by Thomas A. Vance, PhD
What is LGBTQ Pride?
Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation estimates that there are nearly 14 million Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) adults and 2 million LGBTQ youth in the United States. Having millions of LGBTQ people located across the U.S, there are several LGBTQ Pride celebrations. LGBTQ Pride is a celebration and the promotion of self-affirmation and equality, acknowledging the oppressions and inequalities and increase the visibility of LGBTQ individuals. Some Pride events include a wide range of LGBTQ centered activities such as parades, marches, rallies, dance parties, educational events/seminars, and festivals. These events allow people and straight allies, people who are outside of the LGBTQ community that supports their fight for equality and civil rights, to come together socially. This year organizers have shifted their programming to virtual formats. Online streams and meet-ups will continue to celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ community while also keeping people safe amid the current coronavirus pandemic by encouraging them to stay home and to stay connected virtually.
Historically, beginning in June, millions of people celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month. This month is to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City. The Stonewall Uprising was a series of spontaneous demonstrations by a member of the LGBTQ community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a bar and social space in Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City. These social and political demonstrations are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.
LGBTQ Pride and Sociopolitical Involvement
In today’s sociopolitical climate, LGBTQ individuals have mobilized to support the real-time efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement to amplify the voices of protesters marching for justice for Black and other people of color individuals that have died by police brutality. Recently, more than 100 LGBTQ and civil rights organizations signed an open letter condemning racism, racial violence, and police brutality while calling for action and justice.
LGBTQ people are continuing to seek safe and brave spaces to be their authentic selves. Space where they can express their gender, gender expression, and sexuality and be affirmed by peers in a way that feels honest, authentic, and, most of all, validating. Due to levels of oppression and discrimination from institutional systems, religious beliefs, and people who cannot recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences makes this movement a continuing effort towards equality for all. Audre Lorde, a Black Lesbian American writer, and civil rights activist, once said, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
by Catherine Reynolds, PsyD
Here are a few tips to help you THRIVE during this new normal:
1. Move your body
2. Eat food that nourishes your body
3. DO something to manage your stress
4. Develop a new routine
5. It’s okay to feel grateful!
6. Practice patience
7. Remind yourself that this is temporary
8. Be mindful of how you’re spending your time
The health and welfare of our clients is of utmost importance, and we are carefully reviewing all available information about the spread and/or containment of the COVID-19 pandemic and best practices for keeping you safe.
We are relying on information and guidance from doctors, scientists, the CDC and the federal government regarding reopening our physical offices. At minimum, we will be following the national guidelines which recommend not reopening until there has been two weeks of decline in COVID-19 cases. Until that time, we will continue to offer telehealth services via secure video and phone.
Many of our clients are healthcare professionals and we share their concern about further burdening the healthcare system and putting them and patients at increased risk. We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we continue to navigate this novel situation. If you have any questions, please reach out to your therapist or myself directly.
The federal guidelines for reopening can be found here for your reference:
Wishing everyone safety, health, and happiness,
Rebecca Johnson Osei, PsyD, ABPP
CEO & Board Certified Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Catherine Reynolds shares tips for taking care of your mental health in an era of social distancing
Listen above from tips from Dr. Catherine Reynolds on taking care of your mental health in an era of social distancing.
Here is a sneak peak from her upcoming blog post:
DO something to manage your stress
The current state of our world leaves many of us paralyzed with anxiety. With so many REAL things to stress about, and a lack of healthy coping skills, many of us resort to unhealthy ways of coping (i.e., substances, food, shopping, screens, etc). One way to disrupt this process is to schedule time to actually do something about your anxiety. These activities can include journaling about your thoughts and feelings, making a list of your stressors and prioritizing what needs to be done first, listening to music that matches your mood state, use of prayer/meditation, reading self help books, taking a bubble bath, making music, cooking, practicing gratitude, and the list goes on. The goal here is to find activities that leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Once you find those activities, practice them Every. Single. Day.
Develop a new routine
Routines are important because they create a connection of neural pathways in our brains. Once those connections have been made and are maintained, our brain recognizes them as a familiar pattern and reacts instinctively--freeing our mental energy to be directed elsewhere. Similar to driving a car. When many of us drive, we don't consciously think through every single step involved in driving. When developing a routine, make it consistent yet flexible enough to account for unplanned events to occur. Additionally, don't forget to schedule in some much needed quiet time for your family so that your brain has a chance to decompress and download all of the stimuli it's been accumulating throughout the day.
by Rebecca Johnson Osei, PsyD, ABPP
Most people’s baseline level of stress and anxiety is a bit higher than usual because, well, we are living in unusual times. Not only do you need to be super aware of your surroundings every time you leave the house (did you touch anything? Do you have hand sanitizer? Did you remember the Clorox wipes? Did that person just SNEEZE?!), and not only are the television and your phone constantly warning you that the world as you know it may be ending, but on top of all of that many people also feel they have lost access to their primary ways of coping. The gym? No way. Going out with friends? Absolutely not. Meditation retreat? Only if you’re the only one there.
While there are a number of alternatives to your tried and true ways of coping (check out March’s post by Dr. Timothy Schlairet with some ways to stay level headed), another major source of support that may feel out of reach is therapy. Most therapists have closed their physical offices in an effort to keep clients and staff safe. However, that doesn’t mean that you have lost your support. Telehealth (also termed telemedicine, teletherapy, and virtual visits) is quickly becoming an industry standard as a means of connecting clients and therapists. Tele visits can be done via phone or video, and only require a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Add headphones for extra privacy at home, or take a walk during your session to add in a heathy dose a fresh air. In truth, telehealth is about as flexible as therapy can be.
Some people worry that a telesession will feel “different” and, the truth is, it might. But different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some have even found it easier to open up during remote sessions than in person. The most important thing to remember is that now, when tensions are higher than usual, is the most important time to make sure you have as much support as possible. Even if you are nervous or uncomfortable at first, your therapist can help to address those feelings right in your session to make you as comfortable as possible. Our number one goal is to help you get through these difficult times as calmly and with as little anxiety as possible. Remember: physical distance is not the same as social distance, and we are still here for you – one phone call away.
For more information about our telehealth offerings, click HERE.
To all current and prospective clients,
In order to protect our staff and clients, and also to help do our part as a socially responsible practice to help reduce the spread of the virus, Concierge Psychology will be closing our physical offices effective 03/30/2020. This is not an easy decision, but we feel it is necessary given the most current information about COVID-19 spread and the related strain on local hospitals.
Our psychologists will remain available, as always, through our telehealth offerings, including video and phone sessions. You can learn more about teletherapy on our website (http://www.conciergepsychology.com/telehealth.html).
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to one of our therapists directly for support and/or guidance. We appreciate your understanding of these changes during this unprecedented time.
Please join us in embracing 2020 by going digital!
Rebecca Johnson Osei, PsyD, ABPP
Owner/CEO - Concierge Psychology
by Timothy Schlairet, PsyD
Finding a sense of calm can be challenging in the best of times. When a pandemic is present, achieving calmness can seem borderline impossible. However, you have more control than you realize. Although your daily routine has likely changed significantly, the purpose behind your actions does not have to change. Establishing and maintaining a new routine is one of the healthiest steps we can take, both individually and societally.
The American Psychological Association has provided many recommendations for how to deal with the multitude of uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are a few of the steps you can take to maintain your physical and mental health, while also attempting to socially isolate and responsibly adhere to pandemic-related guidelines.
1. Reduce and streamline your intake of information. It can seem comforting to regularly scroll Twitter for updates, keep the news channel on in the background, or relay online anecdotes of sensational information to family and friends. However, such behavior tends to fuel anxiety, rather than provide further clarity. Find a few reliable resources (such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and limit your intake of news to a few times per day.
2. Identify areas in which you have control. People have a few staples in their day to day lives. Exercise and meaningful social interactions can become easier to neglect when we are isolated; however, they become even more essential to our health and wellness when we are largely homebound. You can work out in your backyard, garage, or even in the middle of your living room. You can also engage with others more intentionally, which brings up the next point…
3. Stay connected. Use your media resources (i.e., FaceTime, texting, old-fashioned phone calls). Call a friend during your morning cup of coffee; use Skype for a joint home-schooling lesson with your children's classmates/friends; chat with your friend on FaceTime while doing household chores. You are not alone in your feelings of fear, anxiety, or even anger. You can identify and explain what you are thinking and feeling and relay it to partners, children, and friends. Band together with others via the resources you do have!
We at Concierge Psychology remain available via telehealth to provide support during these trying times. Please contact us if you have any questions about the individual, family, and couples services we provide.
As the situation in Atlanta and the United States at large changes rapidly, we want to let you know what we are doing to ensure that we are able to continue to support you during this stressful time.
First and foremost, know that it is our intention to continue to provide you with the support you need while keeping you safe. As such, we will continue to be available to you through tele-health options (video and phone sessions). We are also available for Concierge visits to come to your home if you prefer to see us in person without having to come to our office.
We are also taking the following precautions to keep you and our staff safe.
In our office:
We are monitoring this fast-developing situation - processing daily updates from the CDC, from WHO and from local and state health departments and will be conforming to their recommendations. Should we be advised to cease all client contact, or should any of our staff fall ill, we will default to tele-health offerings until advised otherwise.
Rebecca Johnson Osei, PsyD, ABPP
Owner/CEO - Concierge Psychology
by Tara Pasha, PsyD
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and what are you doing? Coupled up and planning a date? Single and dreading it? There can be a lot of pressure around this holiday, but I would like to propose that while it may often seem a priority to show love to others, do yourself a favor and LOVE YOURSELF on Valentine’s Day!! Self love is entirely too underrated yet the MOST necessary of all ways to love. While love for others is considered the greatest sacrifice, to “Love Yourself Is the Greatest Love of All” (pardon the rip from a famous recording).
It has been said many times that “your relationship with self is the most important and longest relationship you will ever have,” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with love as a DIY, i.e., a project done by you for you. Think about it. You can build a cabinet, paint a wall, fix a faucet, or start a garden among other things all by yourself, right? Well, you can certainly take a few minutes to focus some attention on a DIY that lasts a lifetime--LOVING YOU! As one famous songwriter put it, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” The one you are ALWAYS with is YOU!! It is okay to allow yourself to be ENOUGH. Maintain a mindset of gratefulness and be willing to forgive yourself for mistakes made in the past, those of the present, and any that may be made in the future. Also, be mindful to take care of yourself. Strive to do something on Valentine’s Day to enhance YOUR health and well-being. “Treat Yo Self” has become a cliche phrase, but are you making the time to really acknowledge how much you love yourself? If not, don’t delay! Do it. DO IT NOW!! You have the power and everything else you need to feel the love that is within you. As long as you respect yourself, take good care of yourself, and LOVE YOURSELF, you are never alone! Sometimes what seems like an easy DIY may lead to the realization that you do in fact need support in order to accomplish the task at hand. If the helping hand you need is not readily available among those you love, consider Concierge Psychology, as well as other mental and general health professionals who are ready and willing to provide support. Loving yourself should be your first priority. Happy Valentine’s Day!!