This Collective Coronavirus Trauma
We are all coping with the same collective trauma. For all of us, whatever our job or lot in life, we are being worn down by this pandemic. People I talk with are feeling anxious, down, lonely, worried about that tickle in the throat, bored, angry, concerned about money, tied to their phones, and just struggling with a hundred other manifestations of these pensive months. It’s the Spring of our discontent.
With all this stress, how are so many of us getting through the day? This is where our creativity, stubbornness, reluctant bravery and compassion come to the fore. We just try to be there for ourselves and each other, because most of us are wise enough to know how truly connected we are right now.
Virtual Therapy is a Blessing
Tele-therapy is the only way I’m practicing therapy during the present State of Emergency. At first, I thought it awkward, more visual than verbal, and just one more reliance on technology. Yet, I have to say it’s been such a blessing to have this option. Tele-therapy works just as well and promotes connection at a time when that’s a precious commodity.
There are some new challenges when using tele-therapy. I find myself needing to convey empathy more with movement and expressions (hands, nodding, etc) because if we both talk at the same time, it can interrupt the flow of the conversation. I also find that it may be harder to pick up on subtle emotional states, or breathing patterns, because the camera limits us to a more restricted view. To compensate for that, I’m doing more checking in, asking if I’m getting your meaning, or if I’m missing anything that you are communicating. Other than that, therapy is therapy, and most sessions feel pretty much like they always have.
Power in the Present Moment
Psychotherapy is defined by a relationship that helps people resolve “unfinished business,” and concurrently helps people make present centered choices that make “now” a better place to be.
Historically, psychotherapy placed a large emphasis on healing the self and getting past the pain points. More recently, therapy centers on empowerment in the present moment. What can I do now to help myself, this minute, today? What can I do to be more connected with others right now? What can I do to just be at peace—no pressure to change anything? How can I accept my grief, and still find some contentment each day? What can I do to relax and just enjoy what’s happening?
Both “sides” of therapy are needed as we cope with this current crisis. In my work, I am striving to empower people to have meaningful relationships with themselves and with others. We each need to feel that we have some kind of influence/control during any given, uncertain pandemic day. There must be something we can do to acknowledge the current trauma and find hope as well.
Through May, I am offering one free tele-session to eligible adults in an “Essential” job directly impacted by this dis-ease. That would include medical, transportation, delivery, first responders, grocery, etc. and/or those who have a loved one with Covid-19. After the introductory session, if you choose, I plan to help you continue intermittent counseling, at a reduced out of pocket rate of $50/session, also through May.
Phillip Yassenoff has for 20 years helped people find creative solutions, gain perspective, cope with change, and generally feel stronger. Phillip earned an M.Ed. from Ohio University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Learn more about Philip
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