2020 has been a strange year. Traumatic for some, liberating for others, anxiety-provoking for many. Everyone’s experience of the pandemic has been individual, yet there has been collective challenge in dealing with the realities of lockdown and social distancing.
Since we went into lockdown in the UK nearly three months ago, many aspects of daily life have felt unnatural and new, from going to the shops, using public transport, trying to maintain exercise routines, keeping in contact with friends. I have gotten used to conducting my social and working lives entirely on Zoom, so much so that the ‘normality’ I was experiencing just a few months ago seems like a distant memory.
As a therapist I was just starting out in private practice when this all happened, and I have been able to adjust to online work fairly easily, being new and I suppose eager to accommodate the new approach. A lot of clients face uncertainty around work and career at the moment, and this is coming up in a great deal of the work. Uncertainty about the future is perhaps the greatest challenge brought by the pandemic. Not knowing when or how things will get back to normal is inherently frightening for a lot of us. The economy has inevitably suffered a huge blow and many now face the prospect of redundancy and unemployment, things that were not on the cards before.
And so I must learn to work with and process the heightened levels of uncertainty coming into ‘the room’, not just for my clients but for myself. Though my practice has got off to a good start I do not assume that there is any certainty in it. As I congruently accept that I do not have the answers about what life will look like in the months to come, I try to explore acceptance with my clients. Carefully and empathically I look at what being ok with what uncertainty means. Can we live with not knowing, for now? Can we allow the possibility that things might get better eventually? These are simple questions but they do not have simple answers. This is as much a journey for me to go on as it is for the clients I help. Ultimately I think it is a journey that we can’t help but grow through.
Guidance and resources for members
Sharing your experiences
Marking one year since the start of lockdown, we’re sharing your blogs about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on you, your practice and your clients
Coronavirus: Advice for the public
Advice on seeing a therapist during the pandemic, plus tips, advice and coping strategies from our members to help you through these uncertain times
Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.