the covid 19 pandemic and what it means for counselling in Nanaimo
the covid 19 pandemic and What it means for counselling in NANaimo
These are trying times and a lot of people are experiencing a high degree of anxiety, fear, isolation, and grief.
We're hearing from a lot of our clients about the specific challenges they and their families are dealing with. These include such concerns as: financial security, health concerns (especially for the elderly and vulnerable populations), feelings of isolation, depression and fear, etc.
Please know that as isolated as you may feel, you don't have to go it alone. We are continuing to work hard to provide our clients and our community with compassionate, professional clinical support to help get through this difficult situation. Read on to learn about what we are doing to remain open and provide for a safety, what you can do for yourselves, and more...
What we at The Therapy Place are doing to remain open and able to assist you
Know first off that we are taking this very seriously. We are continuing to appraise ourselves of the latest information in order to make informed decisions regarding our clinic's practices.
Face-to-face Sessions are available... with conditions.
In keeping with WorkBC regulations, we are again providing face-to-face counselling sessions! (For those who would prefer to stick with online counselling, we're still doing that too. See below...) For in-person sessions, we ask that anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms please remain at home. We are committed to sanitizing our offices between sessions, keeping windows open for airflow, and ensuring proper social distancing recommendations. We've got loads of hand sanitizer, facemasks for those who would like us to wear them, and fancy HEPA air purifiers for that extra layer. Please note that our waiting room is not available for client use at this time, and we'd ask that you simply arrive at the scheduled session start time so we can usher you straight into our offices. To view our full WorkBC worksite safety plan, click here.
Online Counselling: (This is where we get creative!)
We are so very fortunate to live in times where we have video conferencing available. We provide our clients with state-of-the art, securely encrypted video counselling technology. It's like Skype... but much better! Get the clinical support you need without leaving the comfort and safety of your home! All you need is a camera-equipped phone, computer, or tablet. (For those who don't have a camera-equipped device, we also provide telephone sessions.)
The choice between in-person and online/phone sessions is entirely yours. We want you to feel safe and comfortable, and we're doing what we reasonably can to ensure we're holding up our end.
What can you do to benefit your mental health right now?
Normalize your life despite the upheaval
Normalize your routine as much as possible! This is true for everyone practicing social distancing. But it is especially true for those who aren't working and for whom the normal routine of life is thrown into the air entirely. Without a routine, our psyche gets bent out of shape. We need routine to remain grounded and to orient ourselves properly. Make a schedule and stick to it!
Normalize conversation! When things like this happen, we tend to talk about it a lot. All the time. With everyone. I'm not suggesting that we stop talking about it entirely , but am instead reminding people of the importance of talking about stuff other than the coronavirus and its effects on the world. What are good things that are happening? What are things you'd like to do? What are the funny things that you saw or heard? What are important things you are learning? Get your family/loved ones to commit to rounding out the conversation!
Normalize your news. Are you constantly watching/reading news? How much of it is good right now? We need to stay informed, but in our quest for information it's really easy to get oversaturated with all the scary and negative stuff. This feeds our feelings of anxiety and despair. Slow down the newsstream. Really! Stick to one or two reputable news sites per day, and steer away from social media-generated sources as a primary news source.
Get some exercize!
Whether you are in full-on isolation mode or are on the more liberal end of the social distancing spectrum, there are plenty of ways to get into shape! Research has proven over and over that regular physical exercize helps us with stress, depression, anxiety, etc. You might be one of the many people who have been saying that they would exercize more if only they had the time... Well, here's your chance!
Studies have shown that in our times of great technological inter-connectedness, people have been feeling lonelier than ever. Part of this is due to the way people have been connecting: one-line text messages, polished but hollow Instagram/Facebook posts, likes and follows. And now our traditional ways of connecting face-to-face are now being challenged as well, and consequently many of us are relying even more on technological ways of connecting. But it doesn't have to be superficial, brief, or hollow!
If you used to have a routine of going out for a coffee with a friend or a group of friends and now find yourself unable to, find a new way of still doing it! It might be as simple as scheduling time to meet for an hour online over a coffee at home instead! The same can be true for time spent with gym friends, beer buddies, or shopping dates. Get creative and make a point of spending time with your peeps, even if the medium has to shift to online!
In whatever way you can, use this as an opportunity!
We're not trying to be trite or minimize people's suffering. That suffering, for many people, is very real right now. But we all need to find ways of making our way through this time of uncertainty, economic hardship, emotional stress and social isolation. How do we do that? We make the best of it. Yes, trite as it might be, it is also true.
Allow your feelings of sadness or anger or fear, and then allow for something else.
Opportunity is a strange thing to think of in times of adversity, but it serves to inoculate us against hopelessness, despair, and fear. Interesting fact: we can't simultaneously feel fear (i.e. think about negative things while feeling excitement (i.e. anticipating positive things). Which one do you want to pick?
Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Learn to change your own oil? Learn to knit/sew? Have you been looking forward to planting a vegetable garden or build a tree house? Have you been waiting for the chance to read a great book or even better, to write one? If you suddenly find yourself with time on your hands and are spending too much time on Facebook, pick something exciting to get into. Seize the opportunity... it'll do you good!
Finally... for those interested who would like to hear more on this topic, Ron did an interview regarding dealing with stress in the times of the Covid 19 pandemic (see below)
Warmest wishes from us to you in these interesting times,
Ron Depner, RCC
& Andrew Bertram, RCC