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Alyssa will facilitate the August sessions focused on relationships
August is around the corner and Becoming Us will be focused on "Relationships" for that month's sessions. Becoming Us, brought to you by BetterHelp, is a group session designed to help us articulate our emotions to better understand how to become better people as we navigate through this journey toward the new normal - whatever that even means - because every day is a new challenge.
Group sessions are a great way to share stories about how we're dealing with certain struggles. Think about the success of AA.
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For these sessions, a BetterHelp therapist will open up with an overview of the particular topic. A moderator will, mostly me, will ask people to share their stories that relate to the topic, or the group can ask questions, make comments or just listen. This is about you sharing your stories as a cathartic way to understand your situation and as a way to help others as they can relate to your story, and maybe even be inspired by what you share.
In August, the therapist will be Alyssa Morrison. Her theoretical orientations include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT); dialectical behavioral influenced therapy (DBT) with a particular focus on mindfulness; psychodynamic; and solution-focused.
Q: COVID has forced us to live too close to some people and not close enough to others. How has COVID changed relationship dynamics based on your practice?
Alyssa: A lot of people are experiencing some intensifying stressors as Covid-19 continues to impact our home/work life and certainly economic outlooks. If a relationship was already under stress, these major changes and increased time together can deepen wedges between people. However, I have also seen relationships that have looked at this time as a challenge that the partners/group would take on together. When we refocus the attention on solution finding as a collective, there are many more opportunities to feel supported and validated. For those who have been facing physical isolation or distance from the people they care about or work closely with, this can be an extremely lonely time that requires a lot of purposeful connections weekly if not daily.
Q: How has the political unrest, economic uncertainty changed our relationships with one another?
Alyssa: Change is difficult, especially when intense emotions are present. I have been seeing a lot of people taking stock of not only their relationships but also their role in the relationship's function and health. As painful as it may be to consider what is not working both intrapersonally and internally, these shifts allow for greater social advancement.
Q: I read that there's been a rise in marital conflict during this time. What are the main "relationship" concerns you're hearing during these crazy times?
Alyssa: The themes of the romantic relationship conflicts that people are describing most often are related to parenting and working from home dynamics and what feels equitable in terms of responsibility load, differing views on precautions and socializing, and an exacerbation of already present issues. What it often comes down to is a sense of wanting to be seen and validated by the other person for how difficult the situation is and the ways the effort exerted is appreciated and understood.
Q: Are there any stories that stand out that might be helpful for people struggling with 1) marriages 2) relationships with coworkers 3) not being in a relationship?
Alyssa: The thing that stands out the most is that everyone is struggling in some way. Even for those who understand that their situation is not as dire as another person's, they still have their own struggles as a person living in a pandemic. This collective suffering can absolutely feel very disheartening. However, it also offers an opportunity for us to reframe the individual struggle to a group effort to improve the present state (e.g. emotional, economical, medical).
Q: How is it changing dating relationships?
Alyssa: Overall I have found that people have become really creative with their approaches to dating! Sure, there are plenty of people who are discouraged. However, many clients are finding ways to practice social distance and still meet people via Facetime/Skype and even meeting at parks or other outdoor venues that allow for six feet distancing. I think this purposeful commitment to continue to date and meet people is a welcome distraction and something for people to look forward to that seems "normal" during this tumultuous period.
Q: How have you seen it change work dynamics in your practice?
Alyssa: The transition to working from home has presented a lot of growing pains for many people. There are so many distractions when this happens spur of the moment; whether it be multiple people in the same environment or facing a lot less social interaction than normal. Clients have been sharing a lot of concerns with me also about what returning to work in offices will be like if children do not return to school or child care is not easily accessible (many reported daycare closings and nanny shortages). There is a sense of defeat for many people that work will continue to be a difficult task to manage well or worse will not continue to be available due to furthering financial crises.
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Joined Vator onI am a telemental health therapist with BetterHelp and also in private practice. My primary focuses include relationships, parenting frustrations, grief & loss, and trauma. I also serve as adjunct faculty in Fordham University's MSW program.