This is the 13th week that I’ve been providing sessions remotely. Prior to that, I always provided it on an as needed basis. For example, with clients with a sick kiddo at home, someone traveling for work, for a mom who could not get away completely from work and we had to do session during her lunch break, or for a client who felt so depressed that she could not leave the house. This has been a completely new thing providing therapy services through a screen full time. In some ways, I feel fortunate that my clients adapted quickly, and that I was able to continue to provide support during such an uncertain time. But I miss the space that’s created when I’m sitting with my clients. I miss my office, my plants, and being able to actually sit with someone. Doing these sessions from home, just feels different. However, truly one of my favorite parts of doing remote work – meeting the fur family members of my clients. I’ve loved seeing every cat, dog, even some baby raccoons that are being rehabilitated before going back into the wild. These are animals that I hear so often about in session that I now get to meet.
As things open up more in Texas, clients ask when I plan to go back into the office. I’ve always replied with I don’t know yet. I’ve listened to other therapists argue that we must provide services and that we must do it in person. Others strongly argue that it is incredibly risky for ourselves and for our clients to meet in person. I thought that I could just look to someone else to help me to decide what would be best. Tell me the right thing to do and I’ll do it. However it’s no that easy. It’s not straightforward. Like most things I found that I had to sit, and think, even feel some discomfort in order to decide what works best for me and my practice.
I began to realize that right now, today, if I sat in a room with someone, I would wonder if I was potentially getting them sick or if I could get sick and pass it to someone else in my life. My thought is, that this fear would be an undercurrent of our sessions and that potentially the safety that is so important in my therapeutic work would be challenged by this. As a relational therapist, I try to root the foundation of my work in the relationship established between me and my client. Along with my client, I strive to create a strong, collaborative and secure relationship. Unfortunately right now, with the risk of transmission of COVID-19, for me that very safety is compromised. Yes, I could wear a mask and ask my clients to do the same, but I just don’t have eyes that can communicate emotions well, and I wonder what that would be like if my clients couldn’t see what I was feeling.
However, by continuing to do sessions by video I sit closer to my clients than I ever have in the office where we can both share an emotional experience. I can see them and they can see me. We’re able to rely on the already established relationship from previously meeting face to face, and I hope that sometime soon we can meet again in my office. For now, I’m here and look forward to seeing you, even remotely.