I am your therapist. I am here for you. I will help you with your anxiety, depression, relationship troubles and be your beacon of hope. I will come up with interventions, clever reframes and help you see your strengths. I will steer you in the direction of healing, and success. And I will do it with a sense of humor and put you at ease.
But here’s what is happening to me during this worldwide health crisis: I am checking the news constantly. I am not eating healthy. I’m drinking too much wine. I wake up feeling anxious and go to sleep feeling anxious. I worry about my kids, my finances, my seventy-nine year old mother, my partner who works in a grocery store, my country, the world.
My therapist friends and I group-text all day long about how many clients are cancelling, if they like Telehealth or refuse to use it, and send funny memes. They are my support system and I couldn’t be more grateful for them.
Mental health and other health professional are not immune from the widespread angst that is overcoming our country, just as we are not immune from the virus itself. Most of my colleagues are not seeing clients in the office, and only offering video-sessions. If and when authorities tell me to “shelter in place” as they have for all of the San Francisco Bay Area, (7 million people) I too will have to go strictly to Telehealth.
You’re likely thinking, “Holy Shit! My therapist is a basket case!” Well Yes. And No…
The thing is, when you’re in my office, (or on video chat) all of this miraculously melts away. I continue to be the one you need me to be. I am in the moment and focused on helping you. I remember all of the things that you need to do to get through the stress, the waves of pain. And I am holding your pain strongly so that you can feel more relaxed. I’m even funny.
And here’s the confession: you are helping my angst, soothing my discomfort. When I’m in the flow of our session, I am putting aside my own needs. I am able to be hopeful and see the beauty. For that, I thank you.
This is not the time for either of us to bail on therapy. As tempting as it may be to cancel sessions when you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is truly the time you need it most. Let me continue to be your beacon of hope, and I will commit to allowing you to help me put aside my own fear.