How Does Online Therapy Help Improve The Mental Health Of Remote Teachers?

In light of the pandemic, educational systems worldwide have undergone drastic shifts to adjust to the “new normal”. While there has been significant progress in emphasizing the students’ mental well-being, the problems teachers encounter are often taken for granted. When they’re not doing live lectures, they’re fulfilling the myriad responsibilities of educators, including:

    • grading papers
    • preparing learning materials 
    • fixing lesson plans
    • filling in the gaps brought by limited educational resources 

Moreover, teachers aren’t exempt from the pressure and trauma from the pandemic. Despite all this, they are still expected to assist their students emotionally, mentally, and academically. While many would be more than happy to do so, it would be sorely difficult for them to help if they are suffering. For educators to overcome the challenges of remote work, they can try online therapy. 

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What Is Online Therapy?

With billions of people worldwide going through one tragedy after another, the demand for therapy and mental health services is on the rise. However, due to lockdowns and social distancing measures, it might be difficult to secure a therapy session. That’s the advantage that online therapy has. It is an effective way of getting a consultation without putting yourself at risk of the virus. 

Online therapy connects people with a licensed therapist from the safety and comfort of their own homes via 

    • phone sessions, 
    • emails, 
    • video chats, 
    • live chats, or
    • text messaging. 

At its root, therapy seeks to help people become more aware of their problems and emotions, manage symptoms, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. It can address various mental health issues, relationship problems, trauma, grief and loss, and work or school issues. Therapy is also beneficial for people with mere everyday concerns, such as sleep difficulties and low self-esteem. 

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Despite not receiving much fanfare, online therapy has revolutionized the way we approach and perceive mental health. It reduces the stigma around getting a therapist, making treatment more accessible to people. But while more and more people now seek advice via online therapy, is it as effective as in-person therapy sessions?

How Effective Is Online Therapy?

Studies show that digital therapy can be just as effective as in-person sessions. Certain types of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy treatments were equally effective when delivered digitally. Furthermore, online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may even be more effective than face-to-face counseling in managing anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, and depression.

Moreover, online therapy is not only beneficial to the patient but also to the online therapist. It eliminates the commute time, reduces the cost of renting an office space, and increases productivity. Here are some more things that make online therapy advantageous:

    • Affordable. Online therapy is typically less expensive. In addition to insurance coverage, free online therapy options are available.
    • Age-friendly. Online therapy is suitable for people of all ages.
    • Accessible. Scheduling online appointments is more feasible for individuals living in rural areas and those with limited transport options. 
    • Confidential. Some people find that online therapy offers greater confidentiality than in-person sessions. Multiple therapy sites also allow people to use nicknames, which can make them feel more comfortable.
    • Safe. Some people, including people with autism, may feel safer and more comfortable receiving treatment in their own homes.
    • Time-saving. With online therapy, there’s no need to wait in long lines.

Despite these pros, online therapy isn’t for everyone. Some people might prefer the intimacy of personal interactions. Less tech-savvy people might find it challenging to navigate online sessions. Moreover, ambient noise and technical difficulties might hinder therapy. Lastly, it’s harder to pick up on body language and nonverbal cues through the internet, which might be vital in making a diagnosis.

How Does Online Therapy Help Remote Teachers?

Teaching is an emotionally demanding job, even before the pandemic. And just like millions across the world, teachers have also experienced the deaths of loved ones, struggled with anxiety and fear, or even contracted the virus themselves. They go through that all while bearing the responsibility of guiding students within a new environment. 

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Thankfully, online therapy can help remote teachers:

    • Maintain Their Mental Health

Self-care and self-compassion have become essential now more than ever. Online therapy can guide teachers to prioritize their mental health and make them feel balanced. Therapists do this by teaching them self-care methods, such as journaling and meditation.

    • Reduce Stress

Online therapy can help change negative thought patterns that develop because of too much pressure. It creates healthy ways to manage stressors. Decreasing stress also helps reduce its physical manifestations, which may impede their everyday life.

    • Set Reasonable Expectations

In the middle of the pandemic and remote learning, it’s not business as usual. Things are going to be different, and that’s perfectly fine. Teachers might be struggling with being less productive and worry that they are not offering the same quality education for their students. By setting small and realistic goals, remote teachers can regain their self-esteem and feel more fulfilled and capable.

    • Communicate Emotions

Having an emotional outlet is crucial to maintaining mental health. Some people might turn to harmful coping mechanisms, such as drinking or smoking. Teachers especially need someone to confide in since they probably also act as counselors for their students. Being transparent about their feelings and problems with a therapist helps them understand what they’re going through. Through therapy, they can develop healthy coping strategies.

    • Find Emotional Support

Burdens become heavier when people try to shoulder them alone. Feelings of isolation can debilitate anyone, adding to other heavy emotions they already feel. Reaching out for help can bring remote teachers to recognize that they’re not alone. A solid support system can also lead them to enjoy things again and avoid self-harming thoughts. Online therapy can provide this assistance.

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Why Should Remote Teachers Prioritize Their Mental Health?

Remote teachers must prioritize their mental health. When they make time for their well-being, they can be in the proper headspace to be more empathetic, patient, and understanding. With that, they’ll be able to be present for their students. Most importantly, they can model the importance of taking care of their mental health to students, creating a safe space for students to reach out when they need it.

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