I think I’m writing a blog but forgive me if this is something else entirely.

Nothing is particularly clear right now – what once felt real is distant, what feels unreal is near.

The imagined terror and unease I would occasionally experience when watching a Black Mirror episode or getting lost in the world of Philip K Dick is somehow upon me – what did he once say:

‘It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane’

Let’s be clear – I don’t want to go insane. However, coronavirus madness is here (think toilet rolls) and in our time of greatest need we are supposed to come together and help each other, but at the same time keep our distance, be careful what we touch, stand behind the 2 metre line, stay indoors and save lives – what sort of a paradox is this?

Maybe this blog is partly about staying sane in a mad world.

take a walk in the middle of the road
I was walking through Harrogate (the day before lockdown) and the streets were more or less empty. I was so aware of keeping my social distance – my sense of spatial awareness had never been greater. However, there was space – plenty of it – hardly any cars, barely any pedestrians. What did I do? I took a walk down the middle of the road (yeh, check me, how mad am I – ha) and must have travelled about 300 metres on foot before a car came along. It was a great sense of freedom and in sharp contrast to Boris’ lockdown transmission later. (just to be clear to anyone bothering to read this – I’m not recommending you take up middle of the road walking as a regular and safe way to stay physically and mentally healthy)

faith in my decorators
I’ve bought a house recently (not moved in yet) – the decorators have been there for the past couple of weeks. One of the decorators has a wife with a new kidney, so you can imagine his worry and concern. We got chatting yesterday – we kept our 2 (probably 3) metres apart – it felt energising to forget about the paint on the walls and chat about the bigger picture – good to chat, great to share, let’s talk about coronavirus and the impact on our lives, our thoughts, our feelings, our physical and mental health & wellbeing.

remote definitely works – even in a car
like all of us offering counselling and support to others, I have had to recalibrate and move away from traditional face to face counselling to phone and online. Yesterday felt good. We all need alternative and safe ways to communicate right now and modern technology provides this. I can be counselling you on a screen and we can still feel connected, you can still feel supported, I can still feel effective. You can even be parked in a car on a driveway and facetime for therapy (yes, my client did this yesterday)

time for positive imagination and innovation
So we adopt standards of good practice for our counselling – all fair enough and important to follow – alongside this we aim for a rhythm, frequency and duration – 50 minutes to an hour, mainly once a week or bi weekly, occasionally every 3 weeks or a monthly check in maybe.

To the purists these will not sound like sane thoughts but is now the time for a different way of doing things? We are already having to set up home work stations (get ready for the pet cat or dog or iguana to jump on your lap when you’re in mid-session) If a client is stressed out, full of catatonic and apocalyptic doom, in existential crisis, grieving, suffering, dying, anxious, depressed, lonely and confused, who are we to make them wait for help – we need to reach out, make connections, be bolder in our approach – not wait for the clients to arrive once a week. People need us now and if not now, then sooner rather than later. This could be about volunteering, or it could be about finding ways to reinvent ourselves or re-structuring the duration and timing of sessions and our approaches.

now is the time

I believe the time has arrived for a new wave of thinking and a regeneration of what we offer and how we offer this. This is not a normal time, so let’s make time to re-think and reset.

We need to re-route the counselling pathways to support reaching out more effectively to clients.

We need to think more about what we offer and how we offer it.

We need to think about ourselves, as well as others.

We need to stay sane in a mad world.

To be continued (more ramblings)