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Outsource Your Stress to a Therapist During COVID

COVID represents a challenging time. Outsource your stress to a professional.

Key points

  • Our homes have become fishbowls (closed systems). What we bring to our fishbowl is what we bathe in.
  • A therapist is a professional outside of your fishbowl (outside your system) who is paid to help you process stress and negative emotions.
  • Your health insurance company will pay for your stress outsourcing because it will inevitably save them money when you're healthier and happier.
  • Your records remain legally confidential with a therapist.

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this stressful time.

We're all cramped up in our homes with the same people day in and day out. There are very real stressors added to the simplest tasks like grocery shopping or going to work. We're isolated from friends, family, restaurants, and enjoyable diversions.

Our homes have become fishbowls (closed systems). What we bring to our fishbowl is what we bathe in. If we're bringing frustration, fear, or resentment, that's what we're going to soak in. If we bring warmth, positivity, humor, connection, support, and love, that is what we'll absorb.

There are a lot of negative emotions right now as a result of overwhelming stress. If we don't process these emotions, they'll stay in our fishbowls. Daily routines like exercise, journaling, meditation, nature walks, Epsom salt baths, etc. can help to manage these emotions, but what processes stress most powerfully for social animals like humans is talking.

Your partner is a great person to help you do this, but they're in your fish bowl with you. Friends are great to talk to virtually, but a healthy friendship is an exchange, and you'll be helping them with their negative emotions as well which may partially bleed into your tank.

Outsourcing your stress to a therapist offers the most powerful stress-reducing option due to the fact that they are legally required to keep your secrets, they do not add any of their own stress to your system, and they know how to process your stress professionally so it doesn't build.

A therapist is a professional outside of your fishbowl (outside your system) who is paid to help you process stress and negative emotions. They have no other role in your life other than as your therapist. Therapist codes of ethics prohibit "dual relationships" (NASW Code of Ethics 1.06c), giving you an objective unbiased perspective.

Therapists are legally bound to keep your secrets so long as you don't pose a threat of harm to yourself or someone else.

Your records remain legally confidential forever, even after death (NASW Code of Ethics 1.07w).

Therapists provide all of these wonderful aspects of a one-sided friendship because it is a professional relationship. The best part is that your insurance company will pay for your stress outsourcing because it will inevitably save them money when you're healthier and happier. Say what you will about health insurance companies, but they are financially motivated to find the most efficient methods for keeping you healthy. That is how powerful therapy is for your health and happiness.

Coaching is very similar to therapy. I use coaching tools in my own practice, but coaching is different than therapy. I will elaborate on the differences in a future article, but you can get the best of both when you can find a therapist who integrates the strengths of a coaching perspective into their practice of therapy, giving you the confidentiality guarantee and medical perspective of therapy alongside the transformative power of coaching while practiced in a safe space where even trauma can be processed.

Why isn't everyone already seeing a therapist?

1. Traditional social stigma: Americans have always been a people that strive to "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps" (though this saying is actually satirical, as pulling yourself up by bootstraps is a physical impossibility).

Like "bootstrapping," the idea that hiring a professional to process your stress is a sign of weakness is ridiculous, if you actually think about it.

Are you too weak to fix your own teeth if you go to a dentist, cook your own food if you go to a restaurant, do your taxes if you go to an accountant, or handle your legal matters if you go to a lawyer?

2. Bad therapist match: The other major reason that not everybody sees a therapist is that they try one, two, or three therapists and then give up. Even the best therapists won't match with everyone. It can take time to find a good match for you. Like any other service, you should shop around for the best match.

I hope that if you are feeling life stress, or stress as a result of COVID, this article has convinced you to try outsourcing your stress to a therapist. Many will offer free consultations, and even those who don't are worth the co-pay for the opportunity to revolutionize your health and happiness.

Check Psychology Today’s directory of therapists for a professional near you.