We are all facing a difficult time which we were not anticipating. Due to the COVID19 our world as we know it is going through changes. While we are adjusting to the ‘lock-down’ measures, we try to understand its implications, to prepare ourselves and create a new way of life, work, and relationships.
The impact of a plague on individuals, groups and communities creates many shapes of fear, realisation of death rather than the illusion of safety and strength. The gap between the individual’s lack of control and the social resilience raises many questions regarding the relationship between the individual and the community. The COVID19 raises questions regarding our personal safety and responsibility towards others in the society, the elder and the young; the citizens and the migrant; the beneficiaries of the health care system, or the poor who have no resources for healthcare…
Experiences of loss may be expanded to include not only the previous world, relationships (also with the therapist/ client), freedom of movement, loss of job and income, loss of sense of health, loss of the daily routines and social structures.
To what extent do the changes in time and space of the therapeutic interaction create the feeling of additional loss?
Mental health clinics and various organisations and agencies that provide services to the community have to adapt to distanced caregiving. However, many therapists as well as clients find it difficult to accept the new setting of the therapeutic engagement, shifting to online platforms for communication.
As a therapist who is working in direct personal contact with other people, connecting intimately in order to bring support and ease the distress of another person, I find myself challenged to develop new ways of professional practice, which I could not realise before.
The first goal is to keep and continue communication with clients that may experience growing stress and being at higher risk than before. There are many ways to avoid breaking the trust and relationship with clients, from text messages, voice calls, video meetings etc. It is not ideal, and we need to work on developing new ways to make such interactions helpful and meaningful, despite its limitations. We need to redefine the boundaries and the ethical behaviour in the new models of therapeutic engagements.
What do we offer our clients? What new priorities do we see in therapy? Are we looking for ‘first aid’ kind of intervention to support people in the current moment as they are isolated, stressed about the unknown? Can we see people who are relieved from the hectic lifestyle they were trapped in before? What can we offer for better managing the daily challenges of home isolation, loss of routine, lack of physical activities, and various forms of disorders that disturbed people from functioning, while now they are not expected to function in the same way they did?
As an expressive art therapist I am focusing on the benefits of art making as a meaningful way to create new daily discipline, with balance between fun time and feeling of fulfilment.