapy through Pyramid Online Counseling is the licensed, professional option no matter your individual healthcare professional.

If you have hesitations or questions, keep asking. You have the ability to enquire about your counselor’s credentials even before you begin regular sessions. If you’d rather wait until a session to raise the question, your counselor would be happy to share about her education, licensing, endorsements, training or specialties. Chances are you’ll be impressed by the vast experience and expertise of the professionals within Pyramid Online Counseling.

Myth 3: Online counseling isn’t confidential

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, more commonly known as HIPAA, is a federal act that mandates all healthcare providers abide by standards of privacy and protection on behalf of client information. Pyramid Online Counseling is HIPAA-compliant, meaning that all of the services offered are created and sustained in a way that prioritizes patient privacy and confidentiality. Everything you share in counseling is private information, ensuring online therapy is upheld to the same standards as traditional in-person counseling.

Myth 4: Online counseling isn’t secure because it happens online

In the same way that confidentiality is prioritized by Pyramid Online Counseling, you can expect that your security while engaging in online therapy services is something that has already been considered and protected to the fullest extent. Pyramid Online Counseling utilizes an encrypted software platform to ensure that sessions with your therapist are guarded. Your personal demographic and health information, as well as the content of your sessions, will never be shared outside of the organization without your permission.

Myth 5: Online counseling isn’t as effective as in-person services

Rest assured, the quality and integrity of your counseling will not be diminished because of the remote platform. There are changes surely, and adaptations are required. Instead of finding parking, you’ll be double checking your wifi. Rather than the commute to your practitioner’s office, you’ll be charging your device before your session. Although you won’t be going into an office for a session, remember that body language and non-verbal communication will help your counselor to address your concerns, so keep your camera on so your counselor can pick up on those cues.

Pursue recovery today through online counseling

Though online counseling comes with its own benefits and challenges, the structure and content of your sessions is likely to remain the same. The conversations you have with your therapist come with all of the same expertise and professionalism that is available in the office, but it is delivered to you in the comfort of your own home. Once you become accustomed to the new system of logging on instead of meeting in an office, you may even find that you prefer online counseling.
If you’re ready to take steps toward a better you, Pyramid Online Counseling is ready to help. Call (833) 525-3077 or reach out today to put remote healthcare to work for you.