We are moving into the 9th (5/11 to 5/15) of social distancing and essential business shutting down due to COVID-19.
The important news this week was the possible re-open of the business in the coming week. There are a lot of talks going on in the news and social media about re-open the market.
My emotional brain is thinking: I finally got used to my new schedule and got used to the Telehealth. My logical mind knows that the only thing that is never going to change is changing. So, I better start to come up with some new plans to ease everyone back to the in-person sessions.
I have some conflicted feelings about the so-called “new normal.” On the one hand, I know Telehealth is not going to replace in-person therapy. On the other hand, Telehealth is so convenient for many clients. I have no answer as to how this is going to end, but I know the insurance company is probably going to dictate our decision.
The other situation/realization this week is the idea of “control,” and “freedom.” Somehow, some of my clients just realized the lack of control over the last 8 weeks and a sudden emotional outburst about lacking control. This thing about “control” is a conflicted feeling to me. I used the word “conflicted” to describe the sense of control because I often feel that control is such a paradox. I have come to accept how little control I have about my life as I grow older. In the meantime, I also know that I do have quite a control and power over how I want to live my life. For example, I have no control over whether the people I encountered on a daily basis going to follow the social distancing rules. I live in a big apartment complex. Whenever I leave my unit, I put on my masks. However, many of my neighbors don’t put on their masks. Do I have control over their choices? The answer is no, I don’t have control over their behaviors and preferences, and therefore, I feel very vulnerable in my safety. In the meantime, I do have a lot of control over protecting myself such as always washing my hand when go in and out of any public places.
So, for me, “control” is such a paradox thing and probably is one of the main themes in psychotherapy.
There are two incidents that I am very grateful for this week. One of the clients whom I have worked with for over a year with EMDR. This client is also a health care provider. This client suffered a long-term depression since adolescence. When the pandemic started, this client was already under a lot of stress to have to react to the pandemic. In the meantime, we were in the middle of processing a very traumatic childhood memory. Now, two months after the epidemic started, I was talking to this client to cut down the frequency of the therapy because the client has been doing so well in the past couple of weeks.
The other incident was the conversation with another client who had to put the therapy on hold due to being a health care provider. The client called me last week to start the treatment again. This client told me this during the session this week:
“I was so overwhelmed and anxious in the xxxx (client’s work place) with the machine beeping around me. Suddenly, I heard your voice telling me to breath and notice what my body feels. I can feel myself in ……. (the client’s calm place) and you are reminding me to knead my toes. Suddenly, I know I am going to be OK and I can continue to do my job for people who needed me.”
After doing this job for so long, it’s hard for me to say I feel “satisfied” or “fulfilled” daily. These are two of those rare moments when I did feel fulfilled about my job. It’s not about what I do for the client. It’s to know that I was there or my voice was there with this particular client when needed. Knowing that I can be a source of grounding when the client was at the worst moment was a fulfillment for me.
Also, seeing my client who suffered depression for over 15 years to enjoy life ad to feel the joy of life and people around her gave me hope. Why? I know that this client’s family of creation can enjoy their lives together. It gives me hope that the client’s next generation can grow up in a happy family with happy parents than in the family where my client grew up. That’s what made me feel hopeful.
This week, I actually have two of those grateful moments. I feel thankful for being able to provide EMDR therapy and for what my job brings me.