actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

Specialized ProfessionIamA online therapist who helps people deal with holiday stress. AMA!

Nov 24th 2017 by mbztherapy • 10 Questions • 126 Points

Good afternoon! I'm Megan Barnes Zesati, an online therapist.

Though there are many positive emotions that go along with the holidays, it is also a time of increased stress for many people. Common holiday stressors are: lack of time, lack of money, pressure of giving/getting gifts, maintaining healthy diet and exercise, stressful family gatherings, and/or feelings of sadness about not being able to be with loved ones over the holidays (due to work circumstances, estrangement, travel, military service or recent death of loved one…)

I'm here to help! Ask me Anything and let's discuss how to deal with some of these stressors. I'll be checking this post every day or two and responding or feel free to reach out to me directly on my website: www.downtownaustintherapy.com for free help on surviving holiday stress! My Proof: https://imgur.com/a/usK2T Additional proof - the first message here: http://www.downtownaustintherapy.com/

Q:

What kind of rates do you offer? I am someone with severe social anxiety/phobia so in person therapy has never worked out for me. I can generally type alright online so online therapy seems like a good option for me. The only ones I have found only "talk" once or twice a day.

A:

I actually don't use messaging for online therapy--sessions are conducted in real time over a confidential video platform that is similar to Skype called VSee. You could look into services like Better Help and Talkspace, as I know they do offer messaging options. It's a bit different than video sessions, but perhaps it would be a good fit for you.


Q:

Newly married. Just got laid off work on the 1st. Not sure what to get my wife for Christmas. Help? Or suggestions on how to deal with this stress?

A:

That's really rough--I can imagine the stress you must be under! I'd encourage you to speak openly with your wife about the stress you are feeling and let her in on your feelings. It's normal to feel stress over picking out gifts for the ones we love over Christmas, but your stress is probably worse if finances are tight. Stress also shuts down creative thinking, which will be your best tool when approaching Christmas gift giving this year! As a woman, wife, and therapist, I can tell you that the gifts that matter most are often the ones that communicate that you have put some thought into who the receiver is and what they would enjoy. A handwritten letter, something that you made, a special date planned exclusively by you--all great gifts and completely free!


Q:

What kind of schooling did you go through to become an online therapist?

A:

I received my Masters in Clinical Social Work in 2001, became an LCSW a few years later and then began my private practice in an office in Austin in 2007, after working in schools and medical settings between 2001-2007. I now provide therapy both online and in person! There is no special certification to become an online therapist in the State of Texas at this point, but I have received advanced training in Online therapy through the Zur Institute.


Q:

How many hours did you need to become an LCSW?

I have my BA in psych and have been applying for MSW programs. I’m still a little confused about the process.

A:

It depends (somewhat) on your state, but the general process in the US is this: usually 2 years (Full Time) of coursework to get your MSW, followed by usually several years of practice under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker. Think of it like a post-graduate apprenticeship. Then you take a licensing exam (or two, depending on your State) and once you pass, you are officially a licensed clinical social worker and can begin private practice! It's a long process from start to finish--usually 4-6 years for most people, but all of those years of supervised clinical practice are important for becoming a great therapist! Best of luck to you on your path!


Q:

I'm going through a break up of a year long girlfriend now. I really loved her. And this is after a divorce. Yesterday after dinner I felt extremely depressed. I don't have my girlfriend, I don't have in-laws, I've even been across the country from family for years and years. I'm really having a hard time. Any help?

A:

I get it and I'm so sorry you're going through this. Holidays can exacerbate feels of grief and loss over relationships for a number of reasons. Often when people are struggling during the holidays they feel extra lonely and it can be difficult to reach out to the friends and communities that support you where you are during a time of year that is so family-oriented. Have patience and be gentle with yourself. Try to avoid behaviors and habits that exacerbate negative feelings and speak with friends that you can be real with. Remember, many people struggle during the holidays--often opening the door to a conversation with someone else about your struggle will give them permission to also be authentic and honest about their experiences.


Q:

[deleted]

A:

proof has been added! http://www.downtownaustintherapy.com/


Q:

What made you decide to become a LCSW as opposed to, say, a clinical psychologist?

A:

When I decided to go back to school, it was to do social work with kids in child welfare. So I never even considered pursuing a clinical psychology degree at the time!


Q:

I hate winter so much because of the cold, dark, and holidays. I get depressed & stressed and basically hibernate. It's now to the point where I dread and worry about it so much before it actually begins, that it starts sooner every year. Other than self-care, is there something else I can be doing to ensure it doesn't get worse each year?


Q:

Why is it that people seem to be generous/thankful around the holidays, but not all year long?

A:

For some people, the holidays function as a reminder to practice gratitude and generosity. Both gratitude and generosity are practices or conscious choices that people make. Sometimes we get so bogged down in our daily lives that we forget to practice these "higher ground" practices.


Q:

Hello. I and can't stop smoking Cannabis and playing video games. My only stresses in life are when I don't have Cannabis or the internet goes down. How do I get out of this rut?

A:

What have you tried to do so far to get out of the rut? Once I know what attempts you have made to help yourself so far, I'll be able to offer some guidance. Also, are you interested in smoking or gaming less? My suggestions for you would be to reduce your use and dependence, but I can get more specific if you let me know a bit more about your motivations and efforts so far.