This global pandemic has forced many of us to be creative and flexible with the way in which we complete our work. With most of us being asked to work from home, we are experiencing the challenges and conveniences of technology on a full-time basis – teleconferences, online training sessions, and, in my case, telemedicine or telehealth. Don’t get me wrong – this is not the first time that I have done online counselling. I’ve been doing video and telephone sessions for a while now, but it has not been a predominant aspect of my services. I consider myself grateful for being able to still provide support to my clients during this time, even if it is not the most ideal way of connecting with people.
After completing a little over two weeks doing video and telephone sessions, I thought it would be helpful to review the good and the not-so-good aspects of these methods, as well as, strategies that may help make this process less uncomfortable.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
It is so easy to be hard on ourselves for not coping the way we think we “should” cope with these changes. In many of my sessions this week, the message that I have been consistently delivering is this: Be Kind to Yourself.
There is no formula or protocol that we have been formally or informally trained to practice during a global pandemic. We have no idea what to expect. We are in survival mode at this point. So what do we do now?
Having two young boys of my own, I have acknowledged that we now live in a technologically-dependent society: everywhere we go, we can access information and create social networks through our electronic devices – cellphones, tablets, laptops, computers, etc. The idea of being in an area with no WIFI can be devastating to some and losing our mobile devices can be as stressful as losing our wallets, cameras, calendars, and any other vital possession that we may own to keep in touch with the modern world.
On International Women’s Day, I was honoured to be asked to co-facilitate a workshop on communication, with a focus on technological boundaries and navigating through difficult conversations. So, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to share this information for my latest blog entry.
As a therapist and counsellor, I hear it often: “I don’t know if I need counselling. I’m not crazy”. Language is a powerful thing. And the first thing I try to do is NORMALIZE. I remind them that our mental health is the same as our physical health: just as we all have vital organs that keep us alive, we all have emotions that naturally respond to the environment or situation surrounding us. When we have aches and pains, we sometimes postpone our visits to the doctor or forget to take our medication. We may skip our daily jog or indulge in a double burger with bacon and cheese. And, sometimes, we have difficulties managing our emotions or taking care of ourselves mentally by engaging in regular self-care or seeking professional help.
Our emotions are vital to our existence and all serve an important function – even the unpleasant ones. They tell us that we either like or dislike what is going around us, they tell us to take extra caution if we feel that we are at risk of being physically, socially, or emotionally harmed. When we try to deny our emotions or minimize them, we introduce another emotion – GUILT. And this feeling can make whatever we are experiencing seem a million times worse.
Organization isn’t about perfection. It is about efficiency, reducing stress & clutter, and saving time & money, & improving your overall quality of life.
There are many constants that I like to emphasize during my counselling sessions. Some are based on theory, some on personal or professional experience. Regardless of the presenting issue, I have three principles of stress reduction that I like to encourage all of my clients to embrace:
Another year has come and gone, most likely with some highs and lows. It can be very easy for us to “filter” and direct our focus on our most difficult times, but recalling the steps forward, regardless of whether they are significant strides or tiny steps, is always helpful in maintaining hope for the year to come. And so, here is my Year in Review: the Good, the Not-So-Good and the Hopeful.
My colleague, Uresha Salgado, and I are VERY excited to host our first workshop in the Georgetown area!
On Tuesday, August 14th, we will be having a one-day workshop for students transitioning from grade 8 to high school and are feeling worried or nervous about this change. It will be a supportive group that will explore, process, and work through some of the common worries that occur during this time.
If you know of anyone in the Georgetown area that may benefit from this program, or for more information, contact me. Depending on the number of referrals, there also may be a possibility to extend to another day at the end of August.
It seems like more and more frequently, we find ourselves bombarded with media coverage about tragedies that occur randomly and unexpected. School shootings. Bus accidents. Innocent children and youth dying. Acts of violence towards strangers. Sometimes, watching the local news can be more terrifying than the movies and television shows we “responsibly” use our parental blocks to shield our children from the horrors of computer animation and gratuitous gore and bloodshed.
It is not surprising, then, that our young ones are becoming increasingly anxious about arbitrary and general and unspecific situations. We may wonder why our sons and daughters are worried about practically everything and we may try to comfort them by telling them that they have nothing to worry about. However, in my work with children and youth, although this interaction is, at best, full of positive intentions to support and help, it is often viewed as minimizing and insincere. It can also send the message that these feelings are not okay or “normal”.
I am very excited to announce that I am now able to provide direct billing for clients who are covered for Registered Social Workers with GreenShield Canada and SSQ Financial Group! For more information, please feel free to contact me.
Supervision Services & Consultation
I am also excited to begin providing supervision services and consultation for Registered Social Workers. Services will be available via telephone, video consult, or in person in Orangeville or Georgetown.
It is officially the “day of love” – it’s Valentine’s Day. For some, this is a very important time to spend with loved ones and celebrate our relationships and connections. For others, this can be a difficult day, especially if we feel disconnected or alone. I am a firm believer that Valentine’s day is simply just a day, and that if we value our relationships with others, whether romantic, familial or platonic, we should celebrate this everyday. But one relationship we tend to forget most is the relationship that we have with ourselves.