7 April 2020

Our counselling service, YMCA Dialogue, has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by enabling all of its counsellors to work online. So, all the young people using our service can still have sessions and get the help they need. But, more than that, our counsellors have also been sharing their advice on how we can all navigate these difficult times and look after our mental health.Below, Lape Odebode, Girls and Young Women’s Counselling Coordinator, shares her thoughts on the importance of hope.

Hope.

There is hope…I’m holding onto hope…we need to stay hopeful…

These phrases may be quite familiar to some people reading this, maybe you have even used the phrases yourself. Hope is such a key need for our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and in the world of counselling and psychotherapy hope is something that we try and maintain for our clients.

The last couple of weeks in this global pandemic have involved adjusting to a new way of life and work and this includes a new way of providing therapy, receiving supervision and engaging in peer support.

Technology has become a great ally with various apps helping us to continue meetings, and the traditional yet significant phone call is acting as a vital resource to stay connected and maintain the flow of hope.

In thinking about how to ‘hold onto hope’ during these times, three ideas come to mind:

1. Reconnect with your ‘why?’

Why do you do what you do, provide support, develop services and support those in need? (Simon Sinek has a great TED Talk on this)

2. Look out

Looking out helps us to keep our compassion alive. Never underestimate the value of an encouraging text or uplifting email-especially during this time when we are having less physical contact with others!

3. Look in

Looking in and healthily responding to our needs helps us to refuel and re-energise to keep doing what we do! You may want to develop a new interest, or simply continue to embrace your regular self-care rhythms. Our inner worlds have a huge effect on how we navigate through the changing outer world.

Hope.

There is hope…I’m holding on to hope…we need to stay hopeful…

All these statements are true for me right now, and I’m hoping that reconnecting with my ‘why?’, looking out, and looking in can help me, and us, navigate through the weeks ahead.

Lape Odebode,
Girls and Young Women’s Counselling Coordinator, YMCA Dialogue.