“The COVID-19 crisis has shifted my clinical focus to support clients around quarantine-specific coping skills, relational support (parenting/partner), and grief processing. Many clients are grieving, while also experiencing a heightened loss of control. With adolescent clients in particular, I have emphasized grief processing, as older adolescents are grieving critical milestones that may never occur or have radically shifted in nature (i.e. graduation, prom, beginning college on campus, launching). Younger adolescents are often grieving lack of social contact with their peers, and increased stress related to being confined to their homes and keeping up with remote learning.”
Another focus area particular to the COVID-19 crisis is how to help clients access their agency given current constraints. I have recently emphasized with clients the importance of setting up rituals/structures that promote mental and emotional wellness and how to set boundaries around media consumption/screen time. Parental stress seems to be particularly acute with the pandemic. I have regularly offered parenting support by emphasizing that parents commit to self-care and compassion while facing mounting stressors. Family dynamics have shifted in sometimes radical ways. Couples are needing support around navigating roles and responsibilities more than ever. Adolescents need support related to finding their own space and freedom, given that social outlets and school routines have been ruptured. Children often require more reassurance and attention in response to heightened stress in their families. I believe that access to mental health services is absolutely critical during this crisis, and that offering reassurance to our clients helps to buffer current stressors.