Still working from home...
What a year this has been. And it’s not even over!! Honestly, there have been days I’ve woken up thinking “screw it, I wanna be a mermaid!!” Seeing as that is PROBABLY not realistic, I get out of bed and start my day.
From the beginning of the pandemic and self-quarantine, I have worked from home. So far, I have tried out several different spaces in my home, some of which are outfitted with various back support products and even a little rolling desk for my laptop. I took it a step further and bought a small ring light, because obviously I want to be perfectly lit for my video sessions. Every morning, I do my makeup and put on an outfit for work. I know many people are lounging in their pjs all day, yet for me, pjs = bed. I have found it helpful to distinguish a small area in my home as my work space. This allows me to still feel like there is a bit of separation between my home and work lives. Except, it is much easier to take a quick nap on my bed or on my couch than it is in my office.
Also, various clients have commented on my ever-changing eye makeup and hair styles. I like to think that I am simultaneously providing some continuity while entertaining, as we connect over the interwebs. Like, which Dr. B will show up today!?
It's an interesting experience providing therapy from my home. I am pretty careful with whom I invite into my house. It is a sacred space for me where I am mindful of the energy that enters. Its quiet, cozy, warmly lit, and often smells like lavender. Or coffee. As therapists, we ask clients to let us into the intimate spaces of their lives, and now my clients are essentially in one of the most intimate physical spaces in my life! Due to the nature of the profession, many do not often have a full picture of the outside life of their therapist. The time is for the client, not for the therapist, to share and explore. It's like seeing your doctor at the grocery store. Or your teacher at the movies. We don't want to know that these people have lives outside of our time together! But now, my clients see the pattern of my favorite chair, the huge cat tree by the bay window, hear the random leaf blower during our morning sessions, and are introduced to my co-therapist (my cat) every...single...session. I wonder how clients feel about seeing my home (well, a sliver of my home that is shown on the screen), though all of them now know my cat's name and brighten up when she pops up in session. You know, I don't take offense to the knowledge that they all seem happier to see her than me.
I find that my demeanor is a bit more casual, because of being in my home (and usually not having on shoes). I like to think that some of these less professional moments (like me having to take a moment to politely ask my cat to stop scratching at the carpet on the stairs, or having to answer the door to an insistent delivery person who has apparently not read my "LEAVE AT DOOR" instruction) allow clients to see more of my humanity and various aspects of my daily life.
I wonder how our field will be different in the near future. I am pretty certain I will continue to offer telehealth as a small percentage of my work. I definitely prefer in-person sessions, as the connection feels stronger and I can more clearly read body language without wondering if it is just glitchy wifi signal strength. I do like that telehealth has made some aspects of the work more accessible for some, and my commute is a lot shorter. Yas, honey!! But, I do miss the clearer distinction between my work space and my home space. I imagine that my cat will continue to be a topic of discussion in future sessions, as my clients check in on her and her random shenanigans. Again, not jealous at all. And I will continue to rock a new look every other week. In a time of chaos and fear, I hope I bring some security and levity to the lives of those who see me virtually. -Dr. B