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The Silver Lining of Telehealth for Complex Families

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
01/11/21  8:00 AM PST

Yesterday I set new goals with my therapist. For the first time since I became a parent, I am consistently able to go to counseling. The “go” part is the catch, my counseling is telemedicine.

I’ve started counseling several times, but every time I get into a good groove life gets chaotic with a medical or behavioral situation, and I end up missing appointments. Then it seems to take several weeks to get back in, and before I know it I’m in a vicious cycle of finally getting around to scheduling the counseling, making a session or two, and canceling the next few sessions, repeating the cycle until I give up. How effective is therapy if it’s that stressful to arrange it?

I want and need counseling. I often find that anxiety is my copilot, robbing me of sleep and peace of mind. Having a safe person to remind me how to talk myself down when I’m getting wound up, brainstorms coping skills with me, and can be on the receiving end of a good vent is life-changing. I had started counseling on several previous occasions, only to fall right off the wagon when life went into high gear, so having the counselor on my computer or phone screen is a key to keep it going. I’ve looked into apps, but our insurance didn’t participate, and paying out of pocket isn’t affordable long term.

It’s no coincidence that doing something necessary for me, something I work on prioritizing in counseling, is the first thing to fall away when life gets bumpy, and that’s exactly why it’s so crucial for me to keep it up. Some days the best thing in the world I can do for myself is to give my kids their screens and take 45 minutes to talk to another adult, and telehealth counseling is making that happen. I have my therapy sessions planned out, and because my kids have telehealth options for so many of their appointments, it’s far easier for me to fit in while juggling everything else.

While many things with the novel Coronavirus have been rough and even just plain awful, the silver linings are there, and telehealth access is a big one for my family. We’ve increased the ease of healthcare access, reduced expense, and put it all right into our living rooms. These are changes I’ve requested for years and I hope they stick around. Although it took a pandemic to get these modes fully operational, I think the effectiveness and ease of use will keep them around for the foreseeable future, and I’m here for it.

inclusion on the playground
Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.
Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom
Follow her on Facebook


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