Telehealth for Couples and Families in Charlotte, NC

With the new stay-at-home order in place for Mecklenburg County, all of us are spending most of our days at home with no clear end in sight. Since kids are out of school, parents are coming up with unique ways to help their children cope and stay entertained while in isolation. Couples and families who live in the same household are finding themselves working from home and in the close vicinity of each other for hours and days at a time. In addition to our normal stressors, COVID-19 is provoking increased worry, stress, and anxiety in us, as we fret about the safety of ourselves and our families. Not to mention, we are beginning to go stir-crazy, and this is just the beginning.

How Can All This Time at Home Affect My Relationship?

Spending quality time together is important in sustaining a healthy relationship, but it can also be detrimental if under negative circumstances. Research shows that when couples are under a lot of external stress (such as that due to COVID-19), time spent together is less fulfilling and can put strain on the relationship (Milek, 2015). Stress is a huge factor in the success of romantic relationships, contributing to increased tension and arguments, and can ultimately lead to the ending of the relationship if not dealt with properly. The worst part about it? You may not even realize your relationship issues are stemming from external stress and attribute them to dissatisfaction with your romantic partner. (Falconier et al., 2019).

Be aware of these signs of stress/anxiety:

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances (trouble falling or staying asleep)
  • Racing thoughts
  • Feeling out of control
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Tightness in chest
  • Muscle tension
  • Forgetfulness

How Does Stress Affect My Family?

You may not be able to tell right away, but the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is most likely affecting other members of your family, too. Teens act as though they are invincible, but they feel stress just like adults do (APA, 2019). Stress in children can be especially hard to identify, because they might not know what they are feeling or are unable to express their emotions (Landreth, 2012). Psychological stress due to parental worries and serious life events, such as the coronavirus pandemic, has also been linked to decrease in immune responses in children (Carlsson et al., 2014).

What to look out for in your young kids and teens:

  • Acting increasingly irritable or moody
  • Sleeping or eating noticeably more or less than normal
  • Complaining about feeling sick (e.g. headaches, stomach aches)
  • Withdrawing from activities and/or peers they usually enjoy
  • Consistently acting out stressful event in their play (younger kids)
  • Expressing active hostility towards family members (teens)

How Can Thriveworks Help?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our daily lives, each and every one of us is striving to find ways to maintain our wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Thriveworks is here to tell you that you do not have to do it alone. In order to support our community, we are transitioning our services to telemental health, and this includes couples and family counseling. Or licensed professionals are here to help you, your family, and your relationship during this stressful time, and not just for issues stemming from COVID-19. Our counselors are adept at working with a variety of topics and concerns relating to family and couples.

What Are The Benefits Of Telemental Health?

Multiple studies have found telehealth to be beneficial and effective for couples and family counseling. In fact, many telehealth clients prefer remote counseling to in-person, because it removes some of the barriers often associated with going to therapy. Online counseling has been shown to reduce the stigma and reluctance some people face when considering therapy, and it removes the boundary of having to travel to a physical office. This is especially important for families or couples who live in different places, such as separated parents or family members who serve in the military.

How does it work?

Telehealth services are covered by most insurances and are compliant with HIPAA regulations. Remote counseling will be conducted via phone or video conferencing and is easy to do, even for those who are technologically-challenged. Your counselor will simply send a link to your email (or emails), which you would then click on to join the therapy session. Remember, the mental wellbeing of you and your family is just as important as your physical wellbeing in staying healthy. Schedule your session online, or give us a call today.

Written by Karola Richardson

Karola is a staff writer who is pursuing her Masters of Arts in Mental Health Counseling with Play Therapy Concentration

 

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

American Psychological Association. (2019, September 5). Identifying signs of stress in

your children and teens. http://www.apa.org/topics/stress-children

Carlsson, E., Frostell, A., Ludvigsson, J., Faresjö, M., & Carlsson, E. (2014).

Psychological stress in children may alter the immune response. Journal of

Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 192(5), 2071–2081. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1301713

Falconier, M.K., Nussbeck, F., Bodenmann, G., Schneider, H., & Bradbury, T. (2014).

Stress from daily hassles in couples: Its effects on intradyadic stress, relationship

satisfaction, and physical and psychological well-being. Journal of Marital and

Family Therapy (41)2, 1-15. DOI: 10.1111/jmft.12073

Landreth, G. (2012). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (3rd ed).

Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Milek, A. (2015). Spending time with one’s beloved ones: The interplay between

dimensions of shared time, external Stress, and couples’ relationship

functioning. (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281030459_Spending_Time_with_One’s_Beloved_Ones_The_Interplay_Between_Dimensions_of_Shared_Time_External_Stress_and_Couples’_Relationship_Functioning

Wrape, E., & Mcginn, M. (2019). Clinical and ethical considerations for delivering

couple and family therapy via telehealth. Journal of Marital and Family

Therapy, 45(2), 296–308. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12319

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