Sharon: Hello, everyone, this is Sharon Heller from Network in Action in Denver, and today I'm here with Keith Hughes. Good morning, Keith.
Keith: Good morning, Sharon. Good to see you.
Sharon: Yeah, good to see you, too. So, you're a mental health therapist with Keith Counseling, your business. And I'd love for you just to talk a little bit about the work that you do, and the kinds of clients that you serve.
Keith: Yeah, well, I'm here in downtown Littleton and I serve adults and teens. Primarily who are struggling with an array of things and mental health, like depression and anxiety, that are often sometimes prompted by struggles in relationships or jobs, schools, things of that nature. And also people who are kind of wanting a spiritual perspective on their problems, to kind of understand what's happening to them spiritually.
I think the best way I would put it is, I really try to help people like reframe what they're going through, to kind of see it in a different light that makes sense. That can be productive for them, you know, gather a metaphor about their situations. They can interact with the problem better versus being overwhelmed by it all. You could do a lot of work with that. Giving perspective is what it's all about.
Sharon: Yeah, I agree, because there are so many different ways for each person to look at the problems in their life, and everything that they're going through. During this particular period of time we are in, are there ways that you've modified your services or that you're working with your clients differently than you have in the past?
Keith: Primarily, yes. Right here right now, with the online platforms has been the biggest adjustment, for sure, and or phone. Just because of our current situation and sometimes modify the amount of time people can come in, too. So I guess those be the two factors in it.
Sharon: And in addition to that, are you adjusting other ways that you're doing your business, or finding different needs that your clients are having during this time?
Keith: Yeah, I think first, has been the financial hit, that people have been hitting with the ability to afford therapy. And I made some adjustments for people on those needs too. The biggest one, I would say, is anxiety, it has been amped up once again in our culture, as if that need any more help.
And also, I think with the amount of uncertainty that's going on, I think it has triggered people's past traumas as well, which has now become a little more of an emphasis on my treatment. I should add, that I'm doing some MDR trauma therapy in my practice, along with a lot more mindfulness work with people just to stay in the moment.
It's very difficult right now, for people to kind of not be wondering about next week, next month, this fall. And so it's been a lot of work of how to get back in the room, back in your skin again, and back in today. So I would answer it that way. It's been a pretty big hit in a way, the mental health world about what's going on.
Sharon: Yeah and I imagine people who maybe haven't even considered themselves as somebody who has anxiety or depression, may find themselves grappling with those things perhaps for the first time in their life, given the circumstances. And the hate and fear in our culture, and kind of polarization that's going on and being isolated.
Keith: Yeah, I think you're right. You know, Sharon, that sometimes things like that come by surprise, like, wow, all of a sudden I'm just nervous and anxious and edgy and never been that way. Because something became really uncertain in your life. And certainly, it was kind of prompted to be a little more obsessive-compulsive. More than we ever have, you know, clean stuff when you walked into a store, you wipe down, you may not have wiped down your groceries before, and now you do. And now we're getting pretty obsessive-compulsive. And that's now on the table. We didn't have that before.
Sharon: And that we're doing it for our own safety. And for you, Keith, you're in the same boat along with all of us having to grapple with all of these circumstances. What do you find that you're relying on in yourself, to have the strength to show up for your clients, and to keep giving in all the ways that you do?
Keith: That's a great question now we're getting personal, aren't we? It's caused me to be very much intentional about staying in good habits from myself, and being sure that I'm sticking with my morning prayer and meditations. Staying in my physical workouts and things like my readings. I just try and stay in my own routine. That I've been doing and being certain of finding my strength from not just myself, but God, in something bigger than me.
Sharon: Yeah, me too. And as you think towards the future, while we're all learning how to tolerate the unknown and the present circumstances that we're in, do you anticipate the landscape continuing to change for mental health, or certain needs that clients in the future may have or maybe new also?
Keith: I've been wondering about that myself, go back and forth on it, because for sure, I think we're seeing people becoming much more comfortable doing this, online conversations.
And that might have for some people, they feel like I can do this, it's easier for some people, like, yeah, I can just jump online and talk to somebody that's a professional. So I think we might see more of that, it seems.
I think that what's happening currently, is we're going to address our physical needs first. I think, you know, make sure we are healthy and stable. And then it seems, how I viewed it, mental health usually doesn't come in the first place when we want to tend to things. Unfortunately.
Sharon: I know, good point, and I know Keith just from knowing you, that you also have a passion for young people and teens and young adults. And I know they're being heavily impacted. And, I'm hearing about a lot of concerns for our young people in this climate. Do you have any thoughts about that, in terms of even a parent of a young adult, how we can support them during this time?
Keith: Yeah, I think that's certainly a work in progress right now, is how our children are responding to it. And one of the things to be careful of it, that I'm seeing, is making sure they don't spend their whole life on the video platform as much as possible.
It's so easy to let that happen because is the only way to connect, and it's a tough balance and I've been seeing, what's been helpful to try and get our kids outside as much as possible. To get out and about, get some vitamin D in them, you know, and activities I think they are very key. We should be transitioning some of this summer because I'm hearing some sports might be coming back to Colorado.
So I would say that stay connected with your kids. It'll be an intentional, annoying parent to say we're going to do this hour together. You know, we're going to play a game, we're going to go for the ride or do something. I would put that on the table as being intentional time with our kids. I think it's easy to slide into the abyss of video and, you know, so.
Sharon: Yeah, I agree. And I think, you know, having one child at home and one who's a little older out of the house. But, you know, sometimes I feel like I'm spending so much time with the one who's here at home, but like you said, to be deliberate and sit down and play a game of cards with her or do a puzzle and really give her that focus time. It's not the same thing as just being in the background.
Keith: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Honestly, I think many of us are learning as we go along with it if we're honest.
Sharon: Yeah, I know you're a great resource for parents and also young people who may need support during this time. So if someone wanted to get in touch with you, what would be the best way to do that?
Keith: They could simply go to my website http://www.keithcounseling.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, that would be pretty easy to do. My contact information is there.
Sharon: Great, well, very valuable time spent with you today, Keith. I appreciate it and stay well. Be well yourself in your family.
Keith: Thank you very much. Likewise to you, Sharon.
All right. Thank you.