A few things about We See You – We Hear You
May 10th – an UPDATE
1: Ryan Lowe – Clinical Director at The Therapeutic Consultants was put in touch with a local school (via this initiative) that was seeking support for teachers and word has spread. The team are providing support to other schools now.
2: There are several initiatives within and outside of the NHS now for NHS staff as well as key workers. This is a very useful resource: First You and you might also want to register with this resource: Key Link.
3: Hi there, I work for Katharine House Hospice and we have recently become a COVID response centre providing end of life care and step down beds to patients. We are an independent hospice but we are currently part of the NHS resource of beds and support.
Please can you let me know if your We See You We Hear You NHS Staff will be available to out team?
This means we have now included key workers including those from Katharine House Hospice. Staff there are used to working in a home like environment and have been quite impacted by the quick changes that have resulted in them having to work in a more medicalised environment. They are also experiencing deaths of those in their care at a rate they are unfamiliar with. There is some in house support and Lydia wanted to extend the options available.
4: Kay works with NHS staff as part of a well being team and was in touch with WSYWHY. Several TRS therapists were put in touch with Kay to offer additional support to the service and she has this to say which is useful information to bear in mind.
I thought I would give you an update on the situation at Whipps and the support we are offering. I would be interested to know if you are experiencing the same. I have attached an email I sent the therapists on the list. Please see below.
I thought I would update you on the situation at Whipp’s Cross Hospital and in the Barts trust, following your offers of support.
As you will have guessed since I haven’t been in contact, there has been very little uptake on the offer of counselling sessions for frontline NHS staff so far. This is understandable for many reasons.
Firstly, when I speak to the doctors, they are saying it is a case of “heads down, keep moving” for all staff. This makes perfect sense given they are in the heat of the crisis period and need to maintain a sense of containment.
Secondly, it seems that generally they are not in a position to be able to, or really have the ‘band width’ to plan ahead for a session in the future, even if it is in a matter of days. What they are tending to do, is in the moment, if they feel overwhelmed, they are going to the ‘wellness area’ that has been set up in the hospital, with good food, tea and coffee, jigsaws and colouring books, where they either offload with a colleague, pause and refuel, then return to work, or they take a short break to do some colouring in order to ground and regulate themselves before returning to work. Again, this makes sense in terms of the immediate situation.
Thirdly, many further avenues of psychological support are opening up, which is good news, since giving hospital staff many ways to access different forms of support is important.
Fourthly, it may be the way this support is offered/how the contact details are accessed. I am discussing this with the team.
It has also been reported to me that many staff feel that it is the period spent in work that is more manageable, because they are occupied, and with social support from colleagues in the same situation, but the times that are not busy, when they are at home, are more difficult given the time to reflect, and when the adrenalin subsides. When individuals will be required to self-isolate due to infection, I believe there may be some more contact. It is very likely that after the crisis starts to abate and the immediate coping strategies are no longer so effective, I believe we will see a greater uptake in our offer.
One of the pieces of feedback I am getting is that the knowledge that there is a body of therapists who have recognised this is an extremely challenging time for them, and who are willing to give their time and are available to them, is providing a comfort in itself.
I just want to check whether you are happy to remain on my list of therapists to refer to, after the intense period is over, and when our support will likely be needed more. As time goes on, we are anticipating that it will be more trauma work, and perhaps longer term than the initial idea of providing immediate support and grounding during the crisis. I will have to be mindful of this when referring, and a discussion will need to be had about the number of sessions that seem appropriate. After the initial 5 free sessions, it will need to be a discussion and an agreement made between you and the client.
I just want to re-iterate that it is so good to be part of such a great community of therapists. I hope you are all doing ok and looking after yourselves. Thank you again.
Have a good weekend.
Monday 13th April 2020
1: There has been a recent mobilisation of in house NHS support via https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/04/nhs-launches-mental-health-hotline-for-staff-tackling-covid-19/ so that may have kicked in and explain the degree of take up.
I have also been in touch with the NHS staff behind this hotline for staff and I have let them know of We See You – they are planning on getting in touch and were very appreciative of the offer. They need some time to think about the how and we need some time to re-orient our usual therapeutic focus.
2: The TRS website has been updated and our support is offered as a secondary option to the above services – as back up. We are waiting to hear more as to how they might make use of this initiative. See site: https://relationalschool.wordpress.com/we-see-you-we-hear-you-nhs-staff/
3: This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFWvkjJ755Y&feature=emb_logo spells out the ‘first aid’ approach that is required at this stage for many – the sessions with Tom and now with myself and Hattie Berger have assisted in re-orientation towards a first aid approach. A re-orientation is required for this kind of work. So further sessions will be offered. The video details some of the messages we want to convey in our initial contact with NHS staff.
4: https://www.traumagroup.org speaks to the need for ‘first aid’ responses rather than deeper therapeutic responses. (See the resources on this site) The above video is useful if NHS staff members can hear and receive what it says. However, from a relational perspective we know that you can’t instruct someone to be compassionate towards themselves in the absence of an internal good object/embracing mind/compassionate thinking model. That might need to be triggered or awakened in a dialogue.
This speaks to the issue of how trauma work can often be reduced to a medical model approach that can throw the relational under the bus – this can be a limitation for some in my experience.
To access compassion, for example, may need contact with someone who is offering that as a presence as well as an option to disrupt internal working models/objects etc.
5: Via the site I was contacted by a school that wanted support for teaching staff who were struggling to deal with the realities they are facing – they were put in touch with a group of family/adolescent therapists who were wanting to offer support via the site too. So these are the quiet and meaningful consequences that occur of having a presence like this and word travelling.
6: We will offer a zoom meeting to come together to talk about this initiative and its potential and to learn from one another.