“There’s a lot that we can’t control and spending our time thinking and worrying about that fuels the anxiety,” said Dorf, “but focusing on the things that we can control, calms it.”
Brian Brodeur spoke with Dorf via videoconference from East Main Studios’ newly-outfitted virtual studio, which was recently reconfigured for working remotely in light of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
Dorf recommended using technology to be creative and maintain connection with others, and added that this crisis might have a silver lining. “Maybe there are some positives of families having to stay together and eat meals together, play games together, and watch movies together,” she said. “In ways, they might be family-building activities.”
If conflicts arise from being together in close quarters, Dorf’s advice is to take a “time out” from escalating feelings, and then after everyone has cooled down, regroup to try to resolve difficulty.
Along with her private psychotherapy practice in West Orange, NJ, Dorf is a Supervisor of Psychotherapy at the William Alanson White Institute, NY. She is also on the faculty of the Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis of New Jersey.
Dorf also advocated for maintaining as much normalcy as possible under the circumstances. “Uncertainty fuels anxiety,” she said. “We function best when we have some sense of what’s going to happen. So creating a routine for ourselves and our children is helpful. It does reduce anxiety.”
In this time of social distancing, Dorf, like many other therapists and medical professionals, has turned to telehealth practices to continue to see her patients, and stressed that there are still ways for those seeking help to receive it. “People shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to their mental health professionals,” she said. “Be sure not to shy away from it.”
To learn more about Meryl Dorf, visit her on the web at: www.meryldorfphd.com.