Page 8 - Boca ViewPointe - June '20
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Page 8, Viewpointe                                                    June 2020

       Ask The Therapist

      Life On Hold                                         realize it or not. And, of course there is nothing more necessary   have learned to enjoy life at a more leisurely pace.
                                                           Fortunately, most people have survivor skills whether they

                                                                                                             Other stories of neighbors helping neighbors, showing
      By Elaine S Rubinson,                              to survival than food. People, who have long relied on eating   caring and reaching out to others are also reported. We hear of
      L.M.H.C.                                           out, take out or fast food now have the time to re visit their   donating and volunteering at food banks. Many share cooked
                                                         kitchens and hone their culinary skills. They proudly describe   dishes with friends and neighbors. Some offer friendly calling
      Therapists discuss                                 the many delicious dinners they have cooked, the cookies, cakes   and reaching out to people alone. It’s delightful to hear about
      the effect of the                                  and other delicacies they have baked and, of course how they   those who share their talents of singing, playing instruments
                                                         enjoy sitting down with the entire family to dine together.
                                                                                                           and entertaining their neighbors on their balconies, front steps
      Pandemic on their                                     The desire to affiliate is another basic survival need.   or driveways.
      Patients                                           Reaching out to loved ones, old friends, new friends, anyone      And we hear how others rediscover a past hobby or skill.
                                                         we can call to say “Hello, I’m thinking of you” is greatly   Some are picking up unfinished projects, like woodworking,
         As a Therapist, I have                          encouraged. Once shy, we hear how many are making that call   crafts, art or needle work and getting much pleasure from
      continued meeting with                             and getting positive reinforcements by the friendly response   seeing their work completed. Others are taking the time to learn
      my Patients after Covid 19                         they receive. A goal of at least one or two calls a day helps to   something new, or taking courses online or listening to podcasts.
      became a threat and everyone was told to stay at home. Similar   motivate many clients to enjoy a welcome chat.     One of the most encouraging remarks made from one of my
      to all normal activities, our sessions had to adjust to life in the      Helping many to survive this pandemic is media and   clients was how she was able to learn to appreciate her Husband.
      times of Corona, and we now meet via Telehealth. This means   technology. Compared to earlier times, when the digital age   Having been “locked in the cabin” together for endless hours
      no one comes to the office and Therapy sessions are held via   was not as developed, we are so fortunate these devices are   with a partner, many have the choice of “killing them or loving
      Phone, and face time. Fortunately, all insurance carriers approve   available, and have become necessary and perhaps the only   them”. This 12/7 now can allow the couple to get in touch with
      these sessions, some are waiving co pays, and enabling Patient’s   means to stay in touch. Phones, computers and I Pads connect   why they partnered in the first place. They are presented with
      to continue as they left off before the pandemic.   us to Face Time, Zoom, Face Book, messaging and other   the challenge to focus on more positive rather than negative
         During a recent monthly Staff meeting via Zoom with   communication sites. Many Patients, who once were fearful   traits and behaviors. They have the opportunity to give up old
      my colleagues, where we typically discuss clinical and   and shunned these methods, now are determined to learn how   resentments or unreasonable expectations in order to work out
      administrative issues, we were able to share observations   to use these programs, thus enabling them to reach out more   a more harmonious co-existence.
      during our Telehealth sessions. What became evident, was   expansively. After making their first successful connection, they      Certainly, those of us who ascribe to the adage that, “If life
      that the pandemic created a unique set of challenges. Patients   report a new sense of accomplishment and confidence.  gives you a lemon, make lemonade’’ have found ways to adjust.
      who initially sought therapy because of depression, anxiety,      We have always encouraged physical exercise and workouts   But, not everyone can easily adapt to these stressful times.
      stress, loneliness, grief and situational problems have increased   for those suffering from depression and other mental illnesses.   Therapists are called on to provide guidance and support to those
      symptoms, now with added stressors. As of this writing, mostly   It now becomes vital that everyone develop a regular schedule   with difficulty or struggling with realistic problems and losses.
      everyone has to stay home, many with entire families sharing   to get outdoors to take a walk or run. If unable to go out, create   We examine our client’s issues and guide them in ways that are
      limited quarters. Working Spouses or Significant Others,   an exercise space in your home for a regular workout. There   helpful to their personal needs. There are many Therapeutic
      whose togetherness patterns previously was just evenings and   are many sites available for exercise programs on media to   tools and methods to help patients cope and empower their lives
      weekends are now with each other 24/7. Others are entirely   enable one to virtually socialize with an Instructor and other   including mindfulness, meditation, cognitive restructuring as
      alone, often without another person to be with for weeks.   participants while getting a beneficial cardio workout.  well as having consistent support in these unknown, unsettled
      Many face financial stress caused by unemployment and closed      During the weeks of the stay at home order, an interesting,   times.
      businesses. Issues that originally brought them into Therapy   positive reaction has occurred. Therapists report hearing how      Within the weeks to come, restrictions will be relaxing
      now seem exaggerated, resulting in increased symptoms.  people have adapted to the new normal and have created   and we will be able to venture out and visit previously closed
         Families face home schooling situations and Parents are   innovative ways of surviving. Students, so disappointed with   businesses, sites and activities. Without a vaccine to inoculate us
      charged with the task of closely monitoring assignments as   not having traditional proms, graduations and parties have found   against this deadly and costly virus, it is with the utmost caution
      well as providing activities to keep children engaged. Tempers,   creative ways to celebrate. Savvy with technology, they have   we go forth, one toe into the water at a time. The reminder that
      housekeeping and personal space issues erupt easily.  arranged online ceremonies, parties and get-togethers. Doorstop   there have been many fatalities prompt a plea to be extremely
         Couples working at home together also struggle with   visits, drive by and Drive-in rallies are some of their ways to   careful, wear your masks, wash your hands and don’t take
      respecting personal space and schedules, being sensitive to their   capture memories of a very unique and once feared lost year.   any unnecessary risks. For those who have been able to be
      partners’ different needs and conflicts over household chores.     Many report spending time on at home projects which have   introspective and have learned new and more positive things
         Single people, many of them Senior Citizens without daily   been avoided for many years. We hear, with satisfied tones, how   about yourself, you can now take with you into the “new norm”
      jobs, nor having regular activities to keep them occupied during   a closet, garage, basement, attic have been cleaned and sorted   a wiser and better understanding of self, rekindled friendships,
      the day, find themselves truly isolated. When once they may   out. We hear about long lost treasures found and a sense of   new skills, a cleaner home, and so much gratitude that you
      have developed a satisfying life style of volunteering, card or   accomplishment when the task has been completed.   survived. BE SAFE, BE HEALTHY.
      game playing, shopping, visiting, attending religious services,      Others tell how they are finally giving themselves
      recreation centers and clubs, now are unable to continue. In   permission to yield to once dreaded unscheduled hours. They      Elaine S. Rubinson, L.M.H.C. is a Licensed Psychotherapist
      addition the warning about the elderly being vulnerable and at   are now relaxing, reading, meditating, watching TV or just   and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family and Elder Law
      risk keeps them more cautious to allow housekeepers or repair   doing nothing without feeling guilty or a nagging urge of a   Mediator with a practice in Boca Raton. She can be contacted
      men into their home. They even restrict their outings to the   “should” to do something productive. They report that they   at 
      Super Markets.
         To First line Workers; Nurses, Doctors, Medics, Hospital
      and Ambulance staff, and all who are there for us during
      emergencies, we express our deepest gratitude and heartfelt                                                     Norbert Graber, R. Ph.
      appreciation while recognizing the risk and stress they are                                                    and Lynn Graber, R. Ph.
      enduring. This also includes employees at Super Markets,
      Pharmacies and other open vital businesses who are enabling
      our limited outings to be bearable.
         Other examples of Life on Hold affect restrictions against
      visiting the sick, parents, grandparents and other family
      members. Canceling and missing once-in-a-life-time occasions
      including graduations, weddings, proms, funerals and other
      special birthday, anniversary and celebratory events cause deep
         So as a result of the change and disruption in our patient’s
      lifestyle, Therapists are called on to respond to patient’s reports
      of their emotional states. Symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks,
      depression, anger and resentment are some of their voiced
      complaints. Added to this is the reality of their loss of routine,
      finances, dealing with the unknown, feelings of confinement and
      increased togetherness, the negative impact of the ever-ending
      news and uncertainty of the future challenges Therapists.
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