Diary of a Therapist During the Coronavirus Outbreak: Dr. Rachel O’Neill

Dr Rachel O'Neill - Therapist Diary

Diary of a Therapist During the Coronavirus Outbreak is a new series bringing you insight into the daily lives of Talkspace therapists — those on the frontlines providing support to all of us dealing with what is an utterly singular period in recent history. Therapists are the barometers of our emotional well-being, gauging our feelings and thoughts as we all struggle through this time — alone and together. While the uncertainty of the future may leave you feeling lonely, scared, and stressed, hearing that others are dealing with the same things can be a tremendous comfort. With these video diaries you’ll get insights into what our therapists are seeing, how they’re dealing with the crisis, and tips for how to better manage your emotions and behaviors. Join us!


4/30/2020

This week, I shared an update about my work with clients. There has been some fear about the possibility of business and workplaces reopening, and whether that could lead to an increase in those infected with COVID-19. Many of my clients are also beginning to consider what their lives might look like as we transition out of being on lockdown and begin to slowly reenter public spaces. 

Personally, I’ve been continuing to practice daily gratitude – both in the morning and the evening in an effort to help create a most positive daily intention for myself. 

4/23/2020

This week, I’m sharing an update about my work with clients and what they’re going through. Many of my clients have begun to explore how the pandemic may impact them in the long term. For some, there have been conversations around cancelling events scheduled for later this year because there is fear that things may not go back to normal for quite some time. In these situations, it can be helpful to focus on taking life day-by-day — instead of getting so caught up in the uncertainty of the future.

I also shared that, while the weather in Ohio has been more like winter than spring, I’ve been focusing on wearing bright colors and expressing gratitude for the blooming flowers and chirping birds that hold the promise of warmer weather just around the corner.

4/16/2020

This week, I reflect on some of the new themes I’m hearing related to the pandemic. In particular, individuals are sharing that they are experiencing an increased intensity in thoughts and feelings, largely due to the fact that some of their previous methods of emotional distraction are no longer available. 

I also provide an update on my own self-care and how I’ve been using yoga as a way to keep grounded and really facilitate that mind-body connection that is so important in maintaining that present-oriented focus. I also shared that I’ve been engaging in more recreational activities, like reading fun fiction books and rewatching The Sopranos. This video also features a bit of background piano music, courtesy of my 4-year-old son, who was in the midst of his virtual piano lesson while I was recording. Ah, the newfound joys of working from home!

4/9/2020

In this video diary, I reflect on my work with clients over the past week. Although some clients are beginning to adjust to the pandemic situation, many are understandably still feeling stressed and overwhelmed. As we all continue to adjust to stressors related to COVID-19, it’s important that we continue to make self-care a priority.

I also want to share a bit about my self-care and how I’ve been trying to practice gratitude and mindfulness. I’m enjoying the opportunity to experience nice spring weather last week and took steps to practice mindfulness.

4/3/2020

In this video diary I want to share some recent themes in my work with my current clients. Overall, I’m seeing an increased sense of anxiety and fear. But, I am also seeing some acceptance of the potential long-term nature of this pandemic. This is a positive step forward for many of those coping with adjusting to a world impacted by COVID-19.

I’m also sharing an update on my own self-care. I’ve been trying to do things that are a bit out of my comfort zone.

As exercise is a big form of self-care for me, it’s been important for me to try to stay consistent with my workouts. However, I don’t love working out from home and most of my exercise equipment is in the basement —- it can be really challenging for me to find motivation!

So, instead, I’ve been taking some free online yoga classes that I can do on my porch. This has been a nice modification of my normal routine and has helped me to feel better about continuing to make fitness a priority in my life.

3/27/2020

In this video diary, I share some recent themes in my work with clients. Overall, I’m seeing an increased sense of isolation; especially as the reality of the need to continue social distancing has set in for folks. 

I also shared some of my own self-care tips related to trying to maintain a routine of exercise. Yes, there have been challenges to working out from home! However, I’ve tried to embrace the imperfection and continue forward despite the challenges!

I closed out by sharing daily affirmations that can help during quarantine. I found these online and I thought they were particularly helpful. They are:

  1. I’m allowed to rest 
  2. I don’t have to be productive to be worthy 
  3. My feelings are real
  4. I am doing enough 
  5. I’m allowed to take a break from the news cycle 
  6. I deserve to be cared for 
  7. I am allowed to be fearful 
  8. I can spend extra time with myself 

3/20/2020

Hi! My name is Dr. Rachel O’Neill and I’m an Ohio-licensed professional clinical counselor. I live with my husband and my son in Northeastern Ohio. In addition to my work as a provider on Talkspace, I also serve in a clinical leadership role as Director of Clinical Effectiveness, where I assist with the development of some of the company’s clinical services. I love my work with Talkspace and have enjoyed the opportunity to be part of an exciting and innovative company!

Generally, my days are pretty routine; however, with the increasing need to isolate due to COVID-19, my family and I have been spending much of our time in the house. We’re fortunate to live in a quiet area where it’s possible to go outside and take a walk, however, Ohio in March is typically pretty cold and wet — and that’s how it’s been here for the better part of the past few weeks — which has definitely been hampering our walks!

When I’m not working, I really enjoy reading, watching TV, exercising, and spending time with my family and friends. I’ve had to make some adjustments to many of those hobbies since we’ve been physically distancing from our friends and family. My gym is closed, for instance, but I’ve made the best of the situation by relying more on video calls and embracing working out at home. I also try to embrace a mindful approach to life — I try to practice the skill of mindfulness multiple times throughout each day. 

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