The combination of the pandemic and racial unrest has been stressful for many. Racism, illness, uncertainty, anticipatory grief, changes to employment status and separation from usual social circles can be really challenging.
As a therapist, you may find you are seeing clients who are struggling with the weight of current events who are seeking help, maybe for the first time, or maybe in addition to the existing challenges they are seeking support around.
At Therachat we want to provide you with some tips on how to approach these difficult times in your practice. You may be struggling with some of these challenges yourself, in addition to potentially providing support in a telehealth format where you would normally deliver services in person.
Here are some of the things our clinical director, Dr. Wilson Cheh has been doing for his clients:
1) Create a safe space. Dr. Cheh has been reinforcing that therapy is a safe environment for the clients to unload and process how they have been impacted and their genuine thoughts. That sense of safety can help deepen the therapeutic relationship and improve the quality of interactions and conversations.
2) Help them dig deeper. On the surface, events are traumatic in themselves but it can be helpful to facilitate clients gaining insights on how their responses could be linked to their own personal fears, past traumas, internal tensions and conflicts. That perspective can help them understand and manage their emotions better.
3) Hold space. As your clients share their troubles, validate and hold the tension and suspense of the struggles with the clients while there may not be any resolution yet. In a time of loneliness and isolation, presence is so valuable.
4) Equip them with what they need. Offer practical tools to clients that match their needs to increase self awareness, self care, and internal capacities. Having tools in their toolbox to manage new challenges can increase client confidence, resilience and self-efficacy.
With these tips in mind, hopefully you will find yourself feeling better prepared to meet the challenges of your clients in these difficult times. By creating a safe space, helping them dig deeper, holding space and equipping patients with what they need, you will be able to continue to provide the same excellent level of care they have come to expect from you and your practice.
While you are busy taking care of your clients, make sure to take time to take care of yourself. The level of trauma and unrest is unprecedented and providing support to so many facing such difficulties can feel overwhelming. Self care is so important always, but especially these days as we navigate an ever-shifting landscape and new challenges in mental health and wellness.
At Therachat, we want to support you in growing and building your practice and wish you continued wellness, safety and comfort. We are proud to be part of the way you provide care and look forward to expanding the support we offer in the future. Thanks for being part of the Therachat family!
Sarina Arefzadeh is a Vancouver-based content marketer, mental health advocate, and pop culture enthusiast. She brings her education in psychology and sociology to unpack topics like tech, gender, mental health, and online life. She’s a speaker with Jack.org, regularly visiting schools to talk to students about their mental health, what it means, and how they can be there for themselves and their peers. Connect with Sarina on LinkedIn, Twitter, or by email.