A counsellor in lockdown.

We are now over two months into lockdown. Throughout this time I have continued working with clients (through the agency I work for as a co-cultural counsellor), moving my practice to video or phone sessions, which are working well.

My work with clients during this time has in many ways mirrored my own thinking and processing about the situation we find ourselves in. In the couple of weeks immediately after the beginning of lockdown, Coronavirus took up much of the focus of our sessions.

Some clients came to sessions with worries and fears about the health of parents or vulnerable people in their lives or their own health. Others had to quickly adapt to working from home, being on unpaid leave, or continuing to work in front line healthcare, or home schooling children. It took us all a bit of time to try and make sense of the lockdown rules. The general sense of anxiety and uncertainty of the situation exacerbated by the intense and fearsome media reporting made the virus feel all encompassing. So it was not surprising that Covid-19 took up much of our time in those early weeks.

Now, 9 weeks on, with time to normalize and get our heads around things, and with some light at the end of the tunnel as restrictions begin to slowly lift, coronavirus has mostly moved into the background.

With some clients, the work has circled back to the initial issues pre-covid. With other clients, some new issues have emerged as a result of lockdown,

Overall, clients have reported having more time and space to reflect on their lives. Being mindful that the usual distractions like hobbies, work, friends, exercise are not easily accessed at the minute. So I have been working with clients to help them develop strategies to manage new emerging thoughts and feelings without becoming overwhelmed.

Clients who had been feeling burned out, report feeling benefit from having the time to rest, work less, avoid the morning commute in to work, or spend more time with those closes to them in lockdown.

Of those clients who had been feeling very socially isolated in their lives before lockdown, some now report feeling that they feel equal or part of the community around them for the first time in a long time, because now everyone is isolating, not just them.

In some cases it seems lockdown has provided a chink of light, an insight into what changes the client would like to make and how life could be post lockdown. Some of the work then we have started to do is to start planting the seeds for a new way of living.

So this continues to be an unusual time indeed, but there is a shift happening at the same time for all of us. And I will, as always, continue to work with whatever clients bring to sessions and we will adapt and grow into a new way of being in a post-lockdown world.

“That discomfort you’re feel is grief” coronavirus, anxiety and a changing world .

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought up intense, confusing and uncomfortable feelings for all of us.

This calm and thoughtful article from the Harvard Business school features David Kessler who is a leading expert on grief. I have found it useful when working with clients through this time.

Kessler talks us through the stages of grief and says that much of what we are experiencing right now is a form of collective grief.

He also outlines the effects of distorted thinking and ‘anticipatatory grief’ on those of us predisposes to anxiety or anxious thinking patterns, and says the key to managing our mental health during this time is by finding balance (among good news/bad news stories), acceptance and finding meaning.

You can read the article in full by clicking on the link below: