Covid-19 – Ask the Psychotherapist

What Kind Of Emotional Impact Are You Seeing With People During This Pandemic? 

Some people are feeling overwhelmed (lonely, abandoned, fearful, confused, panicked, trapped, resentful, angry, frustrated, sad, hopeless, numb), while others are bottling up their feelings. Some people are enjoying having more time to themselves, while others wonder where time has gone. Some people feel a crushing responsibility to take care of relatives and friends, while others wish someone would notice that they’re suffering and need a hand. Some people feel like life will never be the same again, while others are eager to get back out there. Many people feel a mixture of the above.

How Is Psychotherapy Helping? 

Psychotherapy gives you time to figure out how to deal with whatever is stressing you out, bothering or distressing you. It keeps a space open for all of you – the aspects you like about yourself and the bits you wish you could get rid of it.  It provides an opportunity to get to know yourself in ways that might surprise you. Psychotherapists are trained to facilitate you doing this confidentially, safely, and at your own pace.

What Might You Say To People Who Are Struggling? 

You are not alone in feeling as you do. Many people are struggling at the moment, and feeling alone in that struggle. Try to access emotional support from people around you, if you can. You’d be surprised how a coffee or lunch via Skype or Zoom (both of which are free to download) can lift your mood. Seeing someone else drinking their coffee or eating their lunch as you both talk, even if it is on a screen, can make a difference to how you’re feeling. Cultural experiences also provide comfort and hope when we’re feeling low and like no-one understands what we’re going through. Connecting with a song, a character in a film or book, a piece of art, or the lines in a poem can bring us back to ourselves and help us to keep going, when we feel like giving up.

Noreen Giffney BA Hons, PhD, MSc, Clin Dip is a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in County Donegal and a Lecturer in Counselling at Ulster University in County Antrim.



Some ICP registrants were asked three questions regarding the Covid-19 crisis. These three identical questions and analogous answers will be posted weekly on the ICP blog and disseminated across the social media channels – Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn. The purpose of this Q & A is to demonstrate the psychotherapeutic experience during the coronavirus pandemic. The responses are personal to the psychotherapists’ practice and relatable to their fellow psychotherapists. This Q & A presents real life experiences of those in the mental health field.

Every psychotherapist registered with ICP is invited to engage in the programme. If you are an ICP registrant interested in making a contribution, please email your answers / contact details to