COVID — A Catalyst for Counseling

GoslingsTHERAPY CAN’T SOLVEPANDEMIC. Right? So why seek coun­sel­ing when our lifestyles are in chaos? The dan­ger of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion and ill­ness is real. Some lead­ers focus on resus­ci­tat­ing the econ­o­my, some lead­ers are envi­sion­ing a uni­ver­sal health plan. Cer­tain­ly, hav­ing a rig­or­ous pub­lic health sys­tem that pro­vides oodles of test­ing, track­ing of those exposed to the virus, and inves­ti­gat­ing a vac­cine is para­mount. Psy­chother­a­py def­i­nite­ly adds strength to the tapes­try of health care. How?

Cou­ples ther­a­py is excel­lent for the stress acti­vat­ed from phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing. (I don’t believe in social dis­tanc­ing). In Boston many cou­ples are crammed togeth­er. With­out play­grounds, lacrosse leagues, and trips to the farm, dai­ly frus­tra­tions build. The times are crazy, not people.

The virus has caused dread and grief. In 2020, across the land peo­ple have lost mon­ey, free­dom, and phys­i­cal embraces. Worse than the loss of phys­i­cal touch is the loss of dreams. The pan­dem­ic need not pro­duce more anx­i­ety or hope­less­ness. Ther­a­py can help 100% with stress, with loss and listlessness.

In coun­sel­ing, a new crop of cop­ing has emerged. Some clients are declut­ter­ing, some have decid­ed to reduce their depen­den­cy on wine or on hookah. Gar­dens are emerg­ing, fresh and col­or­ful. I start­ed a gar­den to attract pol­li­na­tors behind a shed. Peo­ple are look­ing to change bad habits. Here are tips to whet the appetite:

  • More self-care, not self-indul­gence. Learn a new med­i­ta­tion prac­tice. If you can’t take a phys­i­cal break away from fam­i­ly, put on your favorite songs with some head­phones. Cus­tomize yoga with your own sequence of moves. Learn a new breath­ing tech­nique like Ocean Breath, Drag­on Breath, or Sloooow breath­ing. My part­ner after doing yoga for 30 years learned a new move for their stom­ach called, Buf­fa­lo Plow­ing Field.
  • More relax­ation or new hob­bies. Recite new poet­ry, brew a dif­fer­ent tea, find a favorite board game like backgam­mon online, when you want to send a ‘Get-Well-Card’ cre­ate one your­self. I saw some­one who designed their own face­mask with a gay rights and rain­bow design.
  • Con­crete help for oth­ers, increas­es well-being. Join a local neigh­bor­hood aid group, advo­cate for the dis­en­fran­chised, sup­port Black-owned or Indige­nous busi­ness­es or NGOs, plant trees.
  • More quan­ti­ty time with your part­ner can lead to more qual­i­ty time. I encour­age cou­ples to con­tin­ue with a date night. Theo and Alex order out take-out sushi and make sure to sit on a pil­low low to the floor with chop­sticks. Anoth­er cou­ple uses cin­e­matog­ra­phy, with for­eign movies like Tomboy after the baby goes to sleep.

I’m pro­pelled to write this mes­sage. With all the empha­sis I can muster, I say, “Don’t give up!” I have seen amaz­ing suc­cess in ther­a­py with cou­ples, sin­gle moms, even strand­ed stu­dents. Ther­a­py dur­ing COVID is a win-win proposition.

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