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Broken Vows: Emotional Abuse in Intimate Partnerships


Scott Webb: Maintaining healthy romantic relationships takes work any time, but especially during COVID-19 and this quarantine period. I’m joined today by Joelle Shipp. She’s a Licensed Clinical Counselor at Mindpath Care Centers in Charlotte, North Carolina. The special COVID-19 podcast is brought to you by Mindpath Care Centers. I’m Scott Webb. So Joelle, thanks so much for joining me. Let’s start with boundaries. How do we set boundaries during this time when many of our houses are full of people that might ordinarily not be here, they might ordinarily be at school or work, but now we’re all at home. How do we set those boundaries?

Joelle Shipp: One of the best ways to be able to set boundaries is through communication. And with communication, it’s always really helpful to know what your wants and needs are. And so being able to identify that for yourself so then you’re able to communicate that with somebody else. So for example, if you need a quiet space to work between the hours of eight and four, you can share with whether that be your partner or your child. Hey I need this space in this time to be quiet. And then maybe like during our lunch break we can be loud or we can share a meal together, we can watch some TV, and then I’ll need to resume you know, my work. It could also be helpful to have physical boundaries. And so whether you’re in the same room with somebody, maybe you’re on different levels of the home maybe one person is able to go to their office during the time and you are staying in, so that you feel like you’re able to accomplish what you need to get done. While also being able to say focus and communicating exactly what you need.

Host: Yeah, I know that I am driving my kids crazy and the feeling is a bit mutual of course. So you mentioned communication and we know that communication is always key to any healthy relationships, romantic or otherwise. And maybe especially so during COVID-19 that we communicate on a certain level cause we’re all around each other more. We get on each other’s nerves more. So what recommendations do you have for communication? Be it just a healthy relationships with our children and our spouses or romantic relationships.

Joelle Shipp: Yeah, so I think especially for romantic relationships, making sure that you have some time during the day, whether that’s at lunch or maybe even after your day has come to an end with work or what other responsibilities you may have, just to be able to sit down and have an open communication conversation about maybe how their day was, how they’re even managing the stress or the worry or the anxiety that is coming with COVID-19. Being able to really just set aside that time that you can look forward to where you know that you’re going to be able to communicate your feelings and emotions and express to your loved one how you’re feeling. And then being able to identify maybe some coping skills of how you all can even relieve maybe some of that stress or worry. So whether that is spending some time watching a movie together or having a meal, or even individually maybe going for a walk, or reading a book or listening to some music.

Host: Those are all great suggestions. And I think one of the things that’s been so difficult during COVID-19 for all of us is just feeling normal, staying normal, you know, getting up and trying to stay in a routine and not be, you know, streaming Netflix at two o’clock in the morning, you know, because you can, cause you don’t have to go anywhere the next day. Do you have any recommendations or thoughts about that? About just kind of staying normal during what is undeniably an incredibly abnormal period in our history?

Joelle Shipp: My number one advice would be to just give yourself compassion during this time because the reality is we are experiencing some form of a new normal everyone’s life in one way or another has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreaks. And almost holding yourself to this expectation that life is just is supposed to continue how it was before. Everything, all the closures that you know, having to homeschool your children, having to work from home that’s really unrealistic and you’re almost setting yourself up for failure. And so being able to be compassionate, taking it day by day, finding a routine that works well for you and your family, your loved ones, your partner, that’ll all help when it comes to managing the day by day changes that we’re experiencing.

Host: That’s awesome. So let’s talk about telehealth. You know, that has been something that’s been sort of inching along for, you know, the healthcare community, if you will for some time, but has not been the norm. Now all of a sudden you know, with the flip of a switch, it’s become the thing. Right. And I’m sure that it is at Mindpath as well. So what recommendations do you have for patients or expectations, you know, should they have going into a telehealth or telemedicine visit?

Joelle Shipp: Yes. So, first of all, telehealth is, I think it’s such an awesome platform that we’re able to use him in the mental health field because it makes it that mental health services are accessible in so many ways, and especially during this time where we’re not always able to meet face to face and in person. And so for someone who may be new to therapy or even just the option of telehealth I would encourage them just to go in just as this maybe they were going into a, you know, a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with, you know, a friend in the sense that it’s okay to be nervous. It’s okay to not know what to expect, but to know that it’s that time and that space for you to be able to open up and communicate what’s been going on with you and how you’ve been feeling. And knowing that the issues that are brought to therapy don’t always have to just center around what’s going on presently, with the COVID-19 outbreaks. But it can be anything as maybe you are experiencing worry about maybe it’s your child or maybe you’ve had an issue that you’ve wanted to address for a really long time. And now that life has slowed down in many ways, you’re able to find yourself taking care of your mental health in a new and different way. It’s face to face just through a computer or a laptop or even your, your cell phone. And so you can be able to be in the comfort of your home in your room, in a den and you’re able to connect with a mental health therapist.

Host: That’s really interesting and that’s great to hear. And I know, you know, so like the gold standard for medical doctors you know, your primary physician, you know, would be to see patients because they need to poke and prod and you need to show them things. But that’s really great when you think about, when we talk about mental health, it’s really no different. You’re just, again doing it over the phone, doing it over the computer. That’s really cool. So what else can we tell listeners today too, about relationships during COVID-19, the services that mind path offers? Anything else?

Joelle Shipp: Yeah, so I would really encourage just any and everyone, whether you’re a teenager, whether you’re an adult just getting really creative about how you can stay connected with other people during this time. So many, so much of our lives is connected and centered around relationships with other people. And during this time where we have stay at home orders or shelter in place restrictions, it’s really difficult to connect with people on the level that we used to. So like I shared getting creative, whether that’s doing game nights virtually or having a zoom meeting or even like a kind of like a family talk night. I know personally for myself, I’ve been invited to some zoom birthday parties, which have been really creative during this time and it’s just so important that even though we’re not able to be in the same space, even in the same city with each other during this time, that we’re still able to connect and make really meaningful memories. And so like I said, getting creative, not letting the barrier stop us from connecting. And then just in general with Mindpath care centers. So we offer mental health therapy services as well as medication management. We’re located in North Carolina with offices in Charlotte and the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area. We have lots of providers that our clientele can be connected with and we’re here to help.

Host: Definitely. And I’m just thinking about what you said there. Like it has been a really interesting time to be creative. So we had a, we had Easter, we zoomed that we had a family zoom for Easter, you know, and every night I play Scrabble on my phone against my mom and I still love beating her as much as I always when we do it in person. And my daughter’s having basketball practice with her coach, so he tried zoom that didn’t work. So now they’re doing FaceTime today and she’ll set up her phone outside by the basketball hoop and he’ll say, dribble with this hand, do this, do that. And it really is sort of ironic and in such an unusual, crazy time that it actually gives us time to be more creative, to be more thoughtful, to do things like you’re suggesting, to think about our mental health and maybe take action that we’ve been putting off. So really, so awesome having you on today. Joelle, thanks so much for your insight and your expertise.

Joelle Shipp: Yes, thank you so much for the opportunity. I really enjoyed being a part of today.

Host: To learn more about our telehealth services, visit mindpathcare.com/telehealth. We hope you find this podcast from Mindpath Care Centers to be helpful and informative. I’m Scott Webb. Stay well and we’ll talk again next time.

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Please note that, while we publish accurate information with professional input, no information in this blog is intended as a replacement for medical advice from licensed providers. To receive such advice please contact MindPath Care Centers at mindpathcare.com or call us at 877-876-3783, and we will connect you with a professional who can further assist you.

Tropical Storm Isaias is headed towards the Carolinas

Tropical Storm Isaias is headed towards the Carolinas. Please note that we plan to be open for appointments; however, be aware that power outages may be widespread which may impact telehealth and other appointments. We may not know until the last minute in all of our locations on Tuesday. Please be patient. We will waive missed appointment charges on Tuesday, August 4th in light of complications from the weather. If you and your provider are unable to connect, we will reach out to reschedule your appointment as soon as possible.