Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Counseling Connoisseur: Hope in action and mental health

By Cheryl Fisher February 16, 2021

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. – Desmond Tutu

 

[NOTE: This is this first piece in a COVID-19 recovery series]

Without a doubt, 2020 was a challenging year. Many of us greeted the New Year with arms wide open in anticipation of better days ahead. Out with the old and in with the new. The months of isolation, social and physical distancing, masking up and suffering so many losses has taken their toll on our mental health. Public surveys and reports from mental health authorities show that rates of depression and anxiety have increased exponentially as people attempt to navigate remote work, virtual classrooms or even worse — unemployment. Election fatigue, inaugural distress and racial injustice continue to plague society. Coping strategies are restricted with the closing of gyms, places of worship and many other gathering spaces due to COVID-19. Reports of Zoom fatigue have blanketed media. People who have access to resources are reaching out to mental health providers who are also feeling the exhaustion from a year of unprecedented circumstances. My own practice has been booked months in advance, and I am turning away new client inquiries and referring to colleagues whose schedules are also full.

Yes, 2020 was a year like no other for many of us. Only time will tell if 2021 will be as chaotic, but we already face challenges such as continuing political unrest, the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the presence of new, more transmissible COVID-19 variants and the snail-paced vaccine distribution process. As we forge ahead, recovery from the trauma will take time, patience and work. Yet, there are signs of change. Glimmers of hope. Flickers of light from the shards of a very broken year.

The New Year promised a fresh start, and the appearance of the “Christmas Star” on the Winter Solstice was a beautiful way to usher in 2021. The “star” is actually an astronomical event during which Jupiter and Saturn align so closely that they look like one radiant light.

Although Saturn and Jupiter align with each other every 20 years, it has been 400 years since they were this close to each other and nearly 800 years since the “Great Conjunction” occurred at night. Some have speculated that the star described in the Bible as leading the three Wise Men to the site of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem was, in truth, a Great Conjunction. Whatever the explanation, it was a sign of hope and peace to those who followed — and the key element is they followed.

Saturn, top, and Jupiter, below, are seen after sunset from Shenandoah National Park, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Luray, Virginia. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Hope and mental health

As mental health clinicians, we know the importance of hope in wellness. Yet, we often forget that hope is also a verb. We create a space for hope in our sessions with our clients. We hold hope when our clients are unable.

There are three elements that accompany the experience of hope.

Having goals

Having something to work toward can provide us with structure and predictability. However, we want to craft goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART). That should sound familiar to counselors. Often goals are too broad. For example, in my other life I owned an aerobic company and often provided personal training to people who attended the aerobic classes. Goal setting was an integral part of the training. At times, my clients would give me goals such as, “I want to be healthy.” “I want to be skinny.” “I want to be happy.” or “ I want to be active.” I would follow up each request with “What exactly does that mean? Paint a picture for me of what being “healthy, skinny, happy, or active” means to you? Then we would break it down into specific, manageable goals in which “being healthy” may mean running a first 5K race or being skinny may mean losing 10 pounds.

This year, one of my big goals is to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary this summer with family face to face, even if we need to meet outdoors. I have missed my family desperately this year. However, we have family members who are vulnerable, and we have resisted gathering this year because of the risks of COVID-19. What more joyous way is there to come out of the darkness of the pandemic than by celebrating the commitment and legacy of my parents’ union together.

Feeling empowered to shape your daily life.

Envisioning the outcome of your goal is so much a part of the process. Performance psychologists have utilized imagery for decades with athletes. Imagine yourself as already attaining the goal. Feel it already accomplished.

It is also important to recognize our agency and there are times when we really do not have control over things. I like to ask myself, “What do I have control over? What don’t I have control over?” I then focus on areas under my control.

For example, I worked toward a family gathering goal with something I could control by scheduling renovations to my home during the pandemic lockdown. I now have the space to celebrate when I am able to gather with my family again.

Additionally, I have been fortunate to be included in the first rounds of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. So, I will be fully immunized, as will be most (if not all) of my family members by summer. While I still anticipate taking precautions, there will be greater confidence in gathering.

Identifying ways to make goals happen.

Really lean into the role you play in accomplishing your goals. What steps do you need to take to achieve them? If you want an advanced degree, what is the next step? Information gathering? Taking the GRE? Applying for funding? Create a chart of the actual actions needed to be taken to achieve your goal.

As I make ready my home for celebrations and follow the CDC guidelines around my vaccine schedule and follow up protocol, I am furthering the vaccination efforts by volunteering with my local medical response corps. I am assisting in providing human resources to advance the distribution of the vaccines so that my family and community will have a better chance of achieving full immunization sooner. Check with your local agencies to see how you can promote the change you want to see. For example, senior and community centers need assistance with helplines that reach out to vulnerable populations to help them navigate the online vaccine registration process.

Hope in action requires motion. It requires feeding the flame with movement toward goals, desires, dreams. Hope is choosing to look beyond the darkness to recognize even the smallest glimmers of light and then magnifying them with our words, actions and deeds. The Wise Men saw the brightness of the star, and rather than stay in the darkness, they chose to follow the light. That is hope. Hope in action.

Let your COVID-19 recovery begin with hope in action.

 

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Cheryl Fisher

Cheryl Fisher is a licensed clinical professional counselor in private practice in Annapolis, Maryland. She is director and assistant professor for Alliant International University California School of Professional Psychology’s online MA in Clinical Counseling.  Her research interests include examining sexuality and spirituality in young women with advanced breast cancer; nature-informed therapy; and geek therapy. She may be contacted at cyfisherphd@gmail.com.

 

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Opinions expressed and statements made in articles appearing on CT Online should not be assumed to represent the opinions of the editors or policies of the American Counseling Association.

No rest for the bullied

By Laurie Meyers February 1, 2021

The climate of intolerance, anger and, to put it plainly, hate, that was encouraged to bloom during the past four years have kept Jessi Eden Brown busy as the professional coach for the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) and in her private psychotherapy practice in Seattle. According to the WBI, targets of workplace bullying consistently reported more frequent and more brazen attacks, crippling sabotage, and mobbing based on known or assumed opposition to the Trump administration. Brown has seen this trend playout in her private practice and in her coaching work at the WBI. In the weeks surrounding the insurgent attack at the U.S. Capitol, two of Brown’s clients reported that workplace harassment had escalated to personal property damage.

“One had, ‘Trump 2020,’ scratched into the hood of his car in the employee parking garage,” says Brown, a licensed professional counselor. “And the other told me his locker was broken into [and] the contents [were] soaked in red paint, one day after the U.S. Capitol riot.”

The division between mask-wearers and anti-maskers during the pandemic has also created a pernicious type of bullying, Brown says. “For example, one client told me that three workplace bullies have ‘fake coughed’ in her direction for months, often followed by snickering and occasional obscene gestures. She said she considered reporting the problem to HR or management, but her last grievance resulted in retaliation, so she has opted to try to ignore it and keep wearing a mask.”

The pandemic has also contributed to an uptick in bullying in other ways, Brown says. “At the beginning of the pandemic, many of my clients reported an overwhelming sense of relief as they transitioned to remote work [and were] no longer required to face their bullies in person,” she explains. “Bullying tactics such as micromanaging, nonverbal intimidation and public humiliation were dampened by distance. However, for some clients, that period of calm was short-lived, as bullies began to weaponize the very technology we rely on to work from home. Clients told me their invitations to essential Zoom meetings were ‘somehow overlooked.’ They talked about the relative ease with which bullies manipulate reports and documents, craftily overinflating their contributions and minimizing the target’s value.”

Brown’s clients have also reported feelings of mounting isolation as they face increasing levels of resource gatekeeping.

The economic collapse brought on by the pandemic is also being wielded as a weapon, according to Brown. One client’s boss regularly makes threats such as “This is not the time to be jobless, so you really don’t want to screw up next week’s presentation.”

Brown says that, understandably, most of her bullied clients fear leaving their jobs during the pandemic, despite the abuse they are subjected to.

“Sometimes there are ways to push back and advocate for yourself; other times that may only make things worse,” she says, noting that the outcome is highly situationally dependent. “I work with my clients to explore their options and refocus whenever possible on addressing their health. Setting boundaries, boosting self-care and seeking outlets for processing pain and frustration — all might help the client survive in the job until the outlook is more positive.”

“A couple of my clients have reached their absolute limits in dealing with workplace aggressors and have opted to resign, transfer or prematurely retire despite the extraordinary uncertainty of a global pandemic,” Brown continues. “One client is taking advantage of the opportunity to return to school and recast her career in a different direction. The other is taking a bit of time off, living on savings and repairing his health — knowing he has a financial cushion of exactly six months. As that deadline draws near, we will plan out the next steps and, ideally, he will reenter the workforce feeling a bit recharged and focused on creating a fresh start.”

These are difficult situations to face in counseling, Brown acknowledges, and she sometimes becomes concerned for the safety of her clients. “First, I listen to their account of the incident, allowing the client to process the fear, anger, confusion and vulnerability that comes with being persecuted,” she says. “From there, we talk about any steps — minor as they may be — to help the client feel safer.”

For example, because his house keys and wallet were in the locker when someone broke into it, Brown’s client decided to change all of his locks at home and add two more security cameras to his home system.

In cases that involve bullying that is potentially criminal, Brown and her clients discuss whether to file a police report or take any other formal action, weighing the costs and benefits of these decisions.

“I also research and pass along any specific resources that might offer additional support for my client, such as hate crime victim support groups, PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] groups … Unfortunately,” she says, “as things continue to deteriorate in our society, it is challenging to help these individuals fully regain a sense of safety, which is something we often recognize and address openly.”

“I have witnessed the combined effects of a divisive Trump administration, a deadly global pandemic and an intense racial reckoning precipitate enduring traumatic injuries on some of my clients. Often,” Brown concludes, “I think the repair and healing work we do in therapy is only just beginning, and even more challenging times lie ahead.”

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COVID-19 has largely redefined where people work, how people work and the workplace challenges that confront employees as they try to make ends meet. Read more in the article “Working our way through the pandemic,” in the March 2021 issue of Counseling Today.

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Laurie Meyers is a senior writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at lmeyers@counseling.org.

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Opinions expressed and statements made in articles appearing on CT Online should not be assumed to represent the opinions of the editors or policies of the American Counseling Association.

Far away, so close: Negotiating relationships during COVID-19

By Laurie Meyers January 26, 2021

COVID-19 has taken away many of our in-person interactions. Office chitchat by the coffee maker. Happy hour with friends. Holiday celebrations. Friends, co-workers, extended family — since the pandemic began, many of us have seen them only virtually. In many ways, it’s like we’re all stuck on our own desert island — closed off from the outside world yet sometimes desperately wishing to vote our “fellow inhabitants” off.

The people we live with. We love them. We’ve treasured the extra time with them. But sometimes we just want them all to go away.

The never-ending togetherness; the uneven distribution of household responsibilities; the challenges of balancing work, child care and virtual schooling; and the career sacrifices that many people (women primarily) have had to make are all creating new stress and tension, while also exacerbating pre-existing conflicts in couples and families. In other words, couples and family counselors are very much in demand.

Seeking moments of solitude and respite

“Time and space are just different this year,” says licensed professional counselor (LPC) Christina Thaier. “We no longer divide our roles and tasks into different spaces, and that means all of who we are has to exist within less space. This is tough for kids and adults alike.”

Work, school, family, intimacy, socializing and relaxing are all wedged into the home.

Esther Benoit, an LPC with a private practice in Newport News, Virginia, points out that many parents are really struggling with roles they never expected to play — such as teacher and tutor when their children encounter difficulties with virtual schooling — while still trying to work from home. Other clients are working outside the home but spending substantial time on the phone providing “tech support” to their adolescent children who are at home alone, Benoit says.

Thaier notes that clients are floundering to find a way to balance everything in the absence of real-life connection to their communities and support networks. “It’s limiting. We miss a lot, and if we live with others, we are taking this on without any real break from our family or roommates,” says Thaier, a couples counselor who is the founder and director of Terrace House, a group practice located in St. Louis. “It’s a strange feeling to feel lonely and cut off from our usual life and, at the same time, never feel we get a break from others.”

“We [also] miss the versions of ourselves that exist in our usual spaces — our co-worker self, our happy-hour self, the version of us that shows up at the gym or the part of us that sings in the car after dropping the kids off at school — and the natural breaks and alone time that were previously built into our day,” she continues.

Thaier, an American Counseling Association member, helps clients envision alternative ways to be their different selves. “Maybe I can access the part of me that comes alive during time with friends by moving our time together to the park with masks,” she suggests. “Or I can plan a 10-minute Zoom call with my favorite co-worker at a time we would usually stop by one another’s desks.”

Thaier and her clients also seek simple ways to re-create those moments of solitude with activities such as taking a walk in the middle of the day, running errands, completing a solitary trip to the store to pick up groceries, or taking a bath or shower. “We’ve also talked about meditation apps and making the most of the early morning or late evening time when most of the house is sleeping,” she says.

Megan Dooley Hussman, a provisional licensed professional counselor and clinical supervisor at Terrace House, says many clients have found not just alone time but also a way to stay centered by engaging in daily rituals such as meditating, walking or even making and drinking tea mindfully.

Some clients also seek quasi-solitude by establishing family reading or movie-watching times, Thaier notes, adding that “quiet is almost alone.”

But with the multiple roles that parents are playing, stolen moments of solitude often aren’t enough, Thaier asserts. She helps parents map out the logistics of making sure that each partner gets their own break at some point during the week. That often involves one parent — or a family member within the household bubble — “hanging” with the kids while the other parent gets some time to themselves, she says. Thaier describes it as a “big win” for parents when everyone else leaves the house — even if only for an hour.

Sharing the struggle

The pandemic has been overwhelming for everyone — in unique but also universal (or at least common) ways. For parents and couples, the biggest contributor to distress and conflict is often unequal distribution of the “mental load,” says LPC June Williams, whose specialties include couples counseling. The mental load, she explains, is everything that needs to be done to keep the household moving. And much of it seems never-ending.

As Williams, a private practitioner in Cedar Park, Texas, points out, everyone is eating all the time when the kids are at home due to virtual schooling. Meals need to be planned and scheduled because family members aren’t necessarily eating at the same time. The dishes seem to self-replicate, requiring multiple dishwasher runs per day. It isn’t uncommon for one parent to manage this process — in addition to keeping the children engaged in online schooling and attempting to perform their “regular” job duties from home. In such cases, the parent spends the day constantly switching focus from their work laptop to their children’s screens. One of Williams’ clients is working and managing the family’s three children while their partner is in another room with the door shut.

When the distribution of household responsibility is not equal, it is often because much of the mental load is invisible, Williams says. She helps make it visible to her couples clients.

Williams will sit with the couple and task the partner carrying the uneven load to walk her through their day. Williams asks the other partner to listen without interrupting. Often, the partner who has been contributing less is shocked to learn the full mental load that their loved one has been carrying, Williams says.

It isn’t always possible to achieve a 50-50 split, Williams says, but she helps couples distribute the load more equitably. They discuss all of the tasks that make up the mental load and talk about how to handle them as a team. Williams asks the partner with the lesser load to think about what areas they would be willing to take over. She then asks the other partner to decide where they are willing to relinquish control. “What’s something you are willing to give away, knowing that it’s not going to be done your way?” she asks. If the partner offloads dish duty, they have to accept that the dishwasher may not be loaded “correctly,” Williams counsels.

Williams also has couples take responsibility for different areas of the house. Once that’s done, each partner’s domain is sacrosanct. “No micromanaging,” she says. “If the trash is your partner’s deal, you don’t say anything — it’s in their lap.”

ACA member Paul Peluso agrees that cooperation and flexibility are essential for navigating home life during the pandemic. He recommends that couples come up with a practical, workable schedule that allows each partner some time off. Unlike Williams, he recommends that couples switch off tasks such as bathing the children, taking out the trash and cooking. This cooperative effort creates a sense of fairness that allows a partner who has had a particularly bad or busy day to ask the other partner to take over a task that the tired partner feels too tapped out to do. The understanding is that the same grace will be extended to the other partner when needed, says Peluso, a professor of counselor education at Florida Atlantic University and a former president of the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, a division of ACA.

Peluso also recommends that couples cut themselves and each other some slack, especially during the pandemic. For instance, perhaps the routine has been to fold and put away clothes immediately after they come out of the dryer. “Give yourself a break and let it be in the basket for a few days, and use that time to watch a show together or to talk,” Peluso urges.

Sometimes, an unevenly distributed responsibility cannot be transferred from one partner to another, Williams says. The couple with one partner working and managing school for three kids is doing it out of necessity because the partner with the closed door is constantly in meetings.

In cases such as these, Williams typically encourages couples to explore possible outside resources that can be brought in: “Can we talk to family [about providing help]? Do we have a COVID-safe nanny? A COVID pod so that two days a week the kids are going to another parent’s house?”

Sharing the load becomes more difficult when one partner is working outside the home and the other works virtually or has put their career on hold. This scenario can easily lead to resentment, Benoit says. To the partner who stays home, it can seem as though the partner who works externally has experienced a return to business as (almost) normal, she explains. Meanwhile, the “inside” partner feels like their life has been completely upended because they are either trying to work from home while also providing child care or may even have felt it necessary to leave their job, Benoit says. Resentment builds because the partner at home feels trapped.

Benoit finds it helpful to externalize these conflicts for couples, emphasizing that it is the situation that is the problem, not the person who is working outside the home. Adopting this perspective, it becomes something that the couple can address as a team. The goal is to avoid recrimination and accusations, Benoit says, and to ask instead, “How do we get through this together?”

Although the essential circumstance cannot be changed, the level of resentment can be lowered dramatically, Benoit says, by something as simple as the partner working outside the home acknowledging that the other partner has the tougher end of the deal and asking, “What can I do to help?”

Benoit also emphasizes self-compassion. “I tell a lot of clients that what we’re aiming to do is get through,” she says. “We’re not aiming to thrive, but to survive.”

Couples also must learn that they are not responsible for each other’s moods, Williams says. A felt need to “fix” everything is often present in the partner who feels “overloaded,” she says.

“I work with that person who is trying to fix and [I] help them get more comfortable with everyone’s discomfort,” Williams says. This is doubly beneficial because the person who is underfunctioning may be hanging back as a result of receiving the message from their partner (directly or indirectly) that they never do anything right. Williams wants to help the partner carrying the lighter load to take on more of the burden not because they are being nagged but because it is important to the family.

Williams also asks the “overburdened” spouse about the feelings they are living with. Do they feel the need to fix, rescue, save and control? Do they feel anxious and resentful? If the client acknowledges these patterns, Williams asks whether they like feeling that way.

The usual response? “No, I am mad all the time and tired.”

Possessing a sense of responsibility does not mean that the client is responsible for everyone in the world, Williams counsels.

She gives clients a scenario: Your husband comes in and is in a terrible mood. He sighs heavily and drops his bag. As his wife with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, you may flutter about and try to step in and take over. The end result? You haven’t fixed anything. He’s still irritated, and now you are too, Williams says.

She tells clients that they can still be compassionate, check in with their partner and ask how their day was. But if the partner responds that their day was terrible, clients need to ask themselves whether they have the emotional energy to carry that burden with their partner, Williams advises. If not, “It’s OK to say, ‘Here’s a soda water,’ give them a hug and move on,” she says.

When clients feel that tension in the pit of their stomach that is pushing them to step in, Williams urges them to do something calming in another room, such as belly breathing, stretching or taking a quick shower. These strategies also have the advantage of physically separating the person from the partner and their bad mood.

“Offer them compassion and allow yourself to remain separate,” Williams advises.

The price women pay

Williams doesn’t generally like to make assessments along gender lines, but she says the consequences of the pandemic are clearly delineated. Women are typically the ones expected to put their careers on pause — to be the caregivers and nurturers, to be more in tune with the children and to meet the family’s needs — even if they are the family’s highest wage earner, Williams asserts. She references a pithy and pitch-perfect quote from sociologist Jessica Calarco: “Other countries have safety nets. America has women.”

Thaier agrees. “Women already tend to take on more of the emotional, social and household roles, and that has not changed despite those tasks further multiplying,” she says. “In my practice, we talk a lot about our humanness, and that no one human can do all the things. We work on asking for help, prioritizing and eliminating what we can, establishing boundaries, and making time for ourselves.”

Women have absorbed a tremendous number of losses but haven’t had time to properly acknowledge those losses, Thaier says. “It’s hard to grieve within the experience of trauma,” she continues. “If we use the definition of trauma as too much, too fast, all of 2020 has been that. The quick reorganization of our lives has required [clients] — especially women — to move into crisis management mode. In crisis management, we do, we don’t get to be. In that way, therapy itself invites a chance for being, even if, after the hour, we revert back to survival mode a good portion of the time. We begin to carve out moments, which build on each other, for something different.”

“In some ways, because everything is different, there are opportunities for everything to be different, and that means families can brainstorm and strategize together on how to take care of the home and one another,” Thaier says. “It’s not easy, and there are lots of challenges. But I see a lot of great conversations happening, and with that, a lot of change too.”

In therapy, clients get to recenter themselves and their experiences, Thaier says. “They can voice resentments, frustrations, fears and anxieties, and their fear that feeling this way makes them a bad mother, partner, employee or friend.”

Thaier encourages clients to question these assumptions and where they came from, and then begin to redefine what is important to them about the roles they play. “For example, if we are redefining being ‘good’ at a relationship from an old definition of trying to not let anyone down to a new definition of being present and authentic with the people we love, we can begin to think about what this might look like,” she explains. “We can notice when the old definition is guiding our behavior and patterns, and we can start to practice new ways of relating.”

Reimagining clients’ relationships and roles often involves rejecting parts of the past by breaking patterns driven by cultural assumptions. But the past can also inform the future. Thaier uses narrative therapy to help clients grieve their losses and find ways to preserve elements of what was lost. “I think a lot about telling the stories of the people and experiences we have loved and that have significantly influenced our lives,” she says. “For a woman who has made the sacrifice of a current work role that is a significant part of her identity, we explore that.

“How did the job bring you alive? What did it make possible? What were the best parts of your day? Where did you imagine this would take you next? How did this role fit into an imagined and cherished future?”

“We can actually strengthen that story even as we grieve the space it has left in the present,” Thaier says. “And we can begin to narrate how the client can access her relationship to her work — or [what] she found possible there — and bring that into the present. In other words, the people and experiences we love become a part of us, and we can continue to take them with us into our futures. Our relationship with them gets to continue, if we want it to.”

An existential pause

The pandemic-induced global slowdown has provided people an opportunity (even if unrequested) to examine their lives and reevaluate their priorities, Peluso says. A number of people are asking themselves if they want to get back on the treadmill of constant activity and productivity, “or do I want to start thinking about what I was saving for someday and do it now?” he says.

Regardless of whether they choose to return to the treadmill, stepping off of it even temporarily has granted many people clarity about their relationships, Peluso observes. Some have grown closer to their partners during the pandemic, whereas other couples who were gritting their teeth and staying together for the sake of the children beforehand are asking themselves whether it’s worth the price they are paying.

Some couples are reassessing how they were choosing to spend their time prepandemic, he says. “I think especially early in the pandemic, when there was a hard stop to a lot of activity, it created a window of opportunity to just build some new rituals for connection,” Peluso says. “Couples were able to do things together — tasks, projects around the house.”

This ability to slow down — rather than charge through a list of chores — allowed some couples to rediscover pieces of each other that may have been subsumed in the daily grind, Peluso says. “For a lot of them, it forced them to look at some places where they had been neglecting relationships,” he adds.

“While this year has been incredibly challenging, it has also been an invitation,” Thaier says. “An invitation to slow down, to be together more, to take stock of what we’re doing and how we spend our time. To be at home more. To rest. To see our limitless creativity and resilience and strength. To acknowledge that our lives really could look different at a moment’s notice. To learn to be together in new ways. To be outside more. To take less for granted.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s been ‘worth it,’” she continues. “That would disrespect all of the loss and tragedy and, frankly, just wouldn’t be true. But there’s good here too. And there’s invitation in every holding pattern to see something that is waiting to be acknowledged. There’s a mirror here, if we’re willing to look into it.    

“I’m thankful for the invitation, and I’m hopeful about what’s next.”

 

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Additional resources

To learn more about the topics discussed in this article, take advantage of the following select resources offered by the American Counseling Association.

Counseling Today (ct.counseling.org)

Books & DVDs (imis.counseling.org/store)

  • Theory and Practice of Couples and Family Counseling, third edition, by James Robert Bitter
  • Mediating Conflict in Intimate Relationships (DVD) presented by Gerald Monk and John Winslade

Continuing Professional Development (aca.digitellinc.com/aca/specialties/56/view)

  • “Creative Counseling for Couples: Using the Integrative Model” (webinar) with Mark Young
  • “Imago Relationship Therapy” (podcast) with Susan Hammonds-White

International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (iamfconline.org)

IAMFC is a division of the American Counseling Association that embraces a multicultural approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential and uniqueness
of families.

 

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Laurie Meyers is a senior writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at lmeyers@counseling.org.

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Opinions expressed and statements made in articles appearing on CT Online should not be assumed to represent the opinions of the editors or policies of the American Counseling Association.

Counselors look back on 2020

By Laurie Meyers January 4, 2021

2020: The year that never stopped surprising — and often horrifying — us. Rampant wildfires on the West Coast. A record-breaking hurricane season. The violent police confrontation and resulting death of George Floyd that gave rise to widespread protests once more proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and demanding an end to racial injustice and police brutality targeted at Black communities. A marked increase in terrorism by white supremacists. An acrimonious and bitterly divisive presidential election.

And overlying it all? The devastation of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, responsible for the deaths of more than 300,000 Americans.

Throughout it all, counselor practitioners have been navigating an ever-changing landscape. Pandemic safety protocols necessitated a swift shift to telehealth sessions, testing counselors’ flexibility and technological savvy. Caseloads soared as the year progressed. Counselors adapted, helping clients process anxiety, stress, grief and trauma while coping with many of the same issues themselves.

CT Online asked counselors to reflect on this extraordinary year. We wanted to hear about their challenges and successes, their losses and unexpected gifts. How have they adapted? What have they learned? And what advice might they give to their colleagues?

Here are a few of their stories:

 

Kimberly Johnson is a licensed mental health counselor specializing in compassion fatigue practicing in Long Beach, N.Y. She is also an assistant professor in the clinical mental health counseling program at Touro College in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The impact of working alone was unexpected. I am used to interacting with clients and counseling students on a regular basis. Suddenly my dogs and husband were my constant companions. Those I worked with — be they clients, students or peers —were two-dimensional and on Zoom. I felt my world was being lived from the waist up. I found myself learning to read people differently, to connect in a way that actual eye contact (one of my mainstays) was not guaranteed due to technology. I learned to find new ways to connect to my counseling world. Trainings, podcasts and chat groups — never really my things [previously] — became invaluable.

I learned that I had to make a more definitive boundary between my work and my home life. Work stayed in my home office and, once I left, no work went into my home life (unless I intentionally made the choice to cross the boundary). “Down time” took on a whole new meaning — I had to make a more conscious decision to be off.

Therapy via phone and video can be powerful and meaningful. I am old school — practicing from before the internet was a meaningful part of our counseling discussion — before cell phones or Zoom or texting. I believed that the best therapy is in person. I learned that I could practice good therapy remotely. I learned to change my approach, to look differently at clients and use new tools and senses to connect with clients and counseling students. I will not be unhappy when I return to a more traditional counseling and teaching approach — but I know I will be better at both therapy and teaching because of this experience.

Be open to the idea that what you thought was the best clinical practice can be reimagined. Be flexible — life throws the unknown at us and we can adjust. Be able to say no — self-care has been the most important part of 2020 (sometimes I can come first). Let yourself grieve — it’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes this can really “suck” for us too.

 

David Lawson is counseling psychologist, licensed professional counselor (LPC) and clinical supervisor at the counseling company Change Incorporated, located in St. Louis. He is also a professor of counseling at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Over the last 25 years, I have had the privilege to walk with people through many crises. Although personal crises are generally the most painful, there have been two other times during my practice that I remember needing to support clients and therapists alike who were overwhelmed by the fallout of a national crisis.

In 2001 I sat with many who were absolutely devastated and mourned the innocence that was lost as we wrestled with one of the most significant attacks on American soil. And in 2008, I spent a great amount of time helping people work through the losses of their homes and businesses as the economy felt like it was unraveling and came close to crashing around us. Both crises were overwhelming and absolutely life altering, but in each of these cases we were able to come together, to join others in support for the pains and losses, and that made the difference.

But nothing could have prepared us for what happened in 2020. And the only reason we have survived this crisis as long as we have is because humans are highly adaptable. For short periods of time, we can hold tremendous stress and pain and can withstand continuous physical challenges. But the pandemic of 2020 – and especially the stress that counselors have been under since the beginning of this – has challenged even the most capable and is radically different in almost every way from 2001 and 2008.

Counselors have needed to hold space for all of the challenges they’ve been under, including managing physical and emotional stress, the stress of family and friends within their support system, the general loss of support systems that were relied upon, confusing educational demands for children, and simultaneously holding the stress of their clients.

We’ve had to re-learn to sit with and manage mutual layers of stress that comes in waves as the constantly shifting environment impacts each of us in different ways and at different times. For many, COVID-19 initially felt far away, a distant blip on the radar of life. Over time those who were not impacted directly watched as circles of family and friends who had remained free from the disease shrunk until the pandemic was upon them. Many counselors have watched as other therapists and friends slowly succumbed to the desire to escape their isolation and loneliness and became infected or were quarantined because they were around others who were infected, thus increasing the loneliness in their own lives.

It is this part of the pandemic that has been the most painful and egregious for counselors – and what has been most different from the previous crises. The lack of clarity and confusing messages from medical leadership about the effective protective precautions, as well as the general vacuum of leadership at the national level, left many counselors confused about what’s appropriate and what’s risky, and this has only added to the general level of confusion and stress. The continual isolation and loneliness, whether from the lack of interpersonal connection or the inability to touch others, has intensified every feeling — especially negative feelings — causing therapists and clients alike to experience almost delusional or hallucinogenic states.

Even those who have been effective at dissociation have not escaped the grasp of isolation and loneliness because no one can dissociate long enough to completely avoid what is happening without completely crashing. Ultimately our adaptive ability has saved us yet again, and we are surviving, and some are thriving in the middle of the pandemic.

Counselors have started discovering new ways to connect and interact with each other. One year ago, no one had heard of Zoom, and now it is a lifeline between therapists and clients as well as a great hangout. We have learned how to meet outside, while it’s still warm, sharing space at a safe distance. We have learned to read people’s eyes more clearly because for many, that’s all we can see as we’ve donned masks. We have also learned how much time we spent mindlessly shopping and running around. I think this is one of the greatest lessons I have discovered for myself and found in working with other counselors.

And most of all, I think many have started taking time to be still, to be quiet, to enjoy simple things. Being present is such a lost art even among counselors, and I think the pandemic has given us an opportunity to be present again.

 

Marina Brink is an LPC with a private practice in Pittman, N.J. Her specialties include counseling for anxiety, depression, highly sensitive people, maternal mental health and intuitive eating.

This has been a challenging, transformative and special year. When quarantine started in March, fear gripped me. I worried about my family’s health and how I would continue working. Some colleagues appeared unconcerned, saying everything would be “business as usual.” However, it was soon clear that our world was about to be rocked. If I wanted to keep working, I had to embrace telehealth. Honestly, it was unnerving at first. I’ve always been self-conscious in front of a camera. I was basically forced to undergo “exposure therapy” for my video anxiety! Now I’m used to seeing my face on video on a daily basis.

Some clients didn’t want to do telehealth sessions. However, by May, I was suddenly getting more client referrals than ever. The uncertainty of the time affects us counselors, too. I had to “put my money where my mouth is” by embracing self-care. I started doing daily guided meditations. I read more books this year than ever before. Walking outside cleared the cobwebs from my mind.

Yet, there are still many tough moments and days. Not knowing when the pandemic will end is nerve-wracking. The racism and political tension in our country is akin to cancer cells. We all need to heal from multiple traumas. As a white, cis-gendered female, I need to keep educating myself about system inequities and actively work towards change.

As a mother and therapist, I am constantly learning how to juggle my roles. My children are learning remotely, while my husband and I are working remotely. I miss my commute, where I enjoyed the time and space to decompress before and after seeing clients. Yet, I love wearing my comfortable yoga pants while working. Since I have younger children, I need to supervise their remote learning, which has made me appreciate their teachers more than ever. I’ve had to juggle my schedule with clients. Doing it all from home, sometimes I feel guilty when I can’t work with more clients because I currently need to prioritize my children’s learning needs.

This special year has taught me to appreciate everything that I have. It’s a cliché, but health is so important. I’m very thankful that my family and I have been healthy. I was deeply saddened when a friend’s parent died from COVID-19. My heart broke for another friend whose sibling committed suicide. Our shared humanity is so fragile and beautiful. I’m truly grateful that I chose to be a counselor. I’m honored to do what I can in my little corner of the world, to try to make a difference.

 

Cheryl Fisher is a licensed clinical professional counselor in private practice in Annapolis, Md. She is director and assistant professor for Alliant International University California School of Professional Psychology’s online MA in Clinical Counseling. Her research interests include examining sexuality and spirituality in young women with advanced breast cancer; nature-informed therapy; and geek therapy.

2020 has been a challenging year and no one knows it better than mental health care providers. I transitioned from face-to-face sessions to telehealth in March. With the increase of uncertainty around the pandemic, the level of anxiety from my clients soared. My practice soared. My emergency slots were filled every week and the breaks between sessions quickly became obsolete. Day after day I would sit in my home office and listen to the fears of my clients, some of whom are medical responders describing the worst of the worst cases of COVID-19. I would aid each client in identifying and utilizing tools for self-care, take a deep breath and press “start meeting” to launch my next Zoom session. I experienced hours and hours of telehealth sessions fraught with client fears that began to merge with my own.

One evening, following the lift of phase 1 COVID restrictions, my husband and I went on a drive through our small town of Annapolis. It looked like Mardi Gras — minus masks of any kind or social distancing. My husband commented on how nice it was to see everyone out. However, I went into a tirade about how these people were being irresponsible. Didn’t they know how hard the medical providers were working to save the lives of people in the COVID-19 units? Didn’t they realize people were dying?! I was so upset. After more than 20 years of clinical practice, I was surprised to realize that I was experiencing secondary trauma. My self-care routine already includes daily workouts and meditation, but these were not enough to endure the level of stress I was navigating in my own life and in my practice. I regrouped, immediately stopped accepting new clients, and created breaks throughout my day where I could go for a walk, eat food and play with my dog, Elsa.

The blurring of boundaries with telehealth became apparent early on with the invasion of client homes and the use of virtual backgrounds to conceal my makeshift home office in the spare bedroom. My beloved 12-year-old golden doodle co-therapist, Max died suddenly during the summer leaving both me and my 2-year-old poodle therapist-in-training, grieving. In her grief, Elsa insisted on being nearby — all day long — and when she became bored with the screen time, she would crash telehealth sessions trying to get my attention or bark at neighbors passing by. It was both frustrating and comical, but I learned to lean into the unpredictability that accompanies working from home. Clients now ask for Elsa and we share screen time.

Zoom fatigue was another surprise! Initially it was so wonderful to be able to see friends and family in virtual gatherings. However, after weeks and weeks of telehealth, I began to unplug whenever I could. Being outdoors has always been a priority for me but now it has become a necessity. I even began doing telehealth in the privacy of my backyard. Earbuds in and privacy screen up, I sat out among my potted herbs and bird feeders conducting virtual ecotherapy sessions that benefited both me and the clients.

Yet, with all the challenges, the thing that stands out the most to me is how resilient we are as counselors (and people). The pandemic allowed me to review my priorities, improve my self-care, embrace the unpredictable, and covet my time connecting with nature and her creatures. We continue to tackle the day-to-day obstacles with compassion, innovation and imagination — becoming better therapists and human beings in the process.

 

Lauren Thayer is a provisionally licensed professional counselor practicing at the counseling company Change Incorporated, located in St. Louis.

This past year has certainly been the year of challenges. Every facet of 2020 shone a light on the many ways in which our society is still unjust — and the uncertain and difficult path forward. The year also revealed how divided we are as a populace. These challenges in themselves are not new to society or this particular moment in time —they have existed from the beginning of civilization. The challenge, however, in the current time is that both are coexisting simultaneously and creating a force that pushes us further away from one another both in terms of physical proximity and moral grounds. With every turn, whether it be exposure to media or snippets of conversation, we may find ourselves presented with an awareness of one of these challenges. This awareness tugs at our sense of what is moral and just, but can also threaten our sense of self-preservation. This conflict may shake us at the very core of our identity and sometimes elicit defensive responses to a perceived threat, not just to ourselves but society as a whole.

With this realization, as a therapist, I have had to learn how to challenge and question myself and my awareness of my own truths while also coming to terms with my fears and unspoken anxieties regarding the present state of the world. Awareness, I feel, is necessary to be able to create empathy and understanding in situations that may be vastly different from our own values. This, in itself, of course, is an ever-changing and difficult process during which I try to allow myself as much grace as I would grant another clinician or client.

Thus, taking my own self-awareness into a professional dynamic, this dividedness has been an unexpected opportunity for me to challenge myself to sit in discomfort on the other side of the fence. Often as a clinician, I have found it easier to sit with the discomfort and challenging emotions of clients while still distancing myself. In that way I was able to avoid my own discomfort and confront it only within the safety of my own space. In this past year, however, the unavoidable awareness of white privilege; severe brutality against people of color; a looming threat to our physical well-being; and a government that has prioritized money over people has made this discomfort unavoidable in any facet of life. So, I began to bring my own reactions into work and have found so many of my clients have shared similar feelings of uncertainty as they have been forced to navigate awareness and emotions they formerly avoided. This has created a sense of compassion and understanding that previously felt hopelessly distant.

 

Derrick Paladino is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in Winter Park, Fla. He is also a professor of clinical mental health counseling at Rollins College.

“I am tired of white people.” “I am tired of my white friends.” “I am tired of my white clients.” Hearing any of these statements, as a counselor or a supervisor, is an absolute privilege and honor. This means that you have created an environment that opens the door for bravery. As I reflect on recent years and ongoing events, I am repeatedly disturbed by the increased explicit nature of racial injustice. This is not new for anyone. As a minority, I have been weaving my life around racism, discrimination and hate since my youth. What we are experiencing today, in my humble opinion, is a lightning rod that has created a safe place for increasing numbers of individuals to openly impart hate with no consequences – leaving those without power even more powerless. We have also been witnessing demonstrations for racial and underrepresented justice that show the hurt, pain and anger of those living without privilege.

These demonstrations call attention to the covert and overt nature of systemic “isms” that hit hard. When you hear the phases, “I am tired of white people,” “I am tired of my white friends,” and “I am tired of my white clients” you are experiencing a client or supervisee struggling with an indifferent system. Your job is to listen, and your job is to believe your client or supervisee.

In addition, your job is not to wait for it. When you wait for clients and supervisees to express certain things there is a chance you may never hear this important part of them. Using advanced cultural empathy to ask your underrepresented client or supervisee how they are doing within current events is normal. This creates compassion, gives power and invites safety. As we are all in a field that requires constant reflection and education one should look upon their clinical style and past sessions to discern if they consistently create environments that allow for these experiences to be spoken freely. If not, then it is not too late, and we still need you. Counselors and supervisors should be vigilant in this personal assessment because the world weaves through your client’s presenting issues and experiences as a cultural being. Clients and supervisees live within ecological systems that we should understand.

Whether you are a professional that holds privileged or underprivileged identities, please know that this work is so important. As an underrepresented counselor and supervisor myself, it is not odd for me to feel the same way towards our privileged society and hold stress. I must also do my own work and reach out for consultation to think about how that may impact the environments I create in session.

My final message is to all underrepresented counseling students and supervisees reading this. It is normal to feel struggles with the impact of the world and system around your clinical responsibilities. Know that you will not find a safe space with every professor, supervisor and counselor – and that is a fact. Discover those in and outside your program and colleague circles that are actively open to hearing your experiences. Share with those that know how to hold the space for these thoughts and feelings. Remember, it is the counselors’ and supervisors’ responsibility to create that space, not yours.

 

Ulash Thakore-Dunlap is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice located in San Francisco. She specializes in coping with anxiety, school-work-life wellness needs and supporting communities of color.

My biggest challenge as a practitioner during the pandemic has been to navigate working from home. Before the pandemic, I enjoyed physically going to my workplace to see clients and teach. This really helped to separate my work and family life, so when I got home I could focus on hanging out with my family. The pandemic has challenged me to set boundaries at home, because I can easily keep working until late into the weeknight and during weekends.

To separate my work from home life, I have had to learn to set strict limits: scheduling a specific time to stop working, scheduling clients in blocks and incorporating more stretch breaks into my workday. These strategies have really helped me to better manage my work schedule and sustain myself and have helped me feel less fatigued and overwhelmed. Also, what has been most helpful in supporting my wellness is to force myself to schedule a day off every four weeks. I have noticed this has been an immense help with taking care of myself and reconnecting to my family during my day off.

Another challenge is feeling a sense of guilt in not being able to take on more clients. I have a very small practice because I teach full-time in a master’s-level counseling program. The pandemic and continuing racial injustice have increased stress for all, but especially for communities of color. Since the pandemic began, I have been receiving an increase in the number of calls and emails from BIPOC individuals seeking counseling. I feel guilty not being able to serve all of my community members, particularly because many people of color have never sought counseling or have not had past positive experiences in counseling. I have learned to deal with this by working through my guilt at being unable to see more clients and by referring people to other trusted clinicians of color.

The pandemic has positively impacted the way I work in my practice and how I support my clients. Working from home, I have learned to be more authentic with my clients in sharing the realities of working from home. In addition, like my clients, I too have struggled with balancing work-family-life and dealing with the racial injustices. When appropriate, and if it is part of my client’s treatment goals and plan, I have shared my struggles without sharing any specific details. Just naming the pandemic struggles, such as “I too have challenges with work-life balance” or “I too have experienced racial injustices” has helped my clients feel that I am an authentic therapist. Also, I believe providing telehealth and online counseling requires great skill. Due to COVID-19, all of my counseling sessions are now via telehealth. I have had to adapt and learn new online strategies to support my clients. I feel I have grown so much learning in how to effectively support clients through teletherapy.

Finally, the lesson I would like to share with my fellow counselors is during these times, please pay attention to burnout and fatigue. Like our clients, we may also be experiencing stressors in our life. I encourage my fellow counselors to engage in self-care and tap into their support networks.

 

Ron Laney is a provisionally licensed professional counselor practicing at the counseling company Change Incorporated, located in St. Louis.

Without a doubt, my biggest takeaway from this past year has been the affirmation of how important self-care is to my overall well-being. When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold here in mid-March, I expected it to be merely a month or so before we returned to life as usual, and here we are now, more than ten months in with another nationwide surge in infections. While I’m acutely aware of and sympathetic to the enormous suffering being experienced by people worldwide as a result of this virus, part of me finds the mandate to slow down quite freeing. It’s as if I’ve been given permission to live at my own pace and not feel as if I should be doing this or that simply because it’s ingrained in the culture that I would somehow be happier or more successful if I did.

With that said, there are certainly times when I would love to go out and socialize with friends or spend more time with my two adult children. It’s just that, at least for now, I feel fortunate to not be experiencing the degree of disappointment or fatigue that others may be encountering while unable to return to a pre-pandemic way of life. During those times when I am struggling, however, I gently offer myself the same encouragement I extend to clients who are having difficulty navigating this trying time: Namely, be kind to yourself — you have a lot going on these days: the pandemic, a toxic political climate, social unrest, isolation, etc. And when feelings of loneliness inevitably do arise, I bring to mind those in my life whom I love, remembering that I am loved in return.

Concerning my work as a therapist, I would have to say that the supervision, support, and encouragement I’ve received from my company colleagues have proved most helpful. While we might not currently be able to say hello as we pass in the hallway between sessions, we do meet virtually for an hour at least once each month to check in and see how we’re doing. We also gather online quarterly for daylong, facilitated group experiences, from which I always walk away energized and emotionally lighter due to having had the opportunity to share what we’re going through individually as well as collectively, both as professionals and, perhaps more importantly, human beings.

 

Tammi Lewis is an LPC at Valley Health Systems where she provides medication assisted treatment and behavioral health care services.

To say that 2020 has been an interesting year would be an understatement. My state, West Virginia, was the last state to have any positive cases of COVID-19. However, our governor did his best to get ahead of it by shutting schools down and putting a stay a home order in place. That meant our practice had to go convert to telehealth.

I provide medication assisted treatment (MAT) and behavioral health care services at Valley Health Systems, an integrated care facility.

Everything shut down in March, so we had to figure out how to provide services with as little interruption as possible and quickly. At our site we provide both individual and group therapy and we wanted as little disruption as possible. Our behavioral health department shifted to telehealth swiftly, particularly with our individual clients. At the site that I work at we only missed one week of group therapy with our MAT clients before switching to Zoom. Our program functioned as it normally did for the clients – the format in how services were provided was the only real change for them.

As for us as clinicians, we didn’t realize how fatiguing doing telehealth was going to be on us. That was the first challenge — fatigue. We were moving less doing telehealth, not getting up to go get clients to bring them to our offices. So, we were sitting more than we normally would during the day. I have a sit-to-stand desk convertor on my desk, which was helpful (and I would highly recommend) to take the pressure off the back. I’m also a personal trainer, and sitting is the worst thing we can do for our bodies.

Another challenge we faced was that our schedules had not changed. They remained full, with back-to-back [clients] and then we had an increase in the number of clients we were seeing due to increased anxiety, depression, and stress secondary to COVID-19. However, we didn’t realize how these stressors were adding up until we were many months in and we were feeling burned out, tired and exhausted. This was not good for us or the clients. Because we work with the substance use disorder population, we had the additional stress of making sure they had the tools they needed to remain sober.

I had also not taken any time off since all of this started and it was starting to wear on me. In addition, as the primary caretaker of my 96-year-old grandmother there was the stress of making sure she was safe and healthy. In addition to the issues surrounding COVID-19, as the killing of George Floyd inspired widespread protests calling for social justice, I faced the stress of being a Black clinician working with primarily white clients and my status as the only Black staff person in my building.

At one point of exhaustion and frustration, I sought out supervision from a friend and mentor for guidance and direction. We talked for about two hours (socially distanced) which was helpful. As a result, two counselor colleagues and I formed a peer support group to discuss the challenges that we had and provide support to one another. This has been very helpful, and I highly recommend such groups to other clinicians. I also started putting two 30-minute breaks in my schedule, at the suggestion of our administrative team, which gives us a chance to document, get up and move, or just be away from the computer screen.

I think one of the things that has bothered me throughout this is the discussion regarding the frontline workers and all the work they have done, which is true. However, they have been told to make sure they keep up their mental health and seek out counseling if they need it. But no one ever thinks about the people they are getting the counseling/therapy from. We don’t wear capes and it has been a difficult eight/nine months for us as well. But we must put our own anxieties aside and do what we need to do, just as those other frontline workers. And we are happy to do so because it is the job we chose to do.

Lastly, one of the of things I learned and have tried to get my clients to understand is gratitude. If a pandemic had to happen, this was the best time for [it] to happen. I know there has been a lot of talk about isolation, however, it could have been much worse. If this was 1986 or 1990 we would not have had the technology we have now to keep us connected in the way that we have been able to that allowed us to maintain contact with our clients (or families), providing them the access they needed for treatment. The isolation could have been much worse and I believe that’s an aspect we have taken for granted.

 

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Add your own reflections on 2020 – the year’s challenges and bright spots – in the comment section, below.

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Laurie Meyers is a senior writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at lmeyers@counseling.org.

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Opinions expressed and statements made in articles appearing on CT Online should not be assumed to represent the opinions of the editors or policies of the American Counseling Association.

Our most-read articles of 2020

Compiled by Bethany Bray December 28, 2020

It has been a year like no other, bringing upheaval and uncertainty to professional counselors and their clients alike. It’s no wonder that many of 2020’s most-read articles at CT Online were on topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. Other popular articles focused on helping clients with relationship issues, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health diagnoses. Pieces that put a spotlight on practitioner confidentiality, compassion fatigue and other professional issues also attracted strong reader interest.

More than 150 articles were posted at ct.counseling.org in 2020. This year marks the first time that a majority of the top 10 most-read articles were online exclusives that did not appear in Counseling Today’s print magazine.

Some of the top search terms that brought people to the site included self-care for counselors, empathy fatigue, polyvagal theory, “Self-care for the activist counselor,” trauma-informed counseling and counselor burnout.

 

What were counselors reading in 2020?

Here are the most-read articles posted in 2020 at ct.counseling.org:

  1. Uncovering the root cause of mother-daughter conflict” (Member Insights article, January magazine)
  2. Recovering from the trauma of infidelity” (feature article, April magazine)
  3. How do counselors support clients during the coronavirus pandemic?” (online exclusive posted in April)
  4. The historical roots of racial disparities in the mental health system” (online exclusive posted in May)
  5. Hey, Siri: Did you break confidentiality, or did I?” (online exclusive posted in January)
  6. Deconstructing anxiety” (Knowledge Share, January magazine)
  7. Solution-focused tools to help school counselors in a pandemic” (online exclusive posted in September)
  8. Helping clients rebuild after separation or divorce” (online exclusive posted in March)
  9. Overcoming free-time boredom during COVID-19: Combining a home-based optimal leisure lifestyle with behavioral activation” (online exclusive posted in July)
  10. Living with — and beyond — OCD” (cover story, February magazine)
  11. Black mental health matters” (cover story, August magazine)
  12. A note of encouragement for counseling students during COVID-19” (online exclusive posted in April)
  13. Counseling’s evolution under COVID-19” (cover story, June magazine)
  14. Grappling with compassion fatigue” (feature article, September magazine)
  15. The revised meaning of self-care in the wake of COVID-19” (online exclusive posted in August)
  16. Bouncing back from ‘failure’ as a counselor” (feature article, March magazine)
  17. Adjustment disorder in the time of COVID-19” (online exclusive posted in April)
  18. Can you hear me now? Ways to reduce sound transfer between rooms” (online exclusive posted in February)
  19. Engaging avoidant teens” (Knowledge Share, May magazine)
  20. Putting first responders’ mental health on the front lines” (feature article, July magazine)

 

 

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What was your favorite article of 2020? What would you like to see Counseling Today and CT Online cover in 2021?

Leave a reply in the comment section below, or email us at CT@counseling.org.

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