If you were a fly on the wall of my therapy office over the last week or so, you would have heard a lot of talk about the COVID-19 pandemic. What I started noticing quickly was that there are a lot of similarities in how people are experiencing the crisis and what we’re all saying about it. “I’ve never experienced anything like this” and “This is so bizarre” have been heavy hitters as well as plenty of jokes about lifetime supplies of toilet paper. I often reflect on my job and see the privilege that it is to be able to sometimes be on the front lines of people’s vulnerability and more unfiltered observations and experiences. With that being said, a few common themes have been on my mind that I thought might be worth sharing.

In a very real way, each moment of our lives is potentially therapeutic as we seek to deepen our presence with each other.

Dr. Bonnie Badenoch, The Heart of Trauma

As mentioned above, we haven’t experienced anything quite like this before and most of us, it seems, are acutely aware of this in similar ways. Anything that rocks our world on this sort of level- on some conscious or unconscious wavelength- brings up some existential awareness, thoughts, or questions. It can cause us to think deeply about our day-to-day lives, our values, and our priorities like nothing else can. While many of us are being slowed down by the changes in our routines, we might all benefit from taking the time to temporarily shift our focus and ask what this experience can teach or show us that we might not have considered otherwise.

…Crisis means to sift. Let it all fall away and you’ll be left with what matters. What matters most cannot be taken away. Just do the next right thing one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home.

Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior

A useful construct in the somatic therapy world centers around the idea of paying attention to what is going right. If you talk to many somatically-informed trauma therapists, you’re bound to hear one of them describe the idea that, among all of the unknowns in working deeply with trauma, we always know more is going right in a body than is going wrong. I often find that the living, breathing human in front of me in trauma therapy has no idea how beautiful and incredible their resilience is.

In times of crisis and especially in one as big as we’re experiencing now, it’s easy to begin to feel like everything is off-kilter, nothing is normal. What my trauma training has taught me, though, is that systemically this simply can’t be the case. Even though I’m not in my usual office and am instead meeting with counseling clients online, it’s still just me and my client and therapy and support looks largely similar. Even though we’re more geographically separated from people than we normally would be, they’re still our people. They still care about us and we still care about them. I think it’s important right now to find the normalcy among all the non-normalcy and the resiliency we hold there. It’s there; we just may have to go looking for it or be intentional about fostering it in order to see it.

The essence of trauma isn’t events, but aloneness within them.

Dr. Bonnie Badenoch, The Heart of Trauma

The last thought I want to include here may be the simplest and perhaps the most important: we’re all in this together. Every one of us has been impacted in some way by the pandemic. I believe that is one of the main reasons we’re experiencing it as such a unique experience. I believe we will function at our best right now if we remain mindful of this fact and act with intentionality in supporting each other. Again, Glennon Doyle’s words fit so beautifully here, “All we can do is offer relief from this fear: I am all alone. That’s the one fear you can alleviate.”

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *