Dear Readers - Does everyone with a relationship or personal problem need counselling help? Of course not.
If a reasonable couple face a roadblock issue, they’ll naturally look for solutions they can both accept.
But if one partner’s emotionally invested in a particular solution, and the other not so willing to agree, what then?
Answer: It can create a relationship pattern, that one person “always gets (their) own way.” This may fester into resentment, like a sore that won’t heal.
Why is that scenario significant?
We’re living in unusual circumstances - a pandemic during which some people are isolated together for weeks/months, with no certainty when it’ll end.
It’s why so many of the letters I receive are about persistent troubles between couples, in-laws, siblings, parents and children. Troubles with no easy resolution.
People write of their depression, anxiety, fear, desperation.
A mental-health crisis exists as a by-product of life during COVID-19 and its more dangerous variants.
Children are unable to play freely, socialize and release energy at schools. Workers feeling poorly are afraid to stay home and lose income. Singles can’t easily form new relationships.
Couples can’t get a break from domestic tensions. Seniors are kept secluded with fear of getting ill, unable to see their adult children and grandkids.
Yet some people write me asking why I often recommend professional counselling.
Answer: Because troubled people need trained, experienced guidance through a mental health crisis.
Not to just suffer consequences like emotional instability, lack of energy and well-being; Not to feel insecure, inadequate, miserable and want to give up.
That’s why a major corporation like Bell Canada returned to its annual “Let’s Talk” awareness campaign - fighting the stigma of mental illness, providing care and access for mental health needs, supporting research and workplace mental health.
I’m not a Bell employee. But I’m made aware every day of mental-health needs expressed in my column’s inbox.
This is no time for denial or suffering in silence. Toronto offers free mental health services/support for children, youth, young adults up to age 29 and families with infants (1-866-585-6486. Mon-to-Fri 9am to 7pm).
Find what’s available in your city, your province, and for US readers, your state.
To the reader who wrote of being “tired of therapy or counselling pitches,” know this: If relationship advice is only meant to entertain - though it’s fair as one element for some readers - it fails its larger community if it doesn’t also guide to where ongoing, uplifting and perhaps life-saving help can be obtained. Especially now when online counselling’s accessible and the need so pervasive.
Reader’s Commentary How I’m doing during “2021 and Beyond:”
“Luckily, I retired over four years ago. Friends in my circle had learned how to play Canasta. We formed our own weekly afternoon group.
“When the pandemic hit last year, we continued playing online and progressed from being casual acquaintances to close friends.
“It’s been my salvation. We’re all in our 60s and share stories of our daily struggles. We laugh, cry, share our losses, mourn and grieve together.
“We’re all mothers and hope for the future. We share our concerns and hopes for our adult children. Lately, we’ve started singing songs that come to mind while playing.
“Our connection and friendship deepened to a level it might not have, had we not been isolated due to the pandemic. We all feel so lucky to have this distraction.”
Ellie - Connection, enjoyment and purpose, are healthy remedies for pandemic pressures.
FEEDBACK Regarding the distraught husband whose wife left after 25 years (January 27):
Reader – “This sad story reminds me of a quote from the American couples’ therapist Terrance Real: “Women are unhappy in their marriages because they want men to be more related than most men know how to be.
“And men are unhappy in their marriages because their women seem so unhappy with them.”
“I bet that this man hasn't listened to his wife in years, nor deeply shared himself. Little wonder that he has no idea why she left.
“If his reaction to her leaving is to "insist" she explain herself (rather than him openly sharing with her how he's feeling about it), he never will understand what went wrong for her in the marriage.”
Ellie - There are psychotherapists trained in the Terrence-Real philosophy and methodology of couples’ counselling practicing in cities in Canada and the United States, and YouTube talks online from Real.
Tip of the day:
In a mental health crisis, professional counselling offers a route for relief.