19 Aug Our Founder, Dori Mages, Recently Interviewed on “Another Day in Pandemic Paradise” with David Telisman
“I’m feeling hopeful & grateful.”
This was one of Dori’s theme in this short interview with David Telisman from DT Communications.
Dori Mages is a clinical therapist, and owner of North Shore Family Services, which provides counseling services for parents, teens, kids, couples, and adults.
To no one’s surprise, behavioral health practitioners have had their hands full since the pandemic began. Like their patients, therapists are experiencing this for the first time and in many ways are writing the book on how to provide treatment during a crisis for which there is no blueprint.
“I’d like to go back to as much normalcy as we can.”
Dori discusses her professional challenges and opportunities during COVID and gives a glimpse into her home life. North Shore Family Services has resumed in-person sessions while still offering teletherapy.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW.
Or Read the Transcript Below:
Dori: It’s another day in pandemic paradise, and I’m feeling hopeful and grateful.
David: That’s Dori Mages, clinical therapist, and owner of North Shore Family Services, which provides counseling services for parents, teens, kids, couples, and adults. To no one’s surprise, behavioral health practitioners have had their hands full since the pandemic began. Like their patients, they are experiencing this for the first time and in many ways are writing the book on how to provide treatment during a crisis for which there is no blueprint. Dori discusses her professional challenges and opportunities during COVID and a glimpse into her home life.
David: I think sometimes with kids, it’s hard to get them to talk and you might experience this, that sometimes they want to tell you what they think you want to hear and they’re not being completely honest because they don’t know how to access that.
Dori: Right. Well, we push them. I hire clinicians who are warm and friendly but aren’t going to be snowed over. So I actually have a conversation with the client yesterday who has a lot of tasks to do and she says “lists are overwhelming.” So we created a different way to look at it, something I’d use with other clients before I not with her, actually. And I said, “so how likely are you to use this on a scale 1 to 10, 10 being cool I’m so excited to use it and 1 is going to say yes to Dori because I know this is what she wants me to say.” She said 7. So I said, “OK, I’ll take seven and we’ll tweak it for next week. We’ll see how you did. We’ll see how it worked for you. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll find something else.” So I use a lot of humor in my work with them and also the clients that see other clinicians may use that because we know we know the game. This is not our first rodeo.
David: Right. And so, by and large, your clients are adapting to this well. Are there any cases and I don’t know how much you can divulge, but where you were in the middle of a breakthrough with someone right before the pandemic hit? And has that been seamless with tele-therapy now?
Dori: I can’t think of an example per se and if I did, I’d have to be very careful how I would express that so it wouldn’t be identifiable. But I think our clients are continuing to make progress. We don’t have a lot of people who are resistant at this point. The first week we got “OK, we’ll see you in a few weeks. When we go back to the office, we’ll see you then.” And we have a huge dip at that point. And then once this became the new normal and people realized it wasn’t going to be a couple of weeks or maybe not even a couple of months at this point, they’re like, OK, let’s try it. Let’s give it a try. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. So, yeah, I mean, I don’t think people are backing off now that our faces now in their bedroom or in their living room or wherever they are. I think they have that relationship. We’ve had some clients start tele-therapy. I think that would be really hard for me personally. But our therapists have adapted and it’s just part of… I think I’m going to attribute some of that to really good hiring, that we found people that really connect with their clients. Even through a video screen, they’re doing it. And it’s working.
David: You have a child in college and two kids in high school, right? This has to be tough on them. My kids are younger. My kids are seven and 12. And we’re still kind of cool to them. They’re still very dependent on us. But I have to imagine that for kids in high school, especially in college, this is disrupting their social lives in such a big way. How are your kids doing?
Dori: I think my kids are doing pretty well, actually. My oldest daughter who’s in college, well should be at college. It’s college at home right now. She a freshman in Indiana. And she does use a lot of social media to communicate. So I don’t think it’s that big of a change for her honestly. I think she’s still having her meetings. She’s on the Indiana University Dance Marathon Committee, she’s on other committees, so she’s still having her meetings and getting to see her friends. She’s not a partier. I want her to have fun in college. And she’s a studier and she’ll see her friends, but she doesn’t need to get drunk and get high or anything like that. So she’s very content seeing her friends on the screen and then going back and doing her stuff and relaxing on the couch and watching friends. So she’s not super distraught by this. She has a car at home that the kids, the two girls share. I don’t think she’s gotten in the car the whole time she’s been home since March 13. I’m not even sure if that’s even happened. My younger daughter is getting her stuff done. She might take a drive. The kids are bonding really well. I think that’s one thing – we’re having more family dinners. When I work, my busiest times with clients are after school and evenings, so I don’t come home a lot of times until 7:30. And so we have a later dinner and then figuring out what we’re going to eat or who’s going to order know how long is it going to take to cook the meal. So being home a lot, today I’m in the office for a while, but being home and finishing up a session and the dinner’s already in the oven is really nice too. My son gets to get out, take breaks. He plays basketball in the driveway. He’s a freshman. He is seeing his friends virtually. I did see he had to go hang out with a friend right before everything shut down. And the mom said, well, you know, we’re supposed to keep the distance. I have a picture that I can share with you if you want it. They’re sitting six feet apart in lawn chairs in her garage with the heater playing a video game. She said I’ll wipe it down later and then let them in the house. But they were together. So my son thought it was kind of ridiculous. I’m like, I think that was just a really good compromise.
David: And we had no time at all to transition into this. And I strongly believe that for the benefit of everyone’s mental health, we need a plan to transition back into a non-social distancing society. Have you thought about this, What it would mean for you and for your clients?
Dori: I have thought a lot about it, and I’m maybe a decenter? Well, I usually I’m at the decenter. So who are we kidding? But, I don’t want to be in a world where you can’t hug somebody and you can’t shake hands and you can’t see their face, because that’s so much of what we do in my work and just communicating with people. I don’t know what it’s going to be completely safe to go out even when they lift this ban, because there are no vaccines. I don’t know when people are going to feel safe to go out. I worry about businesses because even when the restaurants open back up to have indoor seating, they’re going to have to limit the number of tables. People are going to want to be as close together. Income’s going to go down. People are going to lose jobs. I want to be able to connect with people. And I think for me as an extrovert, my most difficult part of this is I’m going to bed late. I always do to bed late even later sometimes. And I can’t get up in the morning. I’m getting 10 hours of sleep easily. So I’m getting plenty of sleep. But I’m so off of my schedule, I think because I’m not energized from being with other people, which is how I get my energy. And so it’s draining me.
David: We all are hungering for the pre-pandemic world where we could make contact with people, but that’s all going to change in some form, but I think… I think we’ll figure it out. It seems. And we’re in the wilderness right now. What do you think? What do you think you’ll do differently when this passes?
Dori: Business-wise or do you mean personally?
David: Either… both.
Dori: We’ve been social distancing really since March 14th, pretty much. We’ve been in our house. We go to the grocery store and that’s about it. Last week, I was finally able to do our grocery pick up where I didn’t have to go into the store, which is nice, but I think it’s really hard on people’s mental health to not be able to be out and seeing people and do things. Thank goodness we’re not in the 70s. We can actually see people on face time and zoom and other media platforms. For me, I’d like to go back to as much normalcy as we can. I think there’s going to be a lot of people business-wise who may want to say, you know, I’m sick of virtual therapy because I don’t want to risk coming into your office and somebody else being sick. I think there’s a lot of fear. And before if we had somebody with a cold, we’d say, OK, they’re sick. But now we can say everybody is feeling fine. But are they really fine? There’s a lot of that what if guessing going on. And I don’t know how safe everybody is going to feel. I think we’re going to have to just respond to the needs of everybody around us.
David: For more information, visit: https://NorthShoreFamilyServices.com. In the meantime… Be smart. Be safe. And happy eLearning.
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