When this stupid disease kicked off and we were all forced in to hiding, (I say hiding because that is what it feels like, and effectively we are all in hiding, hiding from this bloody virus) my first thought and panic was about my clients. I worried about having to take them online as this wasn't my usual way of practise. I'm what you might think of as an old fashioned counsellor (although I'm still relatively youngish, okay, maybe middish). I am more accustomed to face to face counselling. So here I was at the beginning of this crisis with the dilemma of either letting my clients down and cancelling my sessions for the (un)foreseeable future or putting my brave pants on and learning how to Zoom in order continue working with my fabulous clients. I choose the latter after a minny meltdown. Well I'm only human after all. Anyway, here I am 5 weeks in and going strong with my zooming and while I'm missing working with clients face to face, I am in fact grateful that at least a we have a platform to continue our work. A couple of clients have moved to telephone and that works well too.
It's funny that no matter how set in our ways we are, us humans are very much adaptable to change. I don't know how many times I've heard clients (especially when I worked in prisons) say they didn't cope well with change. I often challenged this concept. Do you eat the same foods every day? Do you wear the same the clothes everyday? Do you attend the same groups, speak with the same people and carry out the same activities every single day? No was always the reply, well then I'd say exactly what change is it you talk about? I've been thinking about this a lot lately, I've never been one to say I don't like change but I think this pandemic brought me close to it. Then it hit me, it isn't about change at all, it's about having no control.
When this country went into lock down I felt as though I was completely powerless. I was being backed into a corner that I was ready for, I wasn't prepared for this at all. But so far I've survived, so far I still get to meet with my clients, so far life continues, maybe not as it once once did, but it continues. Just as it continues for you.
Life isn't the same anymore though is it? Whoever thought we'd all be queuing up outside supermarkets and we'd be stopped from meeting up with friends and family, visiting coffee shops and jumping in our cars to take our dogs on long country walks? This wasn't anything I'd certainly ever thought about before. My life was extremely fast paced, having a family, working in a rehab and having a busy private practise. In fact i'd only just stopped working in the rehab after agreeing to a zero hours contract because for me self care is important and if I'm not looking after myself I can't be mentally and emotionally available to my clients and my clients certainly deserve much more than that. And here we are going on another journey together. The covid-19 journey.
I look forward to the day I can meet with my clients face to face again, I look forward to the day we actually get to sit in the same room together rather than meeting across a computer screen. Although I have to admit, one bonus is that now I am able to offer Zoom sessions to new clients. This something I am grateful for, that people who all of a sudden find themselves in a place where they are challenged and conflicted, can still access counselling. The service hasn't shut own, and counsellors across the country have made the transition to Zoom and telephone because we know this a fundamental service that needs to always be available no matter what the world throws at us. We are ready to go when you need us. All I can say it thank goodness for technology!