One of the most important aspects of CBT during the current COVID 19 crisis is to help clients understand what we know about the psychological impact of a public health emergency and Quarantine/Social isolation. Once this is achieved the next step is to develop an idiosyncratic coping plan in the context of the client’s most distressing aspect of the crisis.
Typically clients are presenting in the following three areas:
- Physical health
- Concerns about Quarantine/Social Isolation.
Helping clients to identify the role of ALTRUSIM is essential in facilitating not just a comprehensible understanding of the need for self isolation but also in fostering their motivation. Considering the lives that clients could potentially save will help to strengthen their resolve in the day to day struggles that it brings them.
” Those that have a WHY to live, can bear with any HOW!” Viktor Frankl
The role of Social Media.
The role of Social Media can be very enlightening and informative at the beginning of a public health emergency like COVID-19. However over time this can just escalate current levels of worry and anxiety, especially with clients that have a pre-existing vulnerability to an anxiety disorder. Naturally during these times people are scared, lonely and isolated. This can lead to a burgeoning motivation to increase DISINFORMATION that can circulate through lack of insight or not knowing any better. The unfortunate social and personal consequences that isolation brings with it also tends to engender a need to provoke others and inducing unnecessary panic responses. The vast majority of these social media posts and feeds are not CREDIBLE, INNACCURATE AND NON- RELIABLE. CBT helps clients to limit their exposure to social media and consider the value of a more discerning approach to absorbing relevant information by selectively attending to reputable sources such as media broadcasts from renowned TV stations, publications from Health Authorities and Government information releases. A strategic CBT plan will help clients distinguish between ACTUALLY connecting with people i.e direct email messaging or video/SKYPE interactions AND passively absorbing and reviewing other people’s social media posts/feeds which just increases worrying and anxiety responses. CBT assists the client in considering the costs/benefits of creating social distancing with social media!
Developing a healthy routine during these unpredictable times can be an invaluable mental health resource in managing and reducing controllable risks. Not only will this be a strong defence against rumination and worry but also can foster client’s creativity in sharing social experiences that maybe go against the norm but can become alternative sources of pleasure and reward that can mitigate against any adverse reactions during this critical time in all of our lives.