These are unprecedented times for all of us. We are being asked to adjust into a new way of being and living for the foreseeable future.
We have been asked to socially distance ourselves from our friends and families; we can understand the reasons but may still have more questions than answers. We are having to learn to live with uncertainty. It’s early days and we need to learn to be patient with ourselves, whilst we figure out just how we do that.
If you are considering seeing a therapist or have started work with one, should you continue?
It’s your choice of course. When you “try on” pausing your therapy for now, how does it feel? When you think about continuing, which questions spring to mind?
You may be wondering if seeing a therapist counts as “essential”. If you're working through an anxiety of fear of flying then no, that can wait and anyway there aren’t a lot of planes flying anywhere at the moment.
However if you’re working through other anxiety issues, or an issue that may be made worse by social distancing, then it could be that therapy is the one thing it’s not time to isolate yourself from.
What measures are therapists taking?
Therapists will vary in the measures they are taking, but will be able to explain their approach to you. Many will be told by their governing bodies what they can and can't do, so the decisions may have been made for them.
I’m fortunate, my therapy room is self-contained, is spacious and has a sink in it. This means the client and myself can sit more than 2 metres apart. I have introduced a new routine of wiping down my client chair, door handles and toilet (if used) between sessions with medical wipes. I make sure I wash my hands between sessions and of course have the sink for clients to use and wash their hands.
I’m also of course asking clients to re-schedule if they need to self-isolate due to their own symptoms or someone in their household having symptoms.
You may also have the option of having some or all of your sessions online, via Skype or Zoom for instance. On-line therapy was growing in popularity even before we first heard about the corona virus, some clients even prefer it.
What if my therapist can no longer see me?
If you have been having hands-on therapy which cannot continue online then why not consider another form of therapy, just for now.
Good therapists will be aware of other good therapists in their area, not only therapists in the same therapeutic discipline but also other types. This is because as professionals we're aware no one type of therapy suits everyone, so we always like to be able to recommend alternatives if we feel our own service may not be the best approach for a client. Equally if a client decides to discontinue with us, we like to remind them there are lots of alternatives.
So why not ask your current therapist about alternatives? I know if I was asked I wouldn't see this as a slight on my abilities, I'd be glad my opinion was valued.
What if I need to postpone an appointment?
Most therapists I know are being flexible about re-scheduling appointments at the moment. After all we may ourselves, for a short time, need to re-schedule some of our clients because we need to self-isolate for a while.
But I want you to know we are still here, to support you. That’s our job.