I’ve been thinking a lot about all of you – whether you are a past, present, or prospective client – and how you might be coping with our current very difficult situation.
I wanted to let you know about how I have adapted my service in line with the government guidelines. It is my aim to continue to support you however I can as we all get used to the new restrictions and grieve our many losses.
Even if we and our loved ones are safe and well, most of us have already lost a great deal to this pandemic. We have lost work days, school days, businesses, savings, social interactions, experiences, and opportunities to name a few.
It is natural to feel upset by all of this, and healthy to reach out for help.
Coping With Uncertainty
On top of all of that, it can be difficult to switch off from the relentless stream of news about the new Coronavirus. Most of us want to stay informed, but too much information can cause stress, anxiety, and even panic.
You might feel worried about your health and that of your loved ones, as well as your income, how you’ll cope with social isolation (as an individual and/or being confined with those you live with), and what might happen next.
One of the greatest losses of recent weeks has been of our sense of certainty. It was, of course, always an illusion, as none of us ever really knows what is just around the corner. But life has become much less predictable in recent weeks, and a lack of predictability is unsettling.
Psychotherapist Peter Levine has defined trauma as “anything that overwhelms our ability to cope”. So it is not an overstatement to note that we are experiencing a kind of collective traumatisation right now.
The most useful response to this is to slow down as much as we possibly can. We all need to take time and space to process what is happening. You might like to try writing, creating, or talking. Or perhaps just taking the space to think it through, either staring at a blank wall, or while you exercise.
One strange consequence of the lockdown seems to be that some people are finding themselves with much more time on their hands, while others are struggling with much less. If you are in the latter group it is all the more important that you find a way to get that time and space for yourself.
Phone and Video Call Counselling
In line with the government and BACP guidelines I have moved to phone and video call sessions only for the time being.
Some of us still feel more relaxed and able to open up on the phone; others find that video call feels more natural as a substitute for being in the room together. I am open to working in whichever way feels most comfortable to you.
For video sessions I am using the video conferencing app Zoom. Zoom is free, easy to use, and more secure than alternatives such as Skype.
Face to face meetings in the consulting room would always be my preference. But both phone and video counselling offer us really great alternatives for both individuals and couples.
There are of course a few considerations to be made. You will need to choose somewhere that is as comfortable, quiet, and private as possible.
For individual sessions you might like to sit in your car or talk while you’re taking your daily exercise, particularly if it is difficult to find somewhere suitable at home.
Many of the couples I see are currently working around having children at home. A film and a few snacks usually keeps them going long enough for us to finish our session!
Flexibility is key to my business model and I am aware that it matters more than ever. This is a very challenging time and I am happy to offer ad hoc individual or couples sessions as meets your needs right now.
Relationship Goals 2.0 sessions are sadly suspended until further notice.
However, I am working on an online course to support couples through the extra stress that we are all under. This will include loads of practical tips for coping with the challenges of being on lockdown together.
I’ll be back in touch soon with further details!
Now Is The Time To Reach Out For Help
This is a moment for all of us to be as kind, considerate, supportive and flexible with each other as we can.
But this is not as easy as it sounds, especially when we’re under so much pressure.
This is not a situation which any of us would have chosen. But it is one which presents us with enormous potential for growth.
When we are able to calm ourselves down and notice our reactions to the challenges we are being presented with, we will learn a great deal about ourselves.
If you would like to arrange a session, or just to discuss if or how either individual or couples counselling might be of help right now, you can contact me here.