Supporting Your Clients And Yourself During A Pandemic

The media’s core message on the coronavirus is that even if we behave, coronavirus will change life as we know it for years to come: massive job loss, disease, and yes death, rivaling the Spanish Flu which killed 50 to 100 million people. These are wildly unrealistic and unhealthy messages that can cause fear for us and our clients.

Coronavirus has the potential to bring up all sorts of very difficult memories from the past. It could be that it reminds your client of a previous bereavement. Or perhaps they’ve been quarantined at some point before and this experience is bringing up those past emotions. Perhaps they’ve lost their freedom through incarceration at some point in their life and being told where to go and what to do is particularly hard for them. If your client or a loved one has experienced illness previously, they may find themselves experiencing all kinds of emotions as a result of the current pandemic.

While still being realistic, I find myself wanting to cultivate some positive perspectives for working with clients during these challenging days.

Regardless of who you are and what your path is, we are in tough times to say the least. To start with, we have to make sure we are looking after ourselves. It doesn’t have to be complicated and we don’t have to attempt to try and stick with unrealistic, positive mental health practices and resilience techniques.

  • Create pauses
  • Reach out to family and friends
  • Address any fears and help others to do so as well
  • Seek comfort in nature
  • Live in the present moment
  • Cultivate calm
  • Accept the unknown as a natural part of life

A wise one once said, “Fear creates the abyss; love crosses it.”

Embrace Remote Counseling Practices

With free videoconferencing (Skype, Zoom, Facetime) widely available, the idea of remote counseling has grown in appeal. Yet many practitioners mainly or exclusively do sessions in-person, believing it brings major advantages.

While in-person sessions build the bond between counselor and client, a skilled practitioner can build deep rapport by phone and especially on video.

  • During a video session with a client, you can reinforce the use of eye movements.
  • Take time to go over your scripts with clients to help them with eye movements to manage anxiety. 
  • Support your clients with phone check-ins

Online Trauma Therapy Can Now Be Provided

Laney has given some guidance on ART over telehealth and has even created some resources demonstrating how to support clients in remote sessions. In a recent video, she demonstrates the use of a helper, someone who is in the room with the client. This person is ideally from that household. Laney recommends that there is someone there assisting.

For more information about combining telehealth and ART, please visit

Practice Social Distancing

Social distancing is critical during a pandemic (Mounk Y, “Cancel Everything,” The Atlantic, March 10, 2020). There’s a lot of room for doubt, anxiety, and panic right now, but these can take a big toll on mental health as well. Let’s do our best to weigh out the risks and benefits. What is the risk of you traveling to see your clients? We all have to adhere to what our government advises for the safety of ourselves and our clients.

Provide Community Support

The Greek dramatist Aeschylus wrote: “Especially in times of darkness, that is the time to love, that an act of love might tip the scale.”

We all need to be strong and support each other in the community. You can email or call me and I’m here for everyone and we’ll all get through this together. Our clients and Canada need us more than ever. 

Take care, stay well, and many blessings


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