Finding peace with virtual therapy | Best of Chicago 2021 | City Life | Chicago Reader

Finding peace with virtual therapy

JASON WYATT FREDERICK
  • Jason Wyatt Frederick

Seeking out others to lean on is an indispensable part of tending to our mental wellness. The Center on Halsted (COH) offers an array of virtual therapy groups facilitated by psychologists and counselors that support LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies facing similar challenges during the pandemic and beyond.

Although not pandemic-specific, two other groups provide coping strategies that apply to those suffering from COVID-related stress. Grief and Loss provides alternate ways to connect and grieve when attending a funeral isn't an option, and Queer Body Image & Body Positivity addresses struggles related to self-perception and those using food to self-soothe, particularly during the pandemic when many people are less physically active.

According to Ashley Molin, associate director of behavioral health at COH, there has been a significant uptick in support group participation during the pandemic, with a 50 to 75 percent increase depending on the group. "We've been able to reach people who I think otherwise may not have been comfortable coming into the Center, especially those who may not be as out or as comfortable with their identities yet," Molin says. "I think having other primarily queer people to connect with decreases that sense of isolation many of us are experiencing during COVID."

Participants in COH virtual therapy groups are required to complete a brief registration with a group facilitator. COH groups run three cycles per year (spring, summer, and fall) and group programming may vary per cycle. For more information, contact 773-472-6469 (extension 460) or behavioralhealth@centeronhalsted.org.

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