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'Virtual vent' sessions being offered to help with coronavirus anxiety

With the spread of coronavirus bringing plenty of stress, customers can buy $29 "virtual vent" sessions to speak with a licensed professional counselor.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As people continue to deal with the stress and concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, a local group of therapists is offering "virtual vent" sessions as a way to help cope with the anxiety.

The service was organized by Healthy Minds Therapy, which operates three different offices on the Virginia side of the DMV.

After beginning earlier this week, counselor Alycia Burant said several people had already taken part in the therapy.

"It’s really just a space for someone to vent about however this is affecting them," she said. "We will listen to you. We'll give you some guidance on how best to cope with the stress.”

For $29, a customer can speak with a licensed professional counselor for 30 minutes in a Zoom chatroom. 

On Friday, Burant told WUSA9 that the service has attracted people from all age groups.

From teenagers dealing with sadness over not seeing friends or not having a graduation, to couples seeing different dynamics working from home, to adults dealing with a death, Burant said the coronavirus has impacted all groups of society.

"Right now, they want to talk to someone outside of their family that they’re seeing 24/7," she said. "It’s a good space for someone to be able to vent and talk to someone.”

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A big part of the sessions, Burant told WUSA, is sharing common methods people can use to take better care of themselves. Burant said everyone should practice self-care and self-compassion and try doing the following things:

  • Drinking more water
  • Eating regularly
  • Deep breathing

"Remember the number five. Breath in through your nose for five seconds. Hold it for five seconds. Breath out like you’re blowing through a straw for five seconds. Repeat it five times," she said. 

Moving forward, she hoped others could see the value in talking to someone about what's bothering them. 

"The more that you let something fester inside and build up, it releases more of your stress hormone," she said. "The more that you can talk about it and feel validated in what you're feeling, it can instantly make you feel better.”

For more information on the "virtual vent" sessions, click here

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