The past two years have demanded flexibility, creativity, and compassion from counselors due to the emotional and mental trauma of the pandemic. Seemingly all therapists have had to make a shift in their counseling sessions due to the high demand as well as the shift in needs of patients. Many counselors are facing higher levels of burnout and compassion fatigue as they deal with the aftermath of the pandemic.
Due to therapists being at the forefront of the recovery process for many people, they are suffering from the consequences of having to take in a lot of trauma. Therapists are going through a unique experience post-pandemic and it’s time to highlight and reflect on some of these challenges as we come to almost two years after COVID-19.
The Pandemic Impact on the Demand of Therapy
Countless studies have portrayed the psychological impact that COVID-19 had and has continued to have on society. Studies have shown how some groups are more vulnerable or resilient than others, as well as how each group manages its own mental healthcare. Regardless of how each individual manages themselves, more and more people are seeking the help of a licensed professional to get them through these difficult times.
The Therapeutic Impact During the Pandemic
The year 2020 was difficult in many ways. As a nation, we were facing a worldwide pandemic, racial unrest, and social isolation all within the same year. In turn, requests for mental health appointments increased, to the point where there was more demand than supply. Many therapists were referring clients to others and increasing their work hours. Some retired clinicians started reentering the workforce to meet the needs of clientele.
Not only were therapists dealing with a higher demand for their services, they were also dealing with a myriad of emotional states that needed to be handled with delicacy. There was a rise in suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence due to the social isolation of the pandemic. So combining a busier schedule, dealing with clients’ increased trauma, and handling their own pandemic-related stresses can lead to feelings of burnout or compassion fatigue among mental health professionals.
The Therapeutic Impact After the Pandemic
The counseling landscape has changed drastically due to the impact of COVID-19. Therapists had to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, learn new skills and approaches to help their clients and cope with the new challenges of mental health. Not only is the landscape changing, but the client needs are changing as well.
Social cues are lost among teenagers not knowing how to socialize properly, marriages are falling apart, and family sessions are feelings disjointed with strained relationships. Technological devices are also proving to be a hindrance in social settings with teenagers and adults alike. Now more than ever, therapists are needing to share resources, offer valuable advice, and provide immense emotional support to their clients, and one another. Even though the past 2 years have been trifling, the mental healthcare community has learned so much and discovered new ways to effectively help society.
Source: Molly Smith (2023) Adapting to Adversity: What our Therapists Learned Through the Pandemic
Source: Zoe Read (2021) Its OK to Not be OK
Source: Nina Chamlou (2022) The Impact of COVID-29: Mental Healthcare Workers and the Future of Psychology