Our Dearest Shoreline Community,
These last few weeks have tested our resolve as individuals, families, communities and as a larger society. We have been asked to slow the busy and frantic paces of our lives, to find new ways of staying connected to each other and to forego much of what is comfortable and familiar for us day to day. And it has been hard. It has been hard to be away from family and friends, to continually feel uncertain about both today and tomorrow and to hold the suffering of those afflicted by COVID-19 or those who grieve for loved ones who have lost their lives.
In many ways, life has gone on. We continue to suffer from the stress of daily life and in all the ways it looks unfamiliar now, we often find ourselves ill-equipped to cope. The strategies we’ve developed to help us get through difficult and hard times, are impaired by isolation, disconnection and unrelenting uncertainty.
And just like all of you, we have been forced to adapt the way we offer therapeutic support at Shoreline Counselling. Virtual and telephone therapy is different, there is no denying that. The connection that is felt in the virtual shared space between client and therapist is more reliant on spoken words than the unspoken looks, gestures or finite movements that often help us to understand and communicate with each other in person.
The experience of coming to our office, of being greeted by Jenn or Vera, of stepping out of the hustle and bustle of real life for an hour of regulation, connection and care, is also a significant loss of this season. We feel this too and grieve the loss alongside you.
However, in the two weeks that we have been online, we have come to realize all that this season has to offer. It has been beautiful feeling ourselves embrace the gift of slowing down, of being more connected with ourselves and our own truths while feeling and watching clients experience something similar. It has seemingly provided many clients with the space to look inward. Being able to do that, alongside their therapist, has provided the safety and comfort that is needed for the truth of emotions and experiences that live within us all to emerge, despite the uncertainty and anxiety of this season.
Moving online has also afforded us the flexibility to ensure that we can meet our clients where they are amidst their new life circumstances. It has encouraged clients to carve out a sacred, quiet space in their homes to be able to be with us and themselves. Being able to see each other’s faces has provided the comfort of something familiar, something constant and unwavering. Though far apart, the energy of two nervous systems and our mirror neurons working together towards more regulation, connection and embodiment extends beyond the limits of our screens.
If you have had doubts about continuing to work with your therapist while they are online, we encourage you to connect with them about giving it a try. We are all open to accommodating our individual client needs in order to ensure no one is left without support when they need it most. We know that many of you have fallen on hard economic times – or that you know others who have – and we encourage you to reach out to one of our interns or fellows, who offer reduced rate counselling to ensure no one has to forego support that would be helpful to them during this time.
With that in mind, we feel privileged to be able to open our hearts and skill-sets to you, our community, with a number of free therapeutic groups for both adults and kids in addition to an Instagram webinar in the coming weeks. Information about these programs can be found on our website or on social media (@shorelinecounselling).
Virtual therapy continues to be about meeting our clients where they are with compassion, care and the healing energy necessary for transformation and growth until we are back together in person.
With you on the Shoreline,
Steph, Laura & the Shoreline Counselling team