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Week one of lockdown: reflections from the couch

On 16 March President Ramaphosa declared a state of emergency. A full lockdown followed soon after. In South Africa you cannot walk your dog, nor pop out to buy alcohol or cigarettes. Psychiatrists have responded by being as freaked out as everyone. For the last 200 years, psychiatrists have used “The Container” as the boundary for their work. It is the committed time and a safe space within which my patients and I explore the hard stuff. A safe space is as important to a psychiatrist’s work, as a sterile environment is to a surgeon. It can be done in…

New routes to resilience- lockdown 4 and beyond.

Day million of the lockdown and no end in sight. This week has felt particularly rough, with many of my patients really struggling. I think that part of the reason, as we settle in for the long haul, is that previous effective coping strategies have not been useful our current situation. A salient feature of my most robust and resilient patients is the sense that they can make effective future plans. They can make a adjust for any of life’s challenges. Part of my job has always been to help my patients get control in their lives, to help them…