Flattening The Curve – Sessions Go Online This Week!

Dear clients, friends, and community members,

In light of recent recommendations from the medical community and state government to reduce social contact and public exposure in order to help reduce overall spread of the novel coronavirus, therapy sessions will be moving online as of the upcoming week (Monday 3/16/20). Let’s work together to #flattenthecurve and keep our community healthy!

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Thera-Link is a secure, HIPAA-compliant, appropriately encrypted platform that a number of clients have already been using since early 2019. Clients have joined therapy sessions using their computers and/or phones, and have so far usually reported it to be very easy to use.

Current clients will be contacted individually with the necessary information to join their therapy sessions this week. New clients* are also still welcome to schedule sessions!

Intersectional Life Counseling and Psychology offers remote video sessions (in-office sessions suspended temporarily) for PA residents, as well as sliding-scale rates from $70.

Please email us if you would like to schedule or have any questions!

(*Please note: clients MUST be in PA during sessions due to licensure and legal issues.)

StayHomeGame

Stay Home Simulator by Brendon Chung @BlendoGames

Flattening The Curve – Sessions Go Online This Week!

Dear clients, friends, and community members,

In light of recent recommendations from the medical community and state government to reduce social contact and public exposure in order to help reduce overall spread of the novel coronavirus, therapy sessions will be moving online as of the upcoming week (Monday 3/16/20). Let’s work together to #flattenthecurve and keep our community healthy!

waitingroom2

thera-link-mug

 

 

 

 

 

Thera-Link is a secure, HIPAA-compliant, appropriately encrypted platform that a number of clients have already been using since early 2019. Clients have joined therapy sessions using their computers and/or phones, and have so far usually reported it to be very easy to use.

Current clients will be contacted individually with the necessary information to join their therapy sessions this week. New clients* are also still welcome to schedule sessions!

Intersectional Life Counseling and Psychology offers remote video sessions (in-office sessions suspended temporarily) for PA residents, as well as sliding-scale rates from $70.

Please email us if you would like to schedule or have any questions!

(*Please note: clients MUST be in PA during sessions due to licensure and legal issues.)

StayHomeGame

Stay Home Simulator by Brendon Chung @BlendoGames

Keeping Your Balance in the Apocalypse

If you have been feeling worried about illness recently, you are definitely not alone. Even people who don’t normally experience health anxieties are affected by news regarding the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Ships quarantined, cities locked down, schools closing, hospitals overwhelmed. Much of what we hear is the absolute worst of the news, and for now at least the rest is largely unknown.

An endless wave of bad news can certainly increase depression, while facing an unknown can increase anxiety,  so the situation is a recipe for increased stress on everyone’s mental health. In addition, we are carrying the weight of experiencing others’ stress and worries as well. It’s not only a nationwide mental health stressor, but a worldwide one.

It’s common for PTSD symptoms and anxiety symptoms generally to spike during times of crisis, especially for those who are in vulnerable marginalized groups. This is true whether or not you have a trauma history that is specifically related to the crisis itself. So you may be experiencing more symptoms such as insomnia, panic attacks, melancholy or dread, fibromyalgia, hives, flashbacks, migraines, dissociation, suicidality, agorophobia, or obsessions and compulsions, to name a few of the common ones.

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What to do first:

As in any times of crisis, there are four basic elements of self-stabilizing, beginning with the body.

First of all, you need sleep! If you are experiencing insomnia, address this first. Sleeplessness makes everything else hard to manage, both physically and mentally. You may use self-help methods or you may seek professional support from a therapist if your insomnia is entrenched.

Another aspect of stabilization is to make sure you are eating: get enough healthy fuel. If stress has activated disordered eating such as restricting or bingeing, don’t ignore it. Address it directly.

Exercise: If you already have a reasonable exercise program, do your best to maintain it. If you have begun to isolate, try just taking a 10-minute walk daily. Even mild exercise will help both your body and mind feel better and more able to handle whatever stresses are arising. Also, being outdoors and seeing other people can remind you that human life is continuing and you are still part of a mutually supportive, helpful society.

Which leads to another important aspect, that of social support. It’s important to connect with supportive others, in whatever format you can. Even if you must work from home, you can text or email or talk on the phone with someone. Make sure to do this daily!

Maintain Your Routine and Stay Connected

In the broader sense, counteract a sense of helpless disaster by focusing your perception on the many thousands of highly capable and caring people in every possible area of life–health care workers, emergency workers, researchers, spiritual leaders, parents, neighbors, friends–who are planning and preparing to support, save, and take care of all of us as best they can. Maybe you are one of those people!

Remember that your fellow humans feel a sense of care and responsibility towards you, just as you feel towards them. We protect and help one another to get through. And as Mr. Rogers famously described, “looking for the helpers” is a good way to reassure yourself in a crisis. Becoming one of the helpers yourself–even in a small, neighborly way–can help you to feel less powerless.

When you have stabilized your primary needs as best you can

The next step is to do your emotional self-care. First of all, accept your emotions. It is reasonable to feel scared or angry or any other emotion in a crisis. So have acceptance for whatever those feelings may be, and find ways to comfort yourself.

The trick, however, is to not buy into the cognitions that anxiety or depression may generate. Recognize that if your thoughts are becoming dreadful, it’s likely you are experiencing catastrophization or similar cognitive distortions. One way to reframe this for yourself is to recognize what you have control over (sensible interventions and planning) and what you do not have control over (worldwide events).

If it is something that you do have control over (sensible hygiene, having medications and basic supplies available, planning alternate child care / work locations, rescheduling travel), then implement those things. But worrying will not help you with the implementation.

If it is something you do not have control over, then again–worrying will not help. You may feel afraid and it is worth talking through the fear with someone. But you may need to let go of a sense that you must control the situation in order to survive it. Much of this is out of your control and anyone else’s! Seek solidly data-driven, practical sources of information rather than sensationalized or over-minimized sources. This will help you know what to actually prepare for.

The worry protocol includes not only contagion, but another common anxiety: financial fears. For some, this is regarding recent stock market drops, and for others, simply the ability to pay rent each month when society is disrupted or they could become ill. Again, the worry protocol holds: sensibly plan and implement the parts that you can. The parts that are out of your control may happen or they may not. If they do happen, you and others will do your best to recover and repair as soon as you are able. You may or you may not incur losses, but you will deal with those if they occur.

So…in order to keep yourself emotionally stable:

Take good care of yourself, accept your emotions, manage your cognitions, make practical plans that are based on reality, relinquish control of the uncontrollable, maintain your routines as best you can, and find some way to become a helper. If you are struggling with these issues, consider seeing a therapist to help you sort through them!

Intersectional Life Counseling and Psychology offers in-office sessions (and remote video sessions for PA residents), as well as sliding-scale rates from $70. Please contact us if you would like to schedule or have any questions!

Notre Dame Fire: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Header photo via Westcoaster

Millions around the world grieve a significant piece of European and world history:

As civilizations have experienced throughout the history of humanity:

 

When there is a loss grieved by so many at once, we may feel very connected to others or very isolated. Both are normal. You may have never been to the Cathedral, but it’s part of our communal knowledge and experience.

It can also feel strange and even dissociative to witness historic events–especially painful ones–as though we are observing history passing instead of being “inside” it, as usual. A significant historic event can bring up issues of mortality, death, and existential issues.

Make sure to take care of your physical body and to connect with others in a positive, everyday way as best you can when catastrophic events occur. Eat a meal with someone, stop for a drink, talk on the phone, stop at someone’s house to say “hi,” hold someone’s hand, go to a service, hug your children.

Food Stamps Affected by Shutdown: Be Prepared!

An important alert via Dr. Latinia Shell:

“Please spread the word! Anyone who receives Food Stamps will receive their February benefit Friday January 18th. This will be the last Food Stamp benefit until the Government Shutdown is lifted. This was confirmed today on WGAL by News Reporter Ron Martin.”

Other related resources:

Area food banks listed here.

Local soup kitchens and food banks listed here.

Pennsylvania United Way link here for comprehensive assistance resources (or dial 2-1-1). If using the website you can use search terms such as “food, Lancaster” to show multiple resources.

Heri Za Kwanzaa!

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, a non-religious holiday in African-American culture. While it may not be widely formally celebrated, many people celebrate at least some aspects of Kwanzaa.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa emphasize values of community building, mutual support, and progress. Their names are expressed in Swahili: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani).

(Click image to go to the official Kwanzaa website)

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Shadow and Act posted a brief article featuring a video series debunking Kwanzaa myths. And this year the USPS featured another Forever stamp with a Kwanzaa theme.

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And According to Blavity’s Trey Mangum, we MUST see this episode of The Proud Family:

Whether you celebrate a little or a lot, or simply observe by pausing for thoughtful reflection during this time, may your holiday be a time for reconnection and renewal.

Progressive Office-Mate Wanted for Downtown Lancaster Location

We’re looking for an office-mate in mental health care or an allied/complementary profession! If you’re dedicated to helping others in a context of improving civil rights and equality for all kinds of people, your kind of business is probably right for sharing our space.

Fantastic location and beautiful Victorian-era building. First floor office. Very centrally located in  downtown Lancaster right next to the Public Library and very near the city bus station.

Individual office with shared restroom, waiting room and common/hall area (see photos below). Office space is 143 sq. ft. (13X11) for $550 per month. Security door with numeric keypad. Public street parking and off-street private parking available. Private phone line and internet also available.

Please email Intersectionallife@gmail.com if you have any questions or are interested!

 

 

 

When Someone Is Grieving

It’s very important to know what NOT to say when someone is grieving:

 

Often just the words “I’m so sorry” are enough.

A Year After Charlottesville: Combating Hate

“We can’t assume others will do the talking.” Heather Heyer’s mother discusses learning to speak out:

 

Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Ten Ways”: