Dear Helpers,

I see you.

As a psychotherapist who has experience working in trauma and grief, I have a sense of the space you are holding. I know well the raw emotions that are emerging. I know that holding this space requires all of you: the presence of body, mind, and soul.

Collectively, the world is enduring a rupture. Many of us are experiencing what I call a crisis of narrative and/or a crisis of meaning. As we question what is happening in the world, we may wonder who we are (crisis of narrative) and if life holds meaning (crisis of meaning). Many clients come to therapy feeling as though they are falling apart. So we hold them, at that moment, until they hold themselves. Sometimes we may feel unsure they will continue to hold themselves. So we hold them in the moments beyond the session.

You, however, also need holding.

Yet, here we are in a new day–a day in which we could really use a hug–in which we are separated and isolated.

We are all in this transition. Many of us alone, with no holding.

Your colleagues and supervisors also are navigating unknowns. You may be wondering:

  • Who can I turn to?
  • Who knows what is going on?
  • Who has the answers?

The answers, of course, depend on the question.

What’s going to happen? 

This is not the question. Nobody knows what is to come of this pandemic.

  • We can make projections based on science.
  • We can have hunches based on experience.
  • We can have feelings based on intuition.

But we don’t really know what is going to happen.

That’s OK.

In school, we learn a lot of theory. We learn even more during supervision and then as we go on to acquire various advanced certifications. Knowledge and science are extremely important to what we do.

Not-knowing also has its place:

  • Make room for it.
  • Invite it in.
  • Befriend it.

In circumstances like this, the pursuit of knowledge, leaving one’s body to peruse their head, can obscure the answer:

  • You are the answer.
  • The client is the answer.
  • Your relationship is the answer.

Be fully present. Your willingness to show up to both hold and make contact in the space where raw emotions emerge into the unknown is the answer. The foundation of this willingness is trust.

  • Trust your client.
  • Trust yourself.
  • Trust the relationship.

Working in the space of not-knowing is sacred work. It is also hard. Know when to say yes. Know when to say no. You can not say yes to the inner voice telling you to create space for your well-being if you don’t say no to whoever or whatever is asking for the same time and space. You can not say yes to showing up for your clients if you haven’t said yes to taking care of you.

Take care of yourself:

  • Body.
  • Mind.
  • And soul.

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