Want support for you or a loved one during these difficult days, when hugs and visits just aren’t possible?
Introducing isolation counselling, a new solution for a new problem.
While you may never have considered counselling normally, the times we are living in are far from normal, and many are struggling to cope.
Isolation is a huge change in lifestyle, and it is also extremely stressful, whether we are self-isolating or as directed by our health services.
Managing change is something that is a very common topic in counselling sessions. Adjusting to change is not always easy and where some find it easy, others may feel confused, nervous, lonely, helpless, and experience disrupted sleep.
Not surprisingly, many in isolation in our community are experiencing chronic stress from the events that are unfolding. So while chronic stress is not a mental health condition as such, it can lead to the development of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. The CDC even outlines the measures needed to manage stress from the COVID-19 situation.
Our team is here to provide preventative measures to maintain mental health in our community in these unprecedented times.
We have compiled this article to help you and those you love overcome the negative effects of isolation. This way you can take care of yourself, or share with your family and friends and be ready for the unfolding crisis, feeling well informed and calm. Just keep in mind that stress lowers the immune system response and at this point in history it is very important to manage stress well as we need our immune system working at an optimal level.
Here at Vision and M1 Psychology we are dedicated to helping you manage isolation and the effects of stress and uncertainty.
We want the community to proactively seek counselling as a stress release. Most of the people seeking isolation counselling will not usually have a mental health condition or be seeking counselling under normal circumstances, so this might be a new idea … by reading the following information you will be able to get a feel for whether isolation counselling might be helpful to you or a loved one or friend.
What can be helpful to discuss in my phone consult around isolation issues?
The phone consultation is for 30 minutes and is designed to be helpful as a once-off, or in a package of 5 or 10 sessions. Phone consultations have been found to be just as helpful in supporting mental health as face to face consults, and especially for stressful situations. Topics that will likely be discussed include:
1 – Your Individual Situation: The session would involve you explaining your unique situation and how you came to be stressed about things. Are you in isolation (either self-imposed or imposed by others)? Are you feeling lonely because your recreational activities have been cancelled? Who do you live with, and are there any unique events that have unfolded recently?
2 – Signs of Stress: There will be opportunity to reflect and clarify how you feel stressed. Are you a health/childcare/hairdresser/retail worker that has realised you are not sleeping so well? Are you stressed about fear of losing your job, becoming ill, about your family or friends, about your lifestyle being impacted, financial impact or seeing too much on media that is frightening?
3 – Sharing Fears and Making Plans: Some clients have wanted to talk about the media and how it has affected them. Some fear the media isn’t saying enough; others that the media is saying too many frightening things.
Clarifying your personal position on things really can help as we are all in very different situations. A nurse for example might fear exposure and that her child has asthma; a pensioner might fear mobility issues and not being able to find essential items; a worker in a cleaning company might fear their marriage is on the rocks since they are overworked; a teenager might fear their grandparents don’t take isolation seriously; a person just put in isolation who normally is super active and never home might “freak out” from the feeling of being a locked away. We want to stress that everyone is unique. The reason for one on one supportive counselling is that when we share our “fears”, the fear and stress reduces, we confirm that our planning is “good enough” and we feel less alone.
4 – Review Stress Management Strategies: Each person already has a raft of well-intentioned ways of coping with stress. However, in isolation suddenly not all those well learned coping mechanisms will be useful. Working out what you do well, or what else you can do, can be a life saver. Some of the skills our clients find helpful from these sessions include:
- Learning more advanced meditation skills;
- Improving social connection using innovative technology;
- Sensible back to basics lifestyle adjustments like cooking, gardening, spring cleaning, or calling an old friend;
- Mental strategies that redirect away from the uncontrolled, to things that feel controllable or are pleasurable;
- How well supported are you practically and emotionally?
- Trying new strategies to access the wiser and more creative areas of your mind.
5 – Adjusting to Change: Each session is designed to work around the rapidly changing events around us. One session could be helpful as a way to tell ourselves that we “have things under control”, we are “coping well enough”, and that we “have the skills to be effective”. Having more sessions could be a way to adjust faster to the changes.
We can imagine that session one might focus on how work is crazy and over stressful, followed by the next session that work was temporarily closed down and the resulting financial uncertainty, followed by work started up again and a family member getting the virus; and then another session around how you just don’t know how to focus on the competing demands of your work, your relationship or yourself.
As you can see, there’s no one certainty about tomorrow and the stress comes directly from being unable to adjust fast enough to the changes. We believe this approach to counselling is very solution focused. Solution focused therapy is designed as very brief therapy, and works with your own ability to manage and helps you to find your own solutions.
If you would like to manage your stress differently or if you want to buy a package for counselling for yourself or someone you are worried about at this time, please contact our Team.