We do not have armies fighting COVID—we have deeply committed, courageous public health workers unprepared for the scope and intensity of the response and its traumatic impact on their lives. For the last six months, I have sat in weekly healing circles with them, nurses and epidemiologists and leaders. The simple clarity of the circle method has been profoundly helpful in allowing these exhausted people space to return to the present moment, to feel what they feel, and to emerge from isolation into the matrix of shared burden and care for each other. They don’t need an expert; they need each other, and a path to speak honestly and listen with compassion and curiosity.
Sean Fitzpatrick, PhD, LPC, executive director of The Jung Center |
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers labored in challenging environments. Now, the complexity of responding to the pandemic has added many new dilemmas: fears about infection for self and loved ones, concerns about access to medical supplies and personal protection, increased workload demands and, most important, witnessing the intense suffering of others, including patients, families, and fellow staff.
How does one hold the entirety of this? For many, a key is to gather with a circle of companions who understand our struggle and share our strong intention to find healing.