My client is very disturbed. He was in home-quarantine as a precaution and has not tested positive. But people known to him are now not willing to even greet him/help him remotely. I do not know what I can tell my client..
I understand that it must be quite distressing for your client that people are behaving in such a manner with him. Perhaps, you need to discuss with your client how the uncertainties and fear prevailing in the mind of people due to such an unprecedented situation created by COVID, could be the reason that they are behaving this way. It may help your client to empathize with others and understand that it is not him as a person who is being avoided; rather it is the fear of contacting the disease that may be compelling them to indulge in this behaviour. Also, due to the influx of information, many of us are not able to distinguish the realities and myths about COVID and that may instigate many undesired behaviours. Further, discussing with the client that instead of being bothered too much about being neglected by others, paying attention to what other things he can do to spend his time during quarantine in an effective way, should help to decrease his stress emanating from this situation (feeling of being neglected by others). For example, at this time, he can continue to maintain his social relationships through video calls, phones, and so on. His dear ones should be alright in interacting with him through these modes as it won’t create any anxiety in them about contacting COVID. Also, he can indulge in things that he likes (e.g., playing any instrument) instead of being bothered about the situations that are not completely under his control. Also, he can ventilate about his distress with any close family members over phone. It should give him a sense of relief. Counselors and other professionals /agencies also can constantly make attempts to educate/motivate public in general for reducing stigma through various means feasible. This is in addition to helping this client, in particular, through counseling, including validation of distress.
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