Our world is in flux right now, with many of us adapting to a new way of doing our jobs and living our lives. Voices is a series of guest blog posts from people within the education world. This week we turn to Northwestern University Master’s student in Counseling, Robin Faris, to express what many of us are feeling as our lives are upended by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Thoughts From a Counselor in Training
by Robin Faris
“Mama said there’d be days like this.”
Wait. No, she didn’t.
Days like this are unchartered territory.
All of us who thought we were “pretty together” just joined the ranks of those who have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression for years. For those of us who were given the gift of being raised with a solid foundation and a sense that the world is a safe place, we just joined the ranks of those who had that dream shattered years ago.
In a way, maybe there is a solidarity our client’s might feel, a sense of “welcome.” Conversely, as therapists (and I am only one in training right now), there is an expectation that we are supposed to be “more together” than the people we meet with. How does one do that, when the world has changed for all of us?
Hopefully, that’s where the training comes in…
When I decided to go back to school for a Master’s Degree in Counseling, it felt like the right time. One can only imagine the excitement felt as Winter 2020 came to a close and the finish line appeared but a few short 6 months away. Then Covid-19 arrived.
As of our new normal, teletherapy is a tool of beneficence.
It’s a novel experience to be a student living in a time when the professors and licensed professionals are also in unchartered territory. It is inspirational to watch how these educators and health professionals are taking the challenge in stride and “walking the walk” of radical acceptance. While teletherapy had been easing its way into the field of mental health for a while, it is now essential for reaching clients in this time of confusion and distress. For me, teletherapy was thought of as a resource for expanding reach. As of our new normal, teletherapy is a tool of beneficence. It is the net that was taken for granted until we all got knocked off the high wire.
As a mom of three kids who are all home now, it is new territory to manage the unknown for them. I often default to conversations about what we can control and what we cannot. We have conversations on living in the present and spending our time wisely.
I am thankful for the education I have been a part of for the past two years, as I feel like it has provided me with tools for a completely unprecedented time. As an emerging graduate/professional, I am thankful for technology and the minds who pushed for the development of teletherapy. In a time where we are faced with something as distressing as forced isolation, there would be a gap in the ability to tend to the client’s best interest without it.
Taking all of the above and swirling it into a vat of the unknown, I think at the end of the day, we default to being human. We are strong, we are scared, we are brave, we are weak, we are resilient, we are fallible, we are curious, we are ignorant, and we certainly have the ability to be kind. So as a Master’s student in the counseling profession, and mom of three, I’m trying to honor my weakness as well as my strengths, and be one of the humans that says, “I see you doing your best. I’m doing mine. Let me know if you want to talk.”
About the author
Robin Faris has a B.A. in Rhetoric from the University of Illinois. She is currently obtaining her MA in Counseling from Northwestern University. She is the author of the blog “Dear Todd“. Robin also teaches Drama to elementary and middle school students. She has an acting career, performing in community playhouse productions and dinner theater. Robin resides in Fort Collins, CO with her husband, 3 children, dog and chickens.