Over this series we have been meeting many stores and finding out how they continue to provide the products you need during these uncertain times. But what about the crucial services that our society needs? Here I meet with Tara Lavelle from therapy service centre The Palmeira Practice, to find out how they have adapted, to continue serving their clients in need of therapy to support their mental health.
Please tell us about your business and what you offer?
The Palmeira Practice is a counselling and psychotherapy practice based in Central Hove with a large number of experienced therapists. The Practice works closely as a team to offer support for anyone seeking therapy, by matching people with the most suitable therapist for the issues that they would like to work through. During lockdown our therapists are working online but once restrictions are lifted then face to face as well as online counselling will be available. Currently, many of our members are offering discounts for online counselling during the lockdown.
How long have you been based in Brighton?
The Palmeira Practice has been running since 2014 but the owner, Shelley Holland, has been working as a counsellor since 1997 and previously managed a young persons counselling service in the city.
What challenges has your business faced since we went into lockdown?
The main challenge has been changing from face to face counselling to online counselling in a very short time frame. During the lockdown, people have still been in need of therapy, if not, even more so then before. Our therapists have been amazing, supporting each other with their knowledge of various online platforms as well as adapting to the different experience of counselling online.
Unfortunately for some clients, online therapy doesn't work due to the lack of privacy or changes in household circumstances that may mean no time for a counselling session due to extra work or home schooling or financial changes. We have however seen a rise in the number of people contacting us for therapy due to having extra time to devote to working on certain issues and also due to the reduced fees that some of our counsellors are offering at this time.
The lockdown has also brought us enquiries from people with health and financial anxieties, relationship issues that can no longer be ignored, grief & loss and loneliness & isolation. We are really grateful that we have a practice that can support people online at this really difficult time. It has been a challenge to adapt so quickly but we feel that we have risen to the challenge well.
Would you say that the Support Local Facebook group and Brighton Quarantine website have been a help to your business?
This group has definitely raised our profile and hopefully encouraged people to think about seeking help during this tough time. We have also individually benefited from the page too, making use of the local shops and services.
What advice would you give to anyone who is struggling right now?
We would encourage people to share what they are going through with friends and family. This is a time when people may feel like they need to be strong and resilient but internally they may be experiencing a wide range of feelings, thoughts and emotions, in particular around isolation, anxiety, loss and grief. We are also hearing about people re-evaluating their core beliefs and relationships and this can be very destabilising. We would always encourage people to reach out to The Palmeira Practice so that we can support them in finding a therapist to work with on whatever issue they may need support with at this time.
What happy song makes you dance in your kitchen?!
In the Facebook page for our practitioners, we have a Friday night tune. The latest is 'Ain't no stoppin us now' by McFadden & Whitehead. Who couldn't dance to that?
Anything further you'd like to tell us?
The practitioners at The Palmeira Practice are truly dedicated to supporting people through this tricky time, therefore many of our therapists are offering discounted sessions through lockdown. Details can be found on our website https://www.thepalmeirapractice.org.uk/offers
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