I have to admit the transition to Telehealth during the pandemic has made life well, different. The computer I’m writing this on is elevated on a stack of cookbooks because I learned that makes for a better angle for the webcam. My files on the other hand, can usually be found under a sleeping cat. And we all know the technical issues we have to deal with now in order to get together online. If it ends up in a SNL skit; chances are good it’s happening to all of us.
But despite these disruptions, I’ve also found there have been unexpected joys, like finding a whole new depth in my relationships with clients. That’s because you come just as you are, barefoot or in slippers, in your living rooms or blanket forts. And I feel really fortunate to get the chance to see your fuzzy cat being held up to the screen or your dog’s latest tricks. I get to look at pictures and school projects you share and meet your little brothers and sisters. It is so rewarding to experience our shared humanity.
And here’s another twist that came from “going to our office” to this new social-distanced, PPE wearing reality we’re living; I held therapy sessions outside in a big tent in my backyard during the warm summer and fall days. While I continued offering Telehealth sessions, they didn’t include feeling the grass beneath my feet in the late summer sunlight. Or talking to a child about life while he is in a tree.
So, take in the good things that can come from this: Walking in the rain and being rewarded by a rainbow. Reading a great book you can get lost in. Or if it’s more your thing, Netflix binge – Just remember to go outside once in a while.
Together, we’ll get through this. And we are always here to help, at Here to There.
Linda Holt Ayriss
As you walk into our office, our furry friend, Charlie, will often welcome you. Carol rescued Charlie three years ago, drawn by his quiet and nurturing presence and his love to cuddle and play.
Charlie has some special needs. He is deaf, so you might notice he startles easily and doesn’t bark. He was found in a kill shelter in California and brought to Washington for adoption. He is a trauma survivor, and we of course don’t know his full story but we do know that after he was rescued, he shook every time he met a new person. Carol worked with him somatically to help him attach to her as his new caregiver and to understand that he is safe in her care. Finally, he has learned that he can trust people again. He loves to cuddle, to go on walks, to meet new people and other dogs. Most of all, he loves to chase bubbles!
On a rainy winter night two friends got together over good food and a glass of wine to share stories. We talked over our years on the island, children growing up, and how meaningful a career in mental health has been. Woven through our conversation was the recognition of what a special place Bainbridge Island is to live. The connectedness and support found between neighbors, friends, businesses and community. We felt it was time to give back with the skills we had to create Here to There Therapy.
We found an old desk perfect for art therapy. Made a trip to Ikea. Gathered favorite toys used by our children and pictures for our walls. Found the perfect chairs, a couch with the right amount of softness, and a quilt for comfort.
In true Bainbridge Island fashion, we have had help with donated photography, moving furniture, business advice and referrals, as well as emotional support.
Thank you all for helping us on our journey.
Linda and Carol