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  • Writer's picturemarypascallcounselling

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Another Lockdown and differing attitudes towards the safety guidelines and government restrictions abound. From the risk averse and those seeking balance, to confusion, complacency and denial.

Many of us have been shielding since the spring - some of us to the point of extreme isolation. Many have been pro-active in wearing face coverings wherever possible, reducing travel and reducing contact with friends and family to the minimum.

Currently we are all living in a state of flux and uncertainty.

Confusion, heightened anxiety, insecurity and loss of life. A culture of judgement and blame causing conflict and division. Those who were in peril before the pandemic are now in double jeopardy or worse.

How do we take care of our mental health in the midst of all of this?

Many of us are finding individual ways of coping with the pandemic - whether it's withdrawing completely, including avoiding social media, living according to the guidance, or tailoring it to suit, or rallying support for help during this crisis. Some of us have turned to counselling for support.

With mental health awareness increasing during the pandemic, many, perhaps for the first time, are seeking counselling and psychotherapy.

The pandemic, however, has severely impacted the availability of mental health services across the globe. In the UK, face-to-face appointments during Lockdown are reduced and some services have been suspended once again.

But in an effort to meet the continuing demand for counselling support, some practitioners, having expanded their online and telephone counselling services back in March and April, are continuing to offer these

vital services.

Many practitioners have stopped seeing clients face-to-face but there is still some help available.

Issues affected or exacerbated by the pandemic may include: anxiety and depression, bullying, career development, caring for dependants, chronic conditions and illness, communication issues, compulsions, consumerism, diet and exercise, disability, discrimination, domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction, education difficulties, family relating, financial difficulty, freedom of movement, friendship issues, general well-being, grief and loss, homelessness, hyperactivity, identity, independent living, insomnia, lack of concentration, lethargy, loneliness, moving home, parenting issues, peer pressure, personal freedom, physical health and fitness, racial issues, redundancy, relationship issues, retirement, self confidence, self harm, social anxiety, socio-political issues, starting a new job, 'stuckness', unemployment, well-being of keyworkers, work-life balance, work-place issues, and more.

Talking to a professional counsellor can help to support you through periods of difficulty.

Help is available through the NHS via your GP, through workplace schemes, charitable services and not-for-profit organisations. Private health schemes and practitioners tend to have reduced waiting periods.

You can search for counsellors through online directories and counselling networks such as Psychology Today, BAATN or Pink Therapy, or through counselling bodies such as BACP and UKCP. There are also organisations offering crisis support and advice free of charge, by phone, text or online.

For more information see the links below:

For information on how to find help:

For information on how to find help in a crisis:

  • Writer's picturemarypascallcounselling

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Due to the pandemic, the idea of a long summer break may not have the same appeal as last year.

If you've been shielding, working from home, studying at home, home-educating your children, you may be longing to get away for a change of scene and a breath of fresh air. If this is not possible, a stay-at-home summer may feel daunting.

Some of us are finding it hard to re-energise.

In the current pandemic many of us are finding it hard to re-energise. So what can we do to take care of our mental health this summer?

Perhaps, instead of taking the view that our world has become a smaller place due to Lockdown, we can take a closer look at what is within our reach and discover a world previously overlooked.

If this feels difficult and you're feeling overwhelmed, talking things through with a counsellor can help.

Take care to take care of your mental health.

The following links may be helpful:

  • Writer's picturemarypascallcounselling

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Like so many other services most talking therapies have gone online during Lockdown. The word is that this could be the new norm for some time to come.

But online counselling isn't something new. Sometimes referred to as e-counselling, it has been readily available since the nineties. It is thanks to the wonders of modern technology that counselling support is available to us virtually around the clock.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with e-counselling, it refers to all counselling services delivered via the internet, such as video calling, email, chat/messaging. Of course, voice calls can be made online, too, although a distinction is sometimes made between telephone and e-counselling.

Video counselling is being offered as an alternative to face-2-face sessions.

Due to Lockdown many therapy rooms remain closed and counsellors have focused on expanding their e-counselling services to meet the current need. Video counselling is being offered as an alternative to face-2-face sessions.

While it is generally agreed that face-2-face counselling is beneficial, some of us, who have switched from face-2-face to e-counselling during Lockdown and are new to video or telephone counselling are appreciating the convenience as well as the effectiveness of e-counselling.

Some of us are appreciating the convenience as well as the effectiveness of e-counselling.

Points in its favour may include:

  • accessing counselling is fairly easy, wherever you're located, as no travel is involved.

  • the time saved by not needing to travel could make all the difference as to whether or not you can fit counselling into your schedule.

  • you don't have to limit yourself to choosing from counsellors in your area.

  • scheduling appointments is often easier when the counsellor does not have to access a therapy room.

  • sessions may be more cost-effective as there are no travel costs involved and some counsellors offer a lower fee for e-counselling.

  • you can be in your own setting.

  • you may feel less inhibited than when meeting face-2-face

(this is sometimes referred to as disinhibition).

It is important to note that the last two points are not always favourable. It may be wise to consider:

  • if you are not in a comfortable or safe setting and have little privacy, e-counselling may be difficult to manage.

  • whether your counsellor expresses an awareness of disinhibition.

For telephone counselling, your counsellor needs to be skilled in working without observing body language and facial expression. Of course, e-mail counselling works outside of all the usual communications we expect from face-2-face.

In certain circumstances online counselling may not be appropriate, so it's important to explore if it suits your needs.

The following links may be helpful:

and here

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