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Emerging from the Pandemic: A Therapist’s Perspective

The pandemic took its toll on us all. We experienced a lot of loss: jobs, liberty, relationships, and sometimes even our loved ones. As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we are being met by a new normal.

We sat down to talk with Valerie Kilkenny, Co-Director of Bath Avenue Counselling Centre about the effects the Pandemic has had on us, and how we might emerge from this time as stronger, happier people.

Are you noticing any differences in the issues that people are presenting with now in comparison to before the pandemic?

The issues are largely similar, but there’s definitely more of a sense of loss now. People have lost jobs, lost loved ones and couldn’t say goodbye properly. Without a lot of the human connection that we are used to, the last two years have seen a loss of some relationships also.

What other forms of loss have people suffered?

The loss of our personal freedom has been huge. Even relatively small things like not being able to go for your regular swim, or meet your friend for a walk. Many people had to adjust to working from home, and that brings with it a big loss of connection with colleagues, friends and that human connection that we all need. Some people, especially the elderly, might have gone days with seeing another person.

What sort of issues are people coming to you with?

Depression and anxiety are very prevalent. Especially anxiety, it is incredible the amount of people coming to us now that are suffering from anxiety. Relationship difficulties are also quite common. People’s lives have changed so much, and most people went to the extremes of either not seeing each other… or living and working in the same room as each other for days on end.

What sort of impact has the pandemic had on parents, especially of young children?

Working from home has presented huge challenges for parents. It has been really difficult for many. Trying to hold down full-time work while young children are vying for your attention all day is incredibly tough.
There was no time out from that either. People like a bit of space, or a bit of time just to switch off on that journey between work and home. And it just wasn’t possible for many.

What sort of issues are people facing now as we emerge into this ‘new normal’?

As we emerge from the pandemic, some people are beginning to face up to the troubles they have experienced over the last couple of years. Perhaps they lost a loved one, and never got the chance to grieve properly.
Some people are struggling with getting back out and about. They might be nervous of crowds, and of reconnecting with people face to face. People should try to be aware of what we have all been through, and to take care of themselves. Just move at their own pace.

If someone is seeking support with some issues, how would that progress?

Initially there is a conversation over the phone about what issues the person is facing. Then we arrange the initial session where the therapist and client will meet and begin to go into detail about what the client needs and develop a plan of work. The key is that everything is done on an individual basis. Each person is different, everyone is unique.

Is there a sense that people are willing to talk, and to seek support following the pandemic?

There used to be a stigma attached to therapy, but thankfully that is changing. If you go to therapy, it doesn’t mean that you have to have a huge problem. And one thing that has happened during the pandemic is that people have realised how important it is to talk. Therapy offers people that chance to come in to talk in a safe and supportive environment.

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Sandymount, Dublin D04 K386
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