Beyond Worry: How Therapy Can Help You Overcome Anxiety

Your body is remarkable in its ability to “sound the alarm” when you’re in danger. Your muscles tense, your breathing quickens, and your heart pounds. It’s the well-documented cascade of hormonal and physiological changes known as “fight or flight.” This complex response evolved as a survival mechanism, allowing us to quickly react to life-threatening situations, like encountering a hungry bear.

In today’s world, we may not be fighting or fleeing predators in the wilderness, but we may still find ourselves in plenty of situations that are dangerous, stressful, or frightening. Driving behind a car that comes to a sudden stop or walking alone on a dark street, for example, may trigger the fight-or-flight response. It’s your body’s way of helping you protect yourself.

But what happens when you can’t seem to put the brakes on your body’s reaction to what you fear? When routine events, such as meeting with a difficult supervisor or boarding a flight, regularly activate the danger center in your brain, you could be experiencing anxiety. And, since anxiety disorders are the nation’s most common mental health concern, you are certainly not alone.

Anxiety and fear are not one in the same.

Although they are similar, there are ways to distinguish between anxiety and fear. While everyone feels fearful from time to time, fear occurs when there is actual danger present. Anxiety, on the other hand, is when your body reacts as though danger is present. It’s a response to a feeling of perceived danger.

You may not be aware that the root cause of anxiety can be traced back to your childhood attachments. Seeking individual therapy can help you examine the learned behaviors that developed over time and contribute to your anxiety. In order to have an attachment with your caregivers, for instance, you may have learned to hide your feelings as a child. Or, having a separate mind may not have been tolerated by your parents.

As you grow into adulthood, the activation patterns of anxiety are triggered by certain scenarios or memories, or by feelings or impulses you learned when you were young. Those patterns become encoded in your procedural memory the same way brushing your teeth becomes encoded. In other words, you do it without thinking about it until it becomes detrimental to your life.

That could mean that perceived “dangers,” such as sharing your feelings with a romantic partner or speaking up during a staff meeting, may stir up unwelcome impulses originating in childhood and trigger the fight-or-flight response. A good therapist can work with you to identify the anxiety triggers in your life, many of which you may not be aware.

Are you living with the symptoms of anxiety?

Once the physiological activation pattern of anxiety begins in your brain, a host of physical symptoms affect your body. These symptoms, which arise very quickly after your autonomic nervous system sends a distress signal, can include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurry or tunnel vision
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Tension headaches or migraines
  • Brain fog
  • Muscle tension or slackness
  • Upset stomach
  • Hyperawareness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pains or cramps

Paying attention to these symptoms and becoming familiar with how your body reacts to anxiety can go a long way toward helping you cope.

Effective treatment for anxiety is available.

If you’ve experienced chronic anxiety for many years, you may not realize how it’s affecting your body. You may disregard it, thinking you’re simply a nervous person or one who naturally worries more than others. You may even wonder, “Does anxiety go away if you ignore it?” However, your symptoms should be taken seriously because, left untreated, they almost always worsen over time.

The effects of anxiety on the brain and body can be harmful, often leading to serious stomach problems and a host of other ailments. The good news is that you can live a mostly anxiety-free life when you work with a therapist to address its root causes, whether or not you’re currently taking anxiety medication.

Other helpful tools for alleviating anxiety:

  • Try reciting self-affirmations for anxiety, including telling yourself, “I’m safe; I’m not under any threat.”
  • Recognize the symptoms and signs that tell you you’re anxious (Do you ruminate? Do you obsess? Do you try to avoid something?).
  • Notice the connection between when your anxiety and the actions it causes you to take.
  • Show love for yourself by noticing that you’re anxious and not blaming yourself for it.
  • Be aware of your triggers and the feelings or impulses that result from them.
  • Use breathing techniques, including smooth and easy breathing.
  • Check in with your thoughts and avoid predicting bad outcomes.
  • Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a friend experiencing anxiety (go to for more information on self-compassion).
  • Go out into nature and tune in to the sights and smells (Notice tiny details, like a particular leaf or the feeling of bark on a tree).
  • Talk to a friend about what’s going on in your life.
  • Go for a walk or get some other form of exercise.
  • Drink plenty of water (Anxiety reduces electrolytes).
  • Address and become aware of any internal conflict.

Your therapist can provide you with even more tools for coping with anxiety and calming your mind, so you can be better prepared the next time your fight-of-flight response goes into overdrive.

Freedom from anxiety can begin today.

At Therapy Today, we’ve helped hundreds of people find freedom from debilitating anxiety in a warm, safe, and soothing environment. We take a unique approach to treating anxiety that explores root causes and provides you with lasting solutions. And, with our same-day in-person and online telehealth counseling sessions, we can work with you to start addressing your anxiety today.

Schedule your appointment.

Coping with Depression: Hope and Help for Your Darkest Days

We’ve all had one of those days … the kind of day when pulling the covers over your head and staying in bed sounds like a welcome alternative to putting both feet on the ground. It’s like a dark cloud is hovering over you.

What happens when that “dark cloud” lasts several days, weeks, or even months? 

Your sadness could be a symptom of depression.

If your sadness feels like more than just an off day or a passing case of the blues, it’s important to seek help determining if your sadness is actually a case of depression. If it is, you’re not alone. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 16.2 million U.S. adults have had at least one major depressive episode in a given year.

Try as You Might, You Can’t “Snap Out of It.”

When you experience depression, well-meaning friends and family may tell you to “hang in there” or “keep your chin up.” They may even try to reassure you that “this, too, shall pass.” Often, though, your feelings of sadness, worthlessness and hopelessness persist — despite your best efforts to make them stop. 

Learn How to Recognize the Symptoms of Depression.

We know it can be difficult to explain to others how depression feels – and people experience it in different ways, so your symptoms may be very different than someone else who is also experiencing depression. A good therapist will listen and tune into your symptoms and help you understand how they interfere with your ability to work, sleep, eat, and function in your day-to-day life. 

Symptoms of Depression May Include:

  • Ongoing feelings of sadness or excessive guilt for most of the day.
  • Inability to sleep, or excessive time spent sleeping.
  • Loss of appetite and weight, or overeating and weight gain.
  • Loss of interest in things that usually bring pleasure.
  • Self-critical thoughts.
  • Social isolation.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy, or restlessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating and indecisiveness.
  • Chronic suicide ideation (recurrent thoughts of suicide and death).

Untreated, depression symptoms can get worse over time and/or new symptoms can emerge, so it’s important to address them as early as possible by reaching out to an experienced professional who can help you put together a path forward.

If you’re regularly experiencing any possible symptoms of depression, please seek professional help immediately. If you’re not yet working with a therapist, please reach out to us and we will match you with a qualified professional – often with a same day and/or telehealth appointment.

There are many options available to help treat depression.

With so many affected by depression, many prescription medications exist that help treat symptoms to varying degrees. For many people, though, medications only go so far in mitigating symptoms, and they don’t help mend what caused the depression in the first place. That’s why most doctors and other mental and emotional health professionals encourage adding a form of therapy in addition to medications. 

Seeking individual therapy can help you identify the root cause(s) of your depression and provide you with the coping skills you need to gain a new sense of hope, happiness and control.

Depression is a complex disorder and should be taken seriously.

As professional therapists, we understand that depression is much more than a short-lived case of “the blues.” It’s a complex disorder affecting people in different ways for different reasons. Your depression may stem from trying to manage anger toward yourself or others in unhealthy ways. It could develop after a painful event or be traced back to childhood trauma. 

Whatever the causes and triggers unique to your depression, individual therapy sessions can help you get to the root of the problem and allow you to share what’s on your mind in a safe and comforting environment.

Getting the support to manage your depression

We understand you may wish to withdraw from others when you’re feeling empty, unmotivated and worthless. The very nature of depression can make it difficult to ask for help. However, pulling your support system close to you — even if it’s just one person — and working with a caring therapist can alleviate the pain of depression.

You can rely on your individual therapy sessions to help you work through the moment when things changed for you — the moment that triggered your depression. You can discuss whatever is on your mind and weighing on your heart. And, you can tell your therapist about suicidal thoughts, whether active or passive, and know that you’ll be provided with a safe space to share those thoughts in confidence.

If you or someone you know are having active thoughts about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline now at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Depression is highly individual — and help is always available.

You don’t have to go through a major crisis to ask for a therapist’s help. Perhaps you’ve been feeling down for multiple days and you don’t know why. Maybe simple things like running errands, spending time with friends, and taking care of yourself or your family have started feeling like daunting tasks. Your therapist can assess these situations and determine how to best help you move forward.

Managing symptoms with medication can certainly help, as can various self-help methods and positive lifestyle changes. However, don’t hesitate to seek additional help when it’s needed. Ignoring lingering problems can just lead to worsening symptoms of depression over time. Getting support from a skilled therapist can fill in the gaps in helping you overcome and move past depression.

Lasting healing for your depression can begin today.

At Therapy Today, the safe and gentle counseling offered by our therapists helps identify the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, as well as past experiences, that contribute to your depression. Using proven therapeutic approaches, we foster lasting change to prevent depression from returning. Plus, we offer same-day and telehealth appointments to support you whenever and wherever you’re ready.

With each session, the benefits of individual therapy can lift the heavy fog of depression, leaving you happier, more hopeful, and ready for brighter days ahead.

Schedule your appointment.

Growing Pains: Viewing a Crisis as an Opportunity

When you’re blindsided by a crisis, feelings of hopelessness can quickly escalate and take over much of your life. You’re not alone there. However, it’s important to realize that times of crisis can also present opportunities for incredible personal growth. Knowing when to reach out to a professional therapist can mean the difference between realizing that growth and falling further into despair.

Everyone faces crises during their life; it’s how you deal with them that determines your path forward. A good therapist will help guide you through the chaos of personal crises and give you tools to cope so that you can emerge on the other side with a newfound sense of control and self-awareness.

When a Crisis Becomes a Turning Point.

The very definition of “crisis” gives us insight into the opportunity that emerges from such hardships. While Merriam-Webster defines crisis as “an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life,” it also offers an alternative definition: “the turning point for better or worse.”

No matter what type of obstacles you experience — whether related to your relationships, career, finances, health, spirituality, or identity — the common denominator is change. And, while change can be uncomfortable, it can also lead to a powerful turning point in your life.

Whether that turning point steers you towards a positive or negative outcome can depend greatly on if and when you choose to seek professional support. Seeking the help of a qualified therapist will help you better manage and adapt to the difficult situation at hand.

Seeking therapy too long after a crisis is a missed opportunity. The sooner you seek help, the sooner and more able you are to realize complete healing.

Reframe Your Negative Situation into a Positive Outcome.

Crises affect everyone at some point or another – they’re an inevitable, unfortunate part of life we’d certainly all rather avoid.

Or would we? After all, hindsight is 20/20. Many people look back on a painful situation that felt unbearable at the time, only to realize it was that crisis that helped them build something better for themselves.

We get it – in the moment, a crisis feels like the worst thing(s) that could happen. It throws you into unfamiliar territory, takes you out of your comfort zone, and unravels your sense of certainty.

It’s that last part that makes it crucial to seek help. When your emotions and ability to think logically are altered, don’t try to go it alone. Taking on that burden can lead to further debilitating emotional and mental issues and make your path forward harder than it needs to be.

Realize How Fragile Your Internal Emotional State is – and get it the Support it Needs.

A crisis can hit you like a domino effect, amplifying other underlying issues. For example, following the death of a loved one, or during a painful divorce, you may slide into depression or find your social anxiety worsening.

It’s at the onset of a crisis when additional support is needed the most.

Before you can move past a difficult situation, it’s important to work with your therapist to identify any recurring problems that can become bigger issues when ignored. In the moment of experiencing a crisis, your defenses come down, your usual ways of dealing with hurtful situations fail and you’re less able to process your feelings. Your counseling sessions will identify issues that need to be addressed at the crisis’ onset to manage them in a healthy way. These can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Self-esteem
  • Work-life balance
  • Thoughts of suicide

That’s why this is the exact moment — when a crisis is upon you — to rely on a trusted therapist to help you overcome the emotions that are pulling you down and break destructive patterns in your life.

This is when you need to put in action a solid crisis management plan that provides a path towards a more positive outcome.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Move Beyond Crisis and Foster Growth for Lasting Change.

With the help of therapy, whether in person or through telehealth counseling, you can learn to move beyond the difficulties surrounding a crisis situation, and foster growth for lasting positive change.

Breaking Down Barriers to Healing

Whether or not you’ve previously sought in-person or telehealth therapy, it’s important to find the right fit when seeking counseling during a difficult time. You may be hesitant to contact a therapist due to concerns about cost, availability, cultural barriers or social stigma — but these concerns can cause you to miss your critical window of opportunity and lead to worsening mental health.

Often concerns about insurance or cost can seem like a barrier to starting therapy – it may be helpful to know that many providers will work with you so that you can get the help that you need.

We’re here for you. Schedule your appointment.

At Therapy Today, we pride ourselves on providing accessible, affordable solutions in a warm, safe, and welcoming environment. We’re trained in proven therapeutic approaches and crisis management techniques that get results. We also offer same-day and telehealth appointments, so you can get started sooner and feel better faster.

If you’re experiencing a crisis, our caring staff is ready to help you find your turning point and learn to live well, love well and work well today.

The Importance of LGBTQ+ Inclusive Language

At Therapy Today, we help people live well, love well, and work well.

This is why we are sharing the following resource about why our language matters, how we strive to support our clients and staff, and the importance of using updated, inclusive LGBTQ+ language.

As this guide highlights, the language used on clinical paperwork makes a significant impact toward affirming someone’s identity. This is why we have updated our intake paperwork to include space for pronoun designation, and the option to include a preferred name after noting their legal name. 

We have also included our therapist’s pronouns within their profile bios on our website to normalize this practice, and affirm our own staff’s identities.

Several of our therapists are LGBTQ+ allied, and we conduct yearly LGBTQ+ Inclusion Trainings for our staff, free of charge to them.

We encourage you to review this article so that you too can be informed and intentionally inclusive of those around you. There are several wonderful resources listed at the end of this article, however we have listed them at the end of this page, too.

If you are in need of support today or anytime, Therapy Today is here for you. We offer same-day appointments and strive to be a safe, welcoming space for all. You can schedule an appointment at 517-481-2133.

LGBTQ+ Inclusive Language Resources

An Ally’s Guide to Terminology
This extensive piece created by GLAAD and the Movement Advancement Project describes specific ways in which terms should and shouldn’t be used.

CDC—Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health
On this page, you can find all CDC research and recommendations about working with the LGBTQ+ community.

A significant resource for the LGBTQ+ community and allies, this organization provides a wealth of educational and policy resources for the workplace, schools, and everyday life.

This is written for recruiters but applies to anyone in a workplace. The article, “70 Language Principles That Will Make You A More Successful Recruiter” details exactly how to appropriately speak in a place of employment. It includes not just LGBTQ+ related topics, but a myriad of others.

Lambda Legal
This LGBTQ+ civil rights organization can answer your policy and legal questions. They even have a section specifically related to healthcare.

PFLAG is the largest organization for LGBTQ+ family members and allies in the United States. They provide a wealth of information you can use as you learn more about helping this community and offer various resources regarding healthcare.

Rider University
This article includes examples of inclusive language for the LGBTQ+ community and other historically marginalized groups.

The Muse
“A Guide to Using Pronouns and Other Gender-Inclusive Language in the Office” is a thorough piece regarding the importance of this topic. It provides specific examples of how this can be done.

The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center
This organization provides “educational programs, resources, and consultation to health care organizations to optimize quality, cost-effective health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and all sexual and gender minority (LGBTQIA+) people.” You can earn continuing education credits through this site, and the Center holds conferences you may find helpful.

5 Benefits of Telehealth Therapy

The ability of therapists or counselors to see clients using video conferencing software, also known as telehealth, is changing the face of the industry and helping therapists reach their patients in new and convenient ways. While the introduction of telehealth has been particularly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of this new method of delivering counseling will far surpass our current circumstances.

At Therapy Today, we offer online appointments using secure and HIPAA-compliant teleconferencing software.

Learn more about the benefits of teletherapy and find out if it’s right for you.

Telehealth Benefit 1: Ease of Entry

Statistics indicate the average number of in-person sessions attended by clients is: one. Clients attend one appointment and never come back. While the reasoning behind is still a mystery, there are a lot of theories behind why the first therapy appointment could be so stressful that clients choose not to return. Some of those reasons could be:

  • Traffic, parking
  • Finding the office
  • Arriving late
  • Stressful or crowded waiting rooms
  • The anxiety of leaving the house
  • Discomfort being seen at a therapist’s office
  • Missing work
  • New, unfamiliar settings

Telehealth Benefit 2: Consistency

After that first appointment, consistency is key. When you need to get to an office, regular life obstacles like lack of childcare, working late, illness, or bad weather could lead to a missed appointment. When you’re attending your appointment virtually, many of these factors won’t impact your session. A disturbed routine can make symptoms worse, but with telehealth, you’ll be able to speak to your therapist or counselor and receive care conveniently in your own home.

This consistency can also continue if a client moves to another state or city. Rather than starting over with a new doctor and potentially losing progress, a patient can continue to see the doctor they are comfortable with.

Telehealth Benefit 3: Expanded Reach

Telehealth allows therapists and counselors to reach individuals that may have previously been unreachable:

  • Those without transportation
  • Those in rural areas where travel to an office is not ideal
  • Those who can’t travel due to a physical or mental handicap
  • Those who have work schedules that conflict with therapist office hours

With telehealth, therapy does not have to be a luxury for those living close to offices or with personal transportation. Telehealth allows therapists and counselors to help those they could not previously help.

Telehealth Benefit 4: Eliminates the Waiting Room

For those diagnosed with anxiety or any other mental illnesses, the waiting room in any type of office can be a stressor. With increased stimulation like unfamiliar interactions and a new environment; it’s a situation that can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. With the introduction of telehealth, clients can attend an appointment from the comfort of their own home, in an environment that makes them feel safe and allows them to open up comfortably.

Telehealth Benefit 5: Germ-Free Appointments

For many patients with anxiety, their immune systems can be weakened due to constant stress. Being under the weather may prevent them from attending their appointment both to avoid spreading germs and because they may be unable to travel. Telehealth appointments eliminate the possibility of spreading germs and allow clients to receive care, even if they are sick.

These are just a few of the benefits of using telehealth to reach your counselor or therapist. If you are interested in learning more or scheduling an appointment, reach out today and let’s get started!

How to Use Telehealth Therapy

Telehealth therapy has become a necessity rather than an option for many over the last few months, and the benefits of this emerging form of therapy are becoming more and more apparent. But while telehealth might make attending therapy sessions easier (now and in the future), it’s still an unfamiliar platform for many.

As we enter a world where telehealth therapy is the new norm, here are some tips on how to use telehealth so you can make the most out of your virtual sessions.

Telehealth Might Be Awkward at First (And That’s Ok)

If you have never used telehealth therapy before, it can feel strange at first. This awkwardness might make it feel like it’s not working. But don’t let that initial strangeness get you down. Communicating with a therapist virtually rather than in person may feel unfamiliar, so take that into account when you first start teletherapy.

To get past the discomfort, you might need to give it a little time. You’ll also need to make sure you’re being honest with your therapist about how you’re feeling. After a few sessions, you’ll know if teletherapy is suitable or if you need to look for other options.

Set An Intentional Space and Time for Teletherapy

Just like when you attend an in-person session in your therapist’s office, you should make sure the time you choose for your telehealth session is completely devoted to the conversation between you and your therapist.

When you’re at home, it’s easy to let distractions interrupt your time. You might be tempted to answer a question from your kids or get other stuff done while you’re in session. But telehealth therapy is still therapy and should be given the same considerations as an in-person session.

  • Choose a time that lets you offer complete focus. Try nap time, or ask your partner to watch the kids.
  • Find a quiet space, away from distractions; your office might make you feel like working, so try your bedroom.
  • Make the space relaxing. Light a candle, diffuse some lavender oil.

However you go about choosing your space and time for teletherapy, make sure you can be relaxed, open, and honest.

Use a Secure Telehealth Platform

At Therapy Today, we use for our telehealth therapy sessions. This platform doesn’t require any downloads and is HIPAA, GDPR, PHIPA/PIPEDA, and HITECH-compliant, meaning it meets medical and safety regulations. We care about your privacy and safety and want you to feel comfortable with the platform you use, so we encourage you to ask as many questions as you need before your first session.

Telehealth Therapy Tips

Here are some more tips on how to have a successful telehealth therapy session.

  • Don’t have too many browsers open.
  • Don’t let anyone else on your network stream movies or games during your session.
  • Log on just a little early to make sure everything is working right.
  • Eliminate all distractions.
  • Work on naming your feelings; bodily cues aren’t as easy to read on camera.
  • Be honest about how teletherapy is going and how you feel about it.

With teletherapy, you can continue to work on your wellbeing without leaving your home. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious right now, Therapy Today has same-day teletherapy appointments available. Reach out today for an appointment, and use these tips to build familiarity with teletherapy.

Telehealth Counseling for Families

Family counseling can be a great way to help families get through difficult times together and help break down relationship barriers by learning communication skills for when life becomes challenging. The benefits presented by telehealth family counseling can present a new way for families to reconnect and receive counseling in a way that works for everyone.

Be More Comfortable With Telehealth

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported: “Studies consistently reveal high satisfaction rates for children, adolescents and parents, often reaching above 90%. In fact, a 2013 study determined that telebehavioral health might be better than in-person care for children and adolescents because this age group often expresses an unwillingness or reluctance to participate in traditional therapy sessions.”

One of the biggest benefits of telehealth counseling is that it allows families to receive counseling in an environment where everyone is comfortable. Teens are more willing to open up in their own environment rather than an office or an unfamiliar setting. At home, they have access to the comforts that make them feel at ease.

Telehealth Allows for Natural Interactions

Since an office visit can be an intimidating setting for some, it only makes sense that a family’s interaction may not be as natural as it is in their home. If families are experiencing trouble interacting with each other due to behavioral issues, that behavior may not appear in an office as it might in their own environment. Both children and parents have the opportunity to act more natural at home, engaging in behaviors they might withhold in an office visit.

By observing clients at home, therapists can witness the behaviors that might be impacting the family’s relationship and then work to correct those behaviors within the setting where they are taking place.

Connect From a Distance With Telehealth

For families that need to heal together but aren’t physically together, telehealth can present new opportunities for connecting from a distance. Whether children are away at school, have moved out of the home, or are living with another parent, telehealth makes it easier for families living in separate households to receive counseling without the added stress of planning time to connect in one physical location.

Telehealth offers a unique opportunity for families dealing with co-parenting while divorced or families who have introduced step-parents or siblings. While these new family units may not feel comfortable gathering in the same space, telehealth can give them the chance to connect with a counselor in order to adapt and make the most of their arrangement.

Telehealth Allows for Privacy

Therapy can be an important part of facing the challenges of growing up but some kids still find it embarrassing. For kids who might be reluctant to leave school for counseling or are worried they will run into a friend in the office or on the way, telehealth can create a new level of privacy. When children have the ability to meet with a counselor or therapist in the comfort of their own home and on their terms, they are much more likely to participate in family therapy sessions.

Therapy Today’s telehealth sessions are HIPAA-compliant and secure so families can be confident that their privacy is secure when participating in telehealth.

Easier Scheduling

Telehealth makes it easier to schedule sessions at times that work for you and your family. Therapy Today offers same-day appointments so no matter when you need a little extra help connecting, we can help. If your family is interested in learning more or scheduling an appointment, reach out today and let’s get started.

Telehealth Counseling for Anxiety

When you have anxiety, even the simplest of tasks can seem monumental. You may know when it is time to seek help but it can become more difficult if you are experiencing symptoms. Telehealth can be a great way to break through stressful barriers and help you find treatment quickly, while in the comfort of your own home.

How Telehealth Breaks Down Barriers

For those who have never sought treatment for their anxiety, telehealth can be a great starting point and a great way to ease into in-person appointments.

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder and, left untreated, can have a significant impact on the lives of those who deal with it. Roughly 3% of the adult population suffers from generalized anxiety disorder—many of those same people will not seek treatment because of stressful barriers.

Here are a few ways telehealth therapy can help patients who experience anxiety move past barriers in order to get treatment where and when they need it.


  • Eases the initial uncertainty that comes from talking to a therapist for the first time.
  • Eliminates stressful obstacles like traffic, parking, and crowded waiting rooms.
  • Provides options for those in rural areas who may not have access to mental healthcare.

Telehealth Therapy: An Effective Option

While the practice of telehealth is still relatively new and has recently peaked in popularity due to COVID-19 and the subsequent stay-at-home orders, researchers have been studying its benefits for a few years. In 2017, Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Reduce Limitations from Anxiety (RELAX) found telehealth to be effective in treating patients with panic and anxiety disorders.

The study used mainly telephone-delivered care and focused on 329 total participants, 250 were classified as “highly anxious” and further split into one group that received the telehealth service or visited their primary care physicians. After 12 months, researchers concluded that the telehealth services were more effective in treating anxiety than visiting the physician. Of the telehealth patients, 53% experienced reduced anxiety symptoms compared to 32% of patients in the control group.

This is not to say that office visits are ineffective, but shows that, for many with anxiety, the ability to receive treatment without leaving a place of comfort can be beneficial.

How Telehealth Helps Anxiety

For those that feel stress at the thought of leaving their homes and entering into an unfamiliar environment, virtual counseling can help them feel less isolated. If getting to a therapist’s office presents a challenge, telehealth is a great way to meet that challenge head-on. Through virtual counseling, therapists can help clients set goals, learn coping skills, and create healthy routines.

The idea that you can pick up your phone or go to your computer when you need to talk to someone can be comforting. This comfort can act as a treatment in and of itself. Patients in familiar surroundings are also more willing to open up and are therefore more welcoming to treatment. The time flexibility also reduces the level of stress that comes with trying to book appointments.

Therapy Today is now offering telehealth options using a HIPAA compliant and secure platform.  If you’d like to book a telehealth appointment, reach out today. Same-day appointments are available.

Transforming Helplessness to Hopefulness

If you are in crisis, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line: Text “TALK” to 741741

Reid is a therapist and the Clinical Development Coordinator at Therapy Today, as well as the President of the Michigan Board of Directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). She has volunteered for the AFSP in many forms over the last 5 years and is passionate about advocating for, and practicing suicide prevention both in her personal and professional life. 

So many of us are struggling to maintain our mental health amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and the painful and angering deaths due to police brutality and racism. For those experiencing hopelessness and/or suicidal ideation, it can be difficult to know how to manage these thoughts during this time. Having suicidal thoughts can be an extremely isolating and overwhelming experience. My hope for this post is to give you some tools for managing these thoughts and caring for yourself if you experience them, or to share with your loved ones who do. It’s important to note that while these are helpful tools, they are best used in-conjunction with seeing a licensed mental health therapist. A therapist can provide a supportive, non-judgmental space to process the sources of stress contributing to these thoughts, as well as help personalize these tools (and others) to best fit your needs and find ways to help keep yourself safe as you navigate these challenging times.

Before we jump in, I want to acknowledge the stigma surrounding suicidal thoughts. Our society is slowly overcoming the false belief that suicidal thoughts are somehow selfish, or that they are “just a cry for attention.” What we know is that those suffering from suicidal thoughts are desperate to end the stress and pain they are experiencing, and often believe they are burdening others by being in pain with seemingly no good options to help. It is undoubtedly true that it can be scary and hard to support someone experiencing suicidal thoughts, and the complex emotions one feels upon losing someone to suicide are completely valid. It is also important to know that checking-in on your loved ones and talking about suicide does not increase the likelihood of them attempting suicide – in fact, it decreases it, as it provides a sense of relief to know that someone is willing to hear and hold their pain with them, as we know social support is one of the leading protective factors for preventing suicide. Although this conversation is hard, it is an important one for saving lives. I have included resources for those supporting a loved one who struggles, and for those impacted by suicide loss at the end of this post.

Suicidal thoughts are produced by a combination of risk factors (such as mental health conditions or substance use disorders, chronic illness, trauma) and ongoing stressors (unexpected lifestyle changes such as a divorce, loss of a job, and of course, a global pandemic). While not everyone responds the same way to similar risk factors and stressors, this can give some insight into why one may experience them, and I find in my practice that understanding the sources of these thoughts can be empowering for finding a way through.

For my clients experiencing suicidal ideation, we develop a safety plan, which is basically a guide created ahead of time for moments when these thoughts intensify. I’ve included the template I use with clients developed by Gregory Brown, Ph.D., and Barbara Stanley, Ph.D. from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As you can see, it includes all of the information one would need to know if they were to find themselves in a crisis. In other words, it basically does the thinking for you, which is why safety plans are so effective at preventing people from attempting suicide. When we are in crisis, our brain does not think as clearly, and we can’t think of all the options to help ourselves. If you find yourself in a crisis and experiencing suicidal thoughts, a safety plan provides you important ways to care for yourself.

For the purposes of this post, we will focus on coping skills and what contacts to have ready should you need them.

Coping skills are activities you do, or tools you use to manage stress and tolerate difficult emotion. Let’s start by engaging our five senses:

Touch – Take a warm bath or shower, pet an animal, put on comfortable clothes, go outside to feel grass and plants, or stretch

Smell – Light a candle, put on scented lotion or perfume/cologne, or make an aromatic food or drink (make coffee or tea, bake cookies)

Hear – Put on your favorite song, listen to a podcast, step outside to notice sounds around you

Taste – Chew gum, eat a piece of candy, make yourself a yummy drink such as hot cocoa or coffee, or eat a snack

See – Watch the sky, look at pictures of you with loved ones or memories, search images of places you would like to visit, or watch a funny movie

Other coping skills could include ideas such as:

  • Talk to yourself in a soothing, compassionate way, like you would to a friend. Try using phrases such as: “It’s okay to feel this way, it makes sense to me.” “This is a difficult time, I’m sorry you’re going through this.”

In response to stress you may feel due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you can practice thinking statements that reflect two truths, such as: “I can both understand the importance of social distancing, and still be sad about things I am missing out on.”

Preventing ourselves from viewing things in extremes helps prevent us from becoming emotionally   overwhelmed, and helps us see situations more realistically

  • Do something creative, such as paint, draw, color, or cook
  • Take a walk

People to call:

As mentioned earlier, social support is vital for our mental health. When creating your list of contacts, consider two different categories of loved ones: 1) who would be a good resource to have light-hearted, distracting conversation with, and 2) who would be a good resource to tell how you’re really feeling. This will help you know your reason for calling, which will then help you get your needs met.

For the first category, who in your life is funny, interesting, and relatable? Write their names and numbers on the sheet. Some phrases to contact them while keeping it light could be:

  • “Hey! I miss you – how are you doing today?” or “I’m thinking about you. What’s up?”

For the second category, who in your life do you call when things are hard? Who has helped you through some of your most difficult moments? Write their names and numbers in the next section on the sheet. Some phrases to contact them could be:

  • “Hey, I’m having a hard day today, and I was wondering if I could talk things through with you?” or “Hey, I’m trying my best to work through some negative thoughts I’m having, but I’m still having a hard time shaking them, and I just need some support. Could we talk it out?”

While it’s important to have our close contacts ready-to-call in your safety plan, there may be times when they are unavailable, or you realize you are in need of more formal support. There are two important numbers you can save ahead of time in your phone to use in an emergency:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text “TALK” to 741741

While we may not be able to change or control some of the stressors that impact our mental health, we can find ways to help ourselves through. My hope is that this post provided you some options for how to respond to thoughts of suicide or a sense of hopelessness.

If you are in need of mental health care support, we have several compassionate, experienced therapists that can help at Therapy Today. You can call our office at 517-481-2133 to schedule an appointment.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers several resources for people touched by suicide in different ways:

Other resources you could consider exploring:

  • – this website helps you find mental health care and offers various articles on mental health.
  • — also offers a podcast and regular blog 
  • Ethel’s Club – they create healing spaces that center and celebrate people of color through conversation, wellness and creativity.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – a national non-profit that promotes the destigmatization of mental health, with local chapters and support groups running throughout the country
  • The Trevor Project – a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
  • Ele’s Place – a healing center for grieving children, teens, young adults, and their families, with four locations around the State of Michigan.
  • JED Foundation – a national nonprofit that aims to protect teens and young adults’ emotional health and prevent suicide. They equip teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other

Grief During the Pandemic

Emily is a licensed clinical social worker and a therapist at Therapy Today. She has extensive experience in the field of grief: she worked in hospice and end-of-life care for nearly 10 years and has provided home-based care on a multi-disciplinary team providing support to those who were aging or with chronic illness. She now provides outpatient therapy and among other specialties, provides grief counseling with a passion for helping her clients build resiliency and develop meaningful coping mechanisms in response to difficult situations and losses.

All of us have had to transition to a new normal since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, and like many of you reading this, I too had difficulty adjusting. At the beginning of the quarantine I saw an article on social media titled, “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief” by Scott Berinato. His words rang true for this collective experience we are all experiencing as individuals. The article references David Kessler, a grief expert, who co-wrote “On Death and Dying: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss” along with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I highly recommend everyone read this article. Mr. Kessler provides helpful observations and recommendations on this time of quarantine and ways to cope. I realize we traditionally think of grief as the intense sorrow from losing someone significant in our lives, however there are many other ways grief is present in our lives besides the death of ones we love, especially now.

As a reminder, Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As Mr. Kessler reminds us in this interview, the stages of grief are not sequential, nor are they feelings we experience for one period of time. They are not things to be completed or mastered before moving onto the next.


As I reflect on my own experience in March, I see now that parts of my thinking could be labeled as denial. I thought, “This doesn’t really need to affect our family. We are young. We have kids,” who at that point, weren’t known to be affected by the virus. “We can still go on Spring Break!” “We know how to be careful and wash our hands!” I even thought, “I don’t need a mask! That’s a little too over the top!” I was finding ways that this virus would not affect my life. When I picked my kids up from school that Friday in March, I never imagined that they would not be returning to school to finish their school years. Experiencing denial is our first way of protecting ourselves against a shocking loss, and it is normal.


Another element of my own life that stood out as grieving after reading this article was bargaining. I found myself thinking, “I will do this quarantine until the end of April, but then I want to know I’m done!” Or, “I will homeschool my kids this year, but I better be able to send them back to school in the fall!” and, “I will quarantine in the spring, but when summer comes, I will go through with all of my plans and traditions as I usually do!” It is normal to attempt to set limits on our suffering.


While we know these current changes are temporary, many of us experience depression from feeling that our intense pain and sadness has no foreseeable end. We cannot “bring back” our old, normal lives, similarly to how we cannot bring back loved ones who we so dearly miss and long for. My own sadness often shows up as grief for my kids. They are now missing a part of their social lives and their identities apart from our family. They are missing the end of their academic and athletic years. They are losing valuable opportunities to make memories. Everyone has lost some part of their life to this quarantine, whether it was a vacation they were really looking forward to, a job they enjoyed that they have lost or that has transformed to a new entity, an event they have worked hard to organize, and so many others. Many in our country have lost loved ones during this time, as well as their ability to memorialize them through valued end-of-life traditions, such as funeral services, or celebrations of life. Each of us have had losses that affect our lives, and we are sad as we mourn together.


As the pandemic has progressed, I can see more ways the phases of grief have emerged. I see it in a variety of ways with my clients’ lives. I have clients who were anticipating celebrating a large achievement such as graduating from MSU, obtaining their Ph.D., or completing law school. They are now grieving and observing the loss of celebration or the ability to mark this achievement as they were anticipating. Anger is another feeling that is appropriate. We are angry that we don’t have control over all of these changes, and that these experiences were “taken away” from us. Many people’s professions and vocations as they once knew them have been so drastically changed as they have transitioned to online platforms, which have created new challenges, and these can be very frustrating. We can also be angry and easily irritable about the smaller, daily losses we accumulate in quarantine. We can be easily angered by a small change to our day to day, but that small change is on top of many changes and adjustments we’ve been making over the past 8-9 weeks. We are allowed to have our anger, and it is important that we give ourselves permission to experience it.


The final phase of grief, according to the model by Kubler-Ross, is “acceptance.” I’m not really sure what acceptance looks like today. Maybe it’s because the word seems to imply, “I condone these changes.” In its most basic form, acceptance may be simply acknowledging that a global pandemic is happening; that people in this world are responding to it in a variety of ways, and we cannot change it. In the article, Kessler talks about the importance of finding meaning following acceptance. I enjoy hearing how my clients are finding meaning in their daily lives now. I think it’s important to remember that finding meaning is not a state that people arrive and stay in. It seems to be more of a fluid ability to notice moments that bring meaning. The inability to maintain a state of noticing meaning and acceptance is not failure; it is a hallmark of the human experience. Life is changing. Living is grieving. And like every grief wave, no matter how tall, powerful, or overwhelming – it will recede, and we will get through this.


  • Coronavirus and Grief: Everything You Need to Know – A compilation of resources available for managing grief during this time
  • Ele’s Place: A healing center for grieving children, teens, young adults, and their families, with four locations around the State of Michigan
  • A website to find grief support groups near you – a healing center for grieving children, teens, young adults, and their families, with four locations around the State of Michigan
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “TALK” to 741741

That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief: