Our last issue of Coaching Today went into production in early March. At the time, there were rumblings here in the UK around the impending coronavirus pandemic. At the charity where I ran weekly movement therapy groups, there were subtle changes – hand sanitiser appeared in the toilets and waiting rooms, and requests were posted at the entrance to stay away if feeling unwell. Two weeks later, the country went into complete lockdown, my therapy groups were abruptly halted, and social distancing and isolation became a new way of life overnight.
I have found it very difficult to put my feelings about this crisis into words. For a long time, I simply felt numb. My way back into feeling has been through my body – in my case, words have been far from enough. However, I have found reading the words of others to be comforting, validating and inspiring by turn. I have realised that, just as we are all being affected differently by this virus, we are all responding to this crisis in different ways, and there is no one ‘right’ way to feel about it.
As I write (early June), some lockdown measures are being cautiously relaxed (though some might say not cautiously enough). Some schools have reopened, and some of us are returning to our workplaces. However, infection rates remain high in certain parts of the country – particularly my home city of Hull – and lives and livelihoods continue to be lost on a daily basis. It is clear that recovery from the myriad effects of this pandemic will take time. The mental and psychological impact we know will be far-reaching and BACP’s campaign to highlight the importance of counselling and psychotherapy in addressing the mental health needs of the nation continues to gather pace. Due to the hard work and diligence of our BACP Coaching Executive, led by Chair Carolyn Mumby, this now includes coaching in its remit. You can read more about this in our news pages.
This current crisis has had a huge impact on coaching as a profession and on us as practitioners, and I aim to explore that with you in the pages of this journal, as we continue to unpack together the issues arising from this pandemic.
While preparing articles for this July issue, many of you have been in touch with me with your own thoughts, observations, responses and ideas that are emerging from this situation. I think it’s fair to say that the repercussions of this pandemic will be with us for a while, and will continue to affect us personally and professionally, as practitioners and as human beings who are learning to adapt rapidly to a ‘new normal’. Your ideas are always welcome. Perhaps, like me, you are finding that words are elusive right now. But once they are ready to flow, let me know…
On that point, please note my new email address below. If you’ve tried to contact me in the past few weeks and have been unsuccessful, do try again. I’d love to hear from you. I wish you all good health.
Diane Parker firstname.lastname@example.org