Here’s what most people are talking to their online therapists about during this strange, stressful year

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In a virtual therapy session, no topic is off limits — especially if it’s health, government, or current events. Recep-bg/Getty Images
  • Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, mental strength coach, and international bestselling author.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Morin says topics like current events, pandemic problems, and election stress are totally OK to discuss in virtual therapy.
  • According to Verywell Mind, virtual therapy is helping people cope with new challenges, including sending kids back to school during a pandemic, job loss, or discrimination.
  • Morin stresses the importance of reaching out for professional help if you need someone to talk to, as therapist can help you finding coping strategies to get through especially trying times.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Have you ever wondered what people talk about in therapy? Or, have you questioned whether the things you tell your therapist are “normal” issues to bring up?

Sometimes, people in my therapy office ask, “Is it OK to talk about something going on in the news?” And they’re often relieved to learn that it’s OK to talk about current events in treatment. (Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just have to talk about your childhood in therapy).

While there’s certainly no right or wrong thing to talk about in therapy, there are some common trends in the subjects people are tackling in the therapy office right now — well, at least in the virtual therapy office.

Verywell Mind surveyed Americans who use online therapy to determine what issues they’re talking to their therapists about during this stressful year, with interesting findings.


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Many people are talking about their stress related to current events

From fears about the state of the economy to concerns over health issues and government policies, people are talking about what’s stressing them out right now. Based on the survey, here are some of the current events people are talking about in therapy:

  • 43% have talked about the uncertainty in the nation
  • 42% have talked about the government response to COVID
  • 38% have talked about racial injustice
  • 34% have talked about the US Presidential election
  • 33% have talked about the spread of misinformation
  • 32% have talked about the economic recession
  • 29% have talked about police brutality
  • 26% have talked about climate change

What people are getting help with

While people are talking about their concerns, they aren’t just there to complain. They’re looking for emotional support, practical ways to solve problems, and coping skills to help them feel better.

From pandemic problems to election stress, many people say therapy is helping them deal with specific challenges they’re facing right now.

Here’s what the survey found people are getting help for:

  • 71% found help for their apprehension over sending their kids back to school
  • 67% found help for dealing with their job loss
  • 65% found help for being discriminated against
  • 64% found help for their uneasiness of going back to work
  • 63% found help for their concern over them or their loved ones contracting COVID-19


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How to know if you should talk to someone

If you’re questioning whether you should talk to someone, you might try to convince yourself that your symptoms aren’t severe enough or your problems aren’t big enough.

But you don’t have to wait until you fall into a deep depression or develop debilitating anxiety to get help. You can reach out to a therapist now to prevent problems or to stop existing issues from getting worse.

Whether you’re struggling to focus on your job when you’re working from home, or you’re nervous about going back into the office, talking to a mental health professional right now could be important.

And fortunately, you can talk to a licensed professional from home right now. There are many online therapy services that existed before COVID and most therapists are offering video or phone sessions right now.

Online therapy offers some benefits over face-to-face treatment — including a variety of communication options. Most online therapy services allow you to message a therapist throughout the day or schedule live video or chat sessions. Some services also allow for phone therapy too, which might give you a much-needed break from screen time.

What you might gain from therapy

Therapy can help you gain new insights into yourself. It might help you heal an old emotional wound, or it may help you discover a healthier coping strategy to deal with uncomfortable emotions.

Sometimes therapy is short-term. It might just take a few appointments to gain the support you need to stay on the right track. Or, it can be long-term. Some people enjoy talking to their therapist for years.

But either way, it’s up to you to decide what your goals are. Ultimately, a therapist can help you think, feel, and do your best in life. That can be instrumental in helping you reach your greatest personal and professional potential during this especially strange, stressful time.