COVID-19 Update April 2020

Hi to everyone who might read this, I do certainly hope you are managing to stay self, and strive towards maintaining an open minded approach to this totally unprecedented and uncertain time.

If you’re like me, you are keeping an eye on the media like you never have before, but as highlighted in the ‘Letter from China’ featured on Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby’s This Morning show, “there is such a thing as too much” when it comes to the news and media.  I’ve been keeping an eye on the figures on World-O-Meter and they make for sobering reading.

The world is somewhat upside down, and personally, having been a fan of apocalyptic movies and books for many years, this is scarily similar!  I heard that sales of one of my favourite author’s books, Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ have been high, and the book has sold out in some places.  Whilst I enjoyed reading it a while back, it’s possibly not the best book to dive into right now!  The premise is a doctor and his friends in a town in North Africa that falls under total lockdown and is sealed off from the rest of the world while a terrible illness befalls the inhabitants.  A bit too close to our current reality at the moment perhaps.

I have been thinking about the work I do, and how it has had to change recently.  My main job in the NHS has continued albeit on a remote basis, seeing clients either via telephone or video conferencing contact.  I have used Skype in the past and have found it a helpful alternative, particularly when someone is unable to travel.  I have even conducted developmental interviews with relatives from across different parts of the globe including Australia, America, Romania, France and Thailand.  So long as the internet signal is good, and the set up is done right, it is a surprisingly workable medium.  My NHS team is currently being considered for re-provision, so at the moment I am unsure how things will evolve, and will have to wait to hear.


The current situation at Clear Sky Therpies in light of COVID-19

At the moment I am still able to function in almost all of the aspects I usually work through Clear Sky Therapies.  Therapy remains largely unaffected.  Initial screening assessments can also be conducted successfully as well, with the same format, though interviewing someone via a screen rather than face to face.

The aspect of my work which is more difficult to compromise on is face to face observations as part of a diagnostic assessment for either Autism / Asperger’s Syndrome, or ADHD.  I feel it vital to meet someone face to face at least once during their assessment process in order to feel confident that I have a chance to look for the most commonly observed behaviours people with these conditions tend to exhibit.

In clear / ‘barn door’ clinical cases, this may be less important, and I guess I am able to make a clinical decision without face to face contact so long as this is highlighted in the diagnostic report.  Online based companies such as Helios strongly feel being in the physical presence of someone they assess is not necessary, though again this is a factor that must be taken into account when making clinical decisions.

During this time of uncertainty, and great anxiety across the world, people are mostly striving positively.  Many are struggling, and understandably.  I saw a comment on Facebook from Terry Waite (who was held hostage for 1763 days in appalling conditions).  He just told us all to stop complaining…  He apparently said ‘change your mindset, you’re not STUCK at home, you’re SAFE at home.’

His advice was:

  • ‘Keep your own dignity – get out of your PJs!
  • Form a structure for the day
  • Be grateful for what you have – shelter, home possessions
  • Read and be creative.’

I do agree with much of what Terry says, but I would add that feeling anxious, frustrated, and uncertain seems completely fitting and understandable under the current circumstances.  What we need to be mindful of of course, is what we do in light of these emotions.


Changes to input from Clear Sky Therapies via video conferencing

For those who are keen to engage in psychological therapy during the time of lockdown (as I won’t be doing any face to face for all our safety until restrictions are lifted), I am offering an extra 25% time per therapeutic hour for free, so about 70 minutes or so rather than 55.  This is to make sure that connection / sound issues do not detract from the sessions.


Discounts for NHS and ‘Frontline’ workers 

For anyone who is instrumental in keeping the country running, including all essential workers who have no choice but to put themselves at risk for the rest of us.  I am offering two free sessions for essential / key workers, followed by 40% off until at least September 2020.  I am ever grateful for all the amazing work you all do.  This does of course include any worker including ANY frontline / keywords job that helps keep the country going.


Business as close to ‘normal’ as it can be

My aim is to keep Clear Sky Therapies able to offer ’business as normal’ as much as possible.  If you are interested in any of the services I may have to offer, and wish to discuss these, please do get in contact.  I am always happy to answer any queries, or even signpost people to other services if that is what is called for.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I wish you all health, safety, courage and very best wishes for the coming months.

David A. Walton