The go to mentality in crisis is a scarcity mentality. It makes sense. When we feel threatened, we go into our fight or flight brain and protect ourselves and our loved ones. This is a great standard human feature that has gone a long way in keeping us going as a species. The big difference in the coronavirus pandemic is that it’s looking like it will be a long haul. At least weeks, if not months of interrupted lives and scary realities. The fight or flight feature of our brain was only designed to be employed for minutes to hours.
After we move beyond the minutes or hours stages we see it taking a huge toll on our ability to think, our physical health and especially our mental health. The quality of our experience shows a diminishing return that is compounded over time when we are living in fight or flight or too long. For some people they will even begin to experience the prolonged stress as a trauma.
So why would therapy be helpful during the pandemic? Two reasons:
1. Therapy done well, moves us out of our fight or flight brain in a meaningful way. Even in those places that we keep getting stuck on our own, a quality counselor will help us find the way out of the fight or flight. In therapy we get ways to stay out of fight or flight and even avoid it in the future. Good counseling offers skills that transfer outside of the session, so that we can spend more time in our higher brain and have a greater ability to feel relief on our own when we do get really stressed or afraid outside of the session.
2. Additionally, if you are not especially panicked in these times, there is something else that is ripe here and that is major changes. Many things are different right now and in these times of forced change we get to see things in new ways. We have experiences we wouldn’t have picked on our own. Even if we don’t like the change, it’s quality information to make use of if we choose to. This is an awesome time to get yourself into therapy and make the most of the opportunity that we are living out. If we have to go through it anyway, why not juice it for all it’s worth?