• Jan-Paul Van Dessel

Counselling in the middle of a pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged many helping professions, including those within the field of counselling and psychotherapy, to find new ways to meaningfully connect with those seeking help and support. You could also argue that this is happening at a time

when demand for such support is increasing, and is likely to continue to do so, as generally levels of anxiety and fear increase in the face of the scale of human loss we currently see and hear everyday.

Add to that the insecurities experienced through the upheaval happening in almost every type of business and sector of industry, as more and more jobs are lost and livelihoods put at risk, the relative certainties of what we might be doing or enjoying in coming months are not as tangible as they used to be. For some, there is the very real loss of friends and family who have sadly succumbed to COVID disease.

From an entirely personal perspective I have experienced that roller coaster of emotions as we have moved through phases of lockdown, relaxation, hope, fear, restriction, conflicting news, vaccination breakthrough, frustration, politicisation...and it all takes a toll. This is on top of our every day serving of 'existential angst'.

It could be very easy to feel lost, inadequate or somehow less important in this vast pandemic context. Seeing it as 'others having it worse than us' and trying to 'grin and bear it'. A stark backdrop to this is yet another increase in 2019 to suicide rates in the U.K. according to the British Medical Journal. Equivalent figures for 2020 are not available as the whole process of inquests is severely impacted by the pandemic. Yes, there is a lot going on in the world just now, and in one way or another isn’t there always! But if you are feeling anxious, stressed, depressed or have other issues in your life that you want to tackle, the counselling profession is here for you. Don't put it off, you matter!

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