My client’s father has multiple medical problems (unrelated to COVID). The father is admitted to hospital for management of some acute issues. My client is all the time feeling extreme tension, frustration and even anger at the father for not taking care of his health and escalating his health issue. The client feels angry and frustrated as the admission has resulted in need to be in the hospital and running around between home, pharmacy, billing and the ward. This has increased the risk of exposure to COVID. He is very irritable and snapping at everyone and his own blood pressure is also going high. There is hardly anyone else in the family to share caregiver burden, other than the mother at home.
You can explore the situation existing at his end in an objective manner which can include understanding how he perceives the entire situation and the demands it has brought on him for the treatment of his father. At times, the likely reasons for expression of anger, irritability or frustration which is easily observable can be arising out of the experience of others usually less perceivable emotions of guilt, disgust, fear, feelings of helplessness or lack of empathy and the like. The existing interpersonal relationship with the father could be another reason for the emergence of such emotions. You can acknowledge and validate his concerns and most importantly the underlying unpleasant emotions. He can be made aware that along with these unpleasant emotions, the fears of contracting COVID-19 would be increasing the experience of such emotions and minimize his abilities to look for solutions to address the existing challenges with respect to ensuring the treatment of his father and his own safety in times of COVID-19. You can facilitate the client to learn distress tolerance skills and emotion regulation strategies as these skills will help him in becoming aware of the source of such emotions and the ways to address them effectively without having a detrimental impact on himself, his health and his interpersonal relationships. The enhancement of interpersonal relationships among all the family members can be one of the goals of the therapeutic intervention as the family does not seem to have support from the extended family and their cordial relationships with each other, thus, gain even more significance.
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