'Opening up', and what 2022 might look like...



How do you feel about 'Opening up'? This expression is often used to describe what we do in therapy: namely, taking a risk and experiencing our inner feelings and thoughts, which maybe we have been avoiding because we don't feel safe, or they don't always 'feel nice'. But today, I am writing about 'opening up' in the broader health and geographical sense...

Like many of us, I am wondering what the New Year will bring, especially in Queensland, with 17th December (only 6 or so weeks away!) being the date that our borders finally 'open up' to the Southern States. I am excited about this change, especially since I have family members who have been unable to visit for many months, but there is also an element of anxiety, as we are also going to be opening up to living with coronavirus in our community. I'm sure many of us are, similarly, feeling mixed emotions at this extraordinary point in time.


In Queensland, we have experienced 2020/2021 very differently from those in New South Wales, ACT and Victoria in particular, having relatively short lived lockdowns and very limited instances of coronavirus outbreaks. Safety, yes, but at the cost of freedom, with long term restrictions on both interstate and overseas travel. 

'But what does this have to do with art therapy and counselling?' I hear you ask!

Well, I have made the decision to limit my scope of face to face practice (the Southside Art Therapy and Counselling Service, in other words) to those who are fully vaccinated from January 2022. (This will also apply to those under 12 once vaccinations for this age group are approved. At the time of writing only 12 year olds and over are eligible.) I am putting this information out into the public domain now, so that if someone over 12 is currently unvaccinated, they still have time to have their two vaccinations before I reopen in January. 

So, why am I doing this? Well, for three reasons. Firstly: safety. Safety is a foundation stone of therapy, and if there is no safety, there is no foundation to build on. So, after consulting my GP, I have come to the decision that for the safety of myself, my family, my clients, my colleagues at Next Level Health and their clients, this is my preferred option at this time.

Secondly: boundaries. Healthy boundaries are essential in maintaining our relationships with others. My intention is that in defining my own boundaries, this will help others to do the same. Until there are clear guidelines from State government, each practitioner and business owner will have to make their own decision, based on their own circumstances, about managing this situation. 

Thirdly: a 'call to action'. I am not getting involved in the arguments about vaccines here, as I know there are those who do not trust the science, and its not my intention to try to change anyone's mind. To those who are 'vaccine hesitant', however, hopefully this might provide a 'prompt' or nudge in the direction of the vaccine hub.  And there will always be other options such as telehealth, or referral to another therapist, for those who choose to remain unvaccinated. 

I am very happy to discuss these matters on an individual basis with anyone who has concerns about this decision. Just contact me by email on: info@southsidearttherapy.com.au