Dr. Foojan Zeine discusses our perception of reality and living in a way that accepts reality rather than our view of the way things should be. She interviews two psychotherapists, Dr. Michael Yapko and Paul Krauss MA LPC. The interview went live on KMET 1490 AM/ ABC New Radio (Handling Today & Yesterday) on April 20, 2020. You can watch the interviews below and download the podcast at the bottom of this blog.
There are many unknowns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and Dr. Yapko says that the unknowns can invite analysis and projections. However, the ability to handle ambiguities in life is key to emotional health. Trying to create concrete answers for issues that are not known or resolved can lead to rumination and unhealthy coping styles. Instead, Dr. Yapko’s advice is to accept the uncertainty. Focusing on short-term coping is the best option in uncertain situations.
To deal with short-term stressors, Dr. Yapko also introduces his app, “Mindset,” which is free for the month of April. It is available on iOS and will be available soon on Android. This app provides hypnosis sessions and other tools to reduce anxiety.
Whether you have the app or not, we can decide what we want to focus on throughout the day. For example, a gratitude journal could be more useful than dwelling on the unknown future. Instead of being negative towards ourselves for not responding the “right” way to the pandemic, we can use compartmentalization to set aside frustrations and focus on what we can do now.
Dr. Yapko says, “What you focus on, you amplify.” He suggests that problem-solving is a mistake because the more we think about or analyze a situation, the more we ruminate. Sometimes we have to accept that there are things out of our control and that we do not have all the necessary information to make a decision that will provide solutions.
In the second half of the interview, Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses his definition of trauma. At the most basic level, it is a nervous system experience that affects us on a biological level. When things in the environment happen to us, our body responds in ways that we cannot control. We can either recognize this or avoid integrating the experiences. Either way, the nervous system is still impacted.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is the most helpful treatment for short-term stressors. This combines talk therapy with bilateral stimulation to integrate the emotional experience with the physical experience. Childhood wounds can take longer to heal because of their repetitive nature, but EMDR with other therapies can be useful in breaking free from old patterns that were learned over the course of a lifetime. Those who have been through trauma can be very resilient and successful, but there are still weaknesses that can be addressed. Therapy can help turn these burdens into strengths.
As a final word of advice regarding coronavirus, Paul notes that everyone is affected, but this situation is temporary. Two specific things we can do in the meantime are to connect with friends via the internet and to take advantage of the free telehealth counseling services many insurance companies are providing at this time.
Download the podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/handling-today-yesterday-inner-voice-dr-foojan-zeine/id1382527139?i=1000472135972Health for Life Grand Rapids here to support you through this stressful time. If you would like to talk to someone about your fears and concerns, please contact us. We have telehealth options available so you don’t need to come into the office.
- We are offering additional options to our clients and the community: Optional Secure Telehealth/ Remote Therapy (covered by insurance).
- Please do not hesitate to reach out to your therapist/clinician directly for details. We will customize a plan for your needs. You can also call our reception M-TH, 9-5, (616)-200-4433.
To learn more about counseling visit our counseling page here.
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