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  • Writer's pictureMariana Chavez

Can psychotherapy help me when I'm stressed during a crisis?

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Many of us wonder if things would just go back to normal once a crisis is over. Many of us do not respond in times of crises the same way we do when things are stable and predictable. At this time we are facing a worldwide pandemic like COVID-19, all of sudden all of our lives are changed! Kids can't go to school, our work hours are reduced, or we are working more than ever if our jobs are in demand to address the crisis, we can't engage in regular activities that bring balance and joy to our lives like socializing, or participating in activities outside our home, added to increased awareness of social space, hygiene to a maximum capacity, worries of food and essentials scarcity, and new and media covering the dark realities of death and sickness close and far from us.

So, can psychotherapy really assist me at a time like this? Psychotherapy can indeed be helpful in helping us navigate, understand and channel difficult but natural responses and emotions associated with a crisis, such as excessive fear and anxiety. Emotions which usually would lead us to denial, counter-productive behaviors, or obsessiveness. Some of us experience the difficulty internally and others experience it more noticeably in reactivity and intensity in our relationships. Of course many experience it both ways. Psychotherapy can help in recognizing and practicing strategies not only for coping but healing.

Finding mastery in navigating intense feelings such as fear and anxiety is the doorway to our more creative, rational and socially capable selves, waiting to resurface despite and in some cases because of a crisis. Additionally, once we are able to feel more like ourselves while navigating a crisis situation, an increased feeling of mastery, can help us regain perspective, prioritize, plan, and reconnect with others to the best of our capacity, resources and environment.

It's important to note that the intensity of emotions experienced during a crisis can pose more severe for some of us that might have already been struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety or the aftermath of traumatic experiences. However this in most cases, is an indicator that professional help has been postponed and should be considered to help with alleviating symptoms and conflict resolution in our relationships. After all healing and health are never the absence or fear, anxiety or even depression but rather the increased capacity to trust our in our inner strength, our capacity to ask for help, and the capacity to waiver ourselves and others from excessive judgment and criticism.

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