Individual Counseling Can Teach How To Maintain Healthy Relationships During Social Distancing
Individual counseling is available to help you maintain healthy relationships with friends and family who, because of social distancing, may keep you at more than an arm’s length away from them. Terri Dichiser, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Take Charge, Inc., offers counseling via teletherapy during this time to give you the tools needed to learn to keep in touch with those important to you in life.
Social distancing and isolation can be dangerous if people don’t work to maintain their connections with others. Even if you are surrounded by family members at home, tensions will arise, and relationships can be strained. It is imperative to cultivate relationships outside the home, even if you can’t see them face-to-face.
In 2020, we are better equipped than ever to have vivid and active social lives online. Research has found time and again that though technology has its drawbacks, it can help us improve our relationships and people can stay psychologically close when face-to-face contact decreases if other ways of communicating are implemented instead. With individual counseling, Terri can give you advice on the best ways to keep connected.
Use video calls when possible to connect. Video chat allows us to see the other person’s nonverbal behaviors, which alerts us to their mood and allows for clearer, more effective communication. In times where people are socially isolated, rich nonverbal cues can be even more important because they provide a feeling of “presence” that audio-only phone calls lack. On video chat, grandparents can see their grandchildren’s mannerisms and friends can be reminded of each other’s funny or endearing quirks.
There are five primary maintenance strategies that are linked to higher quality relationships – positivity, openness, assurances, tasks, and networks.
Positivity can be difficult amidst uncertainty and anxiety that can be associated with the constant flow of news, which may make it more important than ever. Finding ways to be positive with those we love and care about can bring joy into someone’s stressful day. Individual counseling with Terri can help keep your positivity going day to day.
Openness can be uncomfortable at first over technology, but the more nonverbal cues the technology offers, the better. Active listening is shown through eye contact, nodding your head, and verbal encouragement.
Assurances refer to assuring your friends and loved ones that you care about them and that your relationship is meaningful to you. Especially in times of social isolation, assurances are important. Take the time to tell someone you love them, care for them, and that they are important to you. Do not take this for granted.
Tasks include sharing relational work like who picks up the phone to call the other person or who sends the first text. When the future of events is uncertain like they are right now, you might share the work of coming up with contingency plans to celebrate the event and reassure each other that a celebration will occur when the time is right.
Networks includes maintaining a shared network of people you both know. This may be easier for family relationships where you often know many of the same people. Shared contacts give you something to talk about. Individual counseling can teach how to network with friends and friends of friends who you might meet online. The maintenance strategy of networks also includes connecting people to others that can help them. Connecting a friend to others who know more about working remotely is a relevant example of utilizing networks.
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