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I have been reluctant to put “pen to paper”. The work that I do is individual and moulded by each unique interaction between me and client. I am unsure of how to generalise it in a way that wouldn’t create assumptions or limitations in the mind of the reader.

Da Silly Heads posted on their Instagram story the other day a quote that summed up what I was thinking. “Mental health is not a one size fits all.” That is it in a nutshell. The work of psychotherapy is about getting support in finding your sense of “self”. We all can read tips or share what works for each of us in terms of self care but the effect has to be felt to be known. The feeling cannot be taught through another, but can be felt with another. The relationship between the therapist and client is a supportive relationship
to uncover in the client their individual sense of wellbeing. You are the expert on yourself. Therapy is about building that confidence and learning how your previous experiences have shaped or distorted that. We are all born in relationship and it is through relationship real change can take place.

In terms of relationship right now, I am sure we are all feeling the impact of isolation in one way or another. It can be positive, negative and all shades in between at the same time! Time to ourselves can reveal an awful lot of what our usual busy lives keep our attention away from. The overload of
responsibility with working remotely and home schooling can ignite unprecedented stress, frustration and perhaps loneliness. Anxiety is no doubt a collective response to the lack of control and structure we are all
experiencing now more than ever.

Therapy is accessible throughout restrictions. It is an essential mental health service provided under essential social care. Each therapist is an individual with a unique personality and that is the tool in which they use to work with you. It is important to allow yourself the freedom to find the right fit for you.
Reaching out for support can be really helpful in any stage of life for anyone. There is an old myth that you have to be “bad enough” for therapy but the truth is it can be a supportive tool at any stage. The most important thing for me personally right now is to remind myself to be as gentle and compassionate to myself as possible. It is only through that I may be present to others in my life both personally and professionally. I hope for anyone reading that they can find a way to be patient and kind to themselves in order to be able to hear and feel what is needed for self care and never feel that support is out of reach.

Gemma O’Connell
Psychotherapy and Counselling Pre-Accredited member of the Irish Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors.

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