My private practice relies on EAP and charity referrals. These have pretty much dried up in the past month. This does feel strange, and I don’t quite understand why this slow down has been the case, perhaps clients are looking for more immediate support right now and I’ll see an increase in referrals in the coming weeks?
I’m still working with the clients that I had before the lockdown started, but with a limited number of sessions this work will come to an end in the next few weeks. I’m concerned about money, my outgoings are less with almost no petrol being used, but I can see the time coming when my income dwindles away. I hope that the government support for the self employed is in place by then.
The move to online working has fortunately not been an issue for me. Before Covid-19 I worked predominantly either over the phone or online, with a handful of face to face sessions a week. I know a lot of colleagues have struggled with that shift, and it does take a bit of getting used to. Whichever service I’ve used for my online work I’ve had problems with lag on the video, it’s frustrating and can get in the way.
I do miss the face to face work, I didn’t do a whole lot of this, but I’d worked with some of these clients for over a year. I am worried about a couple of them, I get the sense that they’re quite psychologically vulnerable. I do wonder how they are getting on. There’s part of me that wants to email them to check in, but I wonder how boundaried that would be. I hope they’re ok. I’ve used my supervision to talk through some of this, and that’s helped – I think I needed to express and acknowledge my feelings.
It’s a worrying time for all of us I guess, and counsellors are no exception. In the early stages of the lockdown, I found it very difficult to drag myself away from social media. I was spending an excessive amount of time checking for the latest updates on news websites, and reading on Facebook how wonderfully some people were coping. This made me feel under pressure to become a supremely productive and creative person, to be that therapist that uses the time for some CPD, to meditate, to market myself more, to complete my accreditation.
That self-applied pressure did get me down, and I felt lazy, useless. After giving myself a good listening to, I’ve worked to apply compassion instead of pressure, I know that I will get to do some of that stuff, but it’s equally important to soothe myself and take care of my baby soul – that part of me that is easily bored and gets crotchety. If I want to read a novel, or watch trashy TV, or even play my bass that’s ok. And ultimately it doesn’t matter all that much if I don’t master that tricky bass part in Xanadu, or if the accreditation takes a little longer.
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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.