Rachel Fleischman, LCSW, REAT and Laurel Roberts Meese, LMFT
1) What are you telling clients who just can't seem to get away from the news?
LRM: There's only one topic in the news right now. All of us are deeply impacted.
People are looking for reassurance that we're gonna be ok and needing guidance in the interim. Someday of course we will be ok. People need a lot of direction, and therapists need to give direction. We may check in more than once a week, especially if someone is isolated. I might reach out more. I am thinking about my clients. The therapy goes beyond the one hour we spend together
RF: I am obsessed w structure, I want everyone to have a dedicated space, a home nook to take care of themselves and do therapy now that we've moved online. Ritual and structure, and staying in the present are the best things we can do for ourselves.
2) What are You Doing for Yourself?
LRM: There's a saying in our field: “You have to walk your talk”. I'm doing the same thing I'm telling clients. I'm making sure Im moving every day, monitoring how much social media and news I'm taking in - we do need to we informed, but we do not need to be flooded. I'm finding time to laugh and relax and be with loved ones. I'm also doing online workouts everyday
RF: This is hard for me as I love our office. But keeping to a schedule, going for at least two walks a day, and anything creative. Keeping things fresh with crafts, jigsaw puzzles, and moving in my physical space. I've found phone calls are extra satisfying, as well as connecting to the arts and volunteering through raising funds. I also love goofy stuff, like a virtual Challah bake coming up. I can't emphasize fresh air and staying to that schedule enough!
3) What about this idea that this is The “New Normal”
LRM: We are in a temporary new normal. It's the new "for now" and I actually am looking forward to see how this changes some professions. We will see positives come out of this way down the line. We must keep the longer term in mind. That helps my anxiety. I also always have in mind that we have been through so many things and this is reminding people of other experiences: 9/11, Vietnam, the AIDS crisis, the assassination of JFK all shook our collective sense of safety at the time, and after a while we were able to return to a sense of safety and normalcy. We will again now. We're resilient.
RF: I begrudge the term like it's said in a harsh way like all things are shuttered. We are moving in and out of new normals all the time. Recommend A Paradise Built From Hell by Rebecca Solnit and Full Catastrophe Living by John Kabat Zinn, MD, to help remind ourselves how resilient we are.
4) Favorite grounding technique
LRM: Mindfulness; it's like portable meditation you can do it anywhere, anytime – staying in the present, checking what's real right now...what do I see, hear, feel in my body
RF: Walking, something about being in sneakers and looking up is really soothing, then taking a shower afterwards. I also love doing jigsaw puzzles, sitting and focusing on the one piece of jigsaw puzzle I have in my hand at a time. I also use the Metta prayer:
“May All Beings Everywhere
Be Happy and Safe and Free”
5) Finding other ways to stay connected
We are available and we have many resources. We're both looking forward to connecting in new ways. It shouldn't be hard!
If you need low fee therapy: New Perspectives Center for Counseling is a wonderful clinic.
More About Laurel
More About Rachel