An EAE lecturer offers free psychological support sessions for people fighting coronavirus on the front line
08 de April de 2020
08 de April de 2020
To overcome complex situations like the one we currently face, it is essential to embrace solidarity, as Merche Aranda knows well. With this in mind, after seeing the scale and impact of the pandemic first hand, the lecturer and Director of EAE’s Master in Executive Development, Emotional Intelligence and Coaching, decided to take action and join a team of professionals offering free psychological support sessions to any direct healthcare staff working in hospitals and members of the state security forces, as well as staff involved in food distribution, with the aim of helping them to keep performing their work effectively.
How are these sessions run? Using digital platforms. If you would like to access these sessions, just send an email to email@example.com
To find out more about this initiative, check out this interview with the lecturer Merche Aranda:
As I remember, the government had just announced the closure of schools and then, three days letter, I got a call from a doctor friend in Italy, telling me to make sure my emotional management and psychologist competences were in good shape because I was going to need them. He explained the situation that they were experiencing, and which was set to happen in Spain, based on their experience, as we were replicating their journey so far. Shortly afterwards, my cousin called me to tell me that my other cousin had died from Covid-19. How could it be that the things I was watching so far away on the TV screen could affect me so closely?
Against this backdrop, around 22nd or 23rd March, after a period of deep reflection, I decided to take action and join the fight against the pandemic using my competences. That is how I came up with the idea of “offering coaching and emotional management sessions” to people affect by Covid-19 in one way or another.
As the days went by and the news of more and more cases came in, the severity of the situation became clear and, personally, I became aware that the situation was far more complex that I had initially imagined. We were facing a challenge that we had never experienced before, with news with huge consequences for people at all levels.
In terms of health, people were scared of infection. With respect to their employment and professional lives, they were worried about companies closing and losing their jobs. With regard to the economy, they were concerned about another recession. In relation to their families, they faced the challenges of lockdown and combining their family commitments with their work. At a social level, they were monitoring the number of infected people, patients in the ICUs and deaths.
Therefore, we gradually modified the services that we were offering to the community and decide that, in the face of this situation, we couldn’t do coaching. Coaching was no longer useful as an emotional management tool because the people we were helping need psychological support to manage the symptoms of anxiety that most of them were displaying.
With this in mind, only psychologists continue to offer the support service. Only professionals with the appropriate training for tackling situations of personal crises, cases of anxiety, stress, trauma, depression, etc. are equipped to help this kind of cases successfully
After reformulating the support, we are now accompanying people affected by the emotional impacts of Covid-19 by telephone and using digital platforms.
For instance, we are working with direct healthcare staff working in hospitals and members of the state security forces, as well as staff involved in food distribution, who are scared of being infected due to their high level of exposure or because they are afraid of infecting their love ones when they come home after a long and challenging day. Or perhaps they are simply struggling with see so many people suffer and die without being able to help them.
The first thing they do is give us their details and their permission to call them. We then make a first contact to identify the person’s needs and their current situation. In this initial phase, the most important thing is the to give the person space and let them find themselves, giving them the opportunity to remove themselves from the circumstances that surround them, so that they can realise that, in the session, they are what matters most.
Once we have a clear idea of what aspects we have to work on, we draft a contingency plan to manage the feelings of sadness, fear or frustration that the situation may have triggered for them. Next, we focus on creating resources that they can use in their day-to-day lives and which help them deal with reality again.
We usually have two or three conversations with the same person over the course of three of four days. This gives us the opportunity to evaluate their capacity with respect to emotional management and whether further accompaniment is required or they have acquired sufficient resources to tackle the situation.
The action plans for generating resources tend to focus on different strategies for managing stress, anxiety and fear, which are the problems that we are seeing most commonly.
Based on Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Psychology, one of the first things that we work on is learning to manage the negative thoughts triggered by emotional sequestration in the amygdala, which lead to an internal dialogue that causes the aforementioned anxiety. We work a great deal from the perspective of full consciousness. This enables us to equip people with resources to head off psychological rumination. We also teach them techniques for managing their breathing and informal meditation practices.
They must be direct healthcare staff working in hospitals, members of the state security forces, or retail staff serving the public directly in a shop.
To contact us, you can email me at the School to firstname.lastname@example.org
I would tell them that we are by their side, to listen to them and support them whenever they need it. I would emphasize that now more than ever, we have to maintain positive thinking and an attitude that celebrates life, as the song by Vanesa Martín goes.
We will come through this stronger, with a greater level of awareness as human beings. After Covid-19, we will resume our coaching processes with more energy and drive than ever before, to reset an establish new objectives.
New goals and dreams to make a reality. Most importantly, I would tell everyone to LOOK AFTER YOURSELVES WELL. I want to raise a glass with you again soon to the good things in life.
Remember that the sessions are run digitally and that, to access them, you just have to send an email to email@example.com