As we settle into this new normal, all of us have experienced disruptions in our daily lives.  Some minor, some much more significant.  Psychotherapy provides a place to process our losses, manage the unpredictability and develop the coping skills so necessary in the face of this global crisis.  Humans function best when we have predictability and stability.  The virus has forced us to live in a world that is everchanging. Decisions are difficult, plans must be tentative, and disappointments are frequent. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others have lost jobs or internships.  Essential workers live with the daily anxiety of getting sick or exposing those around them. Our first responders and health care workers have experienced astounding challenges and losses.

It is more important than ever to recognize that emotions are signals.  When we take time to understand the emotions, and the challenges causing these emotions, we can use them. Sometimes the emotions signal a need to stop and acknowledge a loss, tolerate anxiety, or let ourselves feel anger.  At other times we should use our emotions to propel us into action. During times of loss and trauma, our anger, sadness, and anxiety come in waves. They can be triggered by a specific event or seem to come out of the blue. During a sustained crisis like COVID-19, the duration and intensity of these waves of emotion can feel frightening. 

Some losses are permanent.  Graduations, proms, the ability to  grieve a loved one together. These losses cannot be replaced. We, as communities, have done our best to honor these moments, but we must also grieve what we wish they had been. Also remember to acknowledge the loss of things in your daily lives that nurture you.  If it is going to the gym, watching or attending games, or being with friends, these losses are real.  They are temporary.  Try to find ways to maintain healthy balance.  Sleep, nutrition, physical activity, mindful time, meditation, and humor will sustain us through this.  Care for yourselves and care for each other.  Anxiety is contagious.  So far everything that is happening has been predicted by the scientists. Trust them when making decisions.

The uncertainty of these times can exacerbate challenges such as learning difficulties, anxiety, depression, social isolation, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. I have continued therapy sessions with my ongoing therapy clients through Zoom sessions or phone sessions. The quality of care has been maintained, and my plan is to continue telehealth sessions indefinitely. This allows clients to minimize exposure to more people than is necessary, while continuing their care with me. 

As I transition back to full-time practice, I will begin accepting new psychotherapy clients on July 1, 2020.  We know that the relationship formed between a client and their therapist is often the most important factor in successful therapy.  Some clients have found telehealth sessions to be as helpful, and for some even more helpful, than in-person sessions.  However, meeting for the first time by phone or Zoom will present new challenges. We can assess together the effectiveness of telehealth sessions.  The ability to resume in-person sessions will be re-evaluated regularly, based on consultations with colleagues and health professionals.  Physical distancing requirements create new emotional needs, such as strategies for learning online, parenting during COVID-19, and creating healthy balance for ourselves and our families.  I am available to help with these challenges as well.

Additionally, I never turn clients away for financial reasons. If you are experiencing financial challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, or for any other reason, please reach out to me and we will work something out.