This article was first written for First Presbyterian Church
Greetings from the Christian Counseling Center of First Presbyterian Church. As I write this, I am grateful for technology. Almost 5 weeks ago, when the first recommendations for social distancing appeared, the counseling center was able to move all of its sessions to video telehealth. Thanks to the hard work of our staff, we did not have any disruption in service. Many of our staff and clients were at first wary of counseling in a new format, but we have been pleased with how well it has worked out.
All of us have experienced the stress of this pandemic differently. For some the impact has been significant, resulting in increases in fear and anxiety. Stress is pressure. If I stand on a table, I am the stressor placing stress (pressure) on the table. Too much stress and the table begins to fail.
All of us as human beings have varying stress tolerances. Resilience is the ability to withstand and/or bounce back from stress. Factors such as mental and physical health, backgrounds, financial and material resources, social support, and connection to God all impact our ability to withstand stress. Many among us have difficulty coping with stress due to no fault of their own.
We are beginning the see more people struggling with the effects of this ongoing stress, and it is likely to get worse. This will look like depression, anxiety disorders, and an increase in addictive behaviors. An even bigger concern will be the toll this takes on marriages and families. The gospel and the Church are needed as much as ever in these times.
Next week, I will outline a number of practical things you can do to manage the stress you are experiencing. Most importantly, stay connected to your loving father: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.” Isa.26:3.
As always, we are hear for you and your family and friends. Thanks for your support over the years.
Thomas Barbian, Ph.D., Executive Director
The Christian Counseling Center of First Presbyterian Church