Prague-based experts offer calming tips for coping with quarantine stress by Katrina Modrá

For anyone who grapples with depression, social anxiety, or health anxiety on a regular basis the current global pandemic can trigger or exacerbate pre-existing conditions.

And while hand-washing may keep the virus at bay it certainly doesn’t do much for anxiety levels. So what can you do to cope whether you are someone who has been diagnosed with any kind of mental health issues or someone who’s simply unaccustomed to dealing with the added stress brought on by the current atmosphere of dread, fear, and isolation?

Continue getting help

Experts say that its important to continue your existing care regimen. Many mental health professionals, like everyone and everything else right now, are moving their practices online. Their colleagues in Prague and the Czech Republic are no exception.

A number of professionals from our own directory listings have confirmed that they are offering contactless Skype and WhatsApp sessions in English and other languages; see individual listings for therapists, counselors, and psychologists here.

Practice acceptance

Dr. Désirée Gonzalo is one of many Prague-based mental-health professionals who will be offering her multilingual services online via Skype. A clinical psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders, she shared some coping strategies for anyone suffering from anxiety brought on by the spread of coronavirus.

She says that aside from following the government’s instructions, practicing acceptance is a step you can take to ensure good mental health. “Accept the current reality and do what you need to do in terms of self-care, care of loved ones, and work. Stay focused,” she says.

Those who need some extra help practicing mindfulness should do something that brings them joy or even look to wellness practices such as online yoga.

Do something that brings you joy

While there are scores of online yoga videos some daily wellness offerings in our time zone include daily 30-minute sessions with Czech choreographer and leader of 420people troupe, Václav Kuneš, streaming at 10.30 am in Czech and at 5pm in English.

Lisa Marie Cunniff, founder of UP4 Art, Language, and Life will be offering a range of daily yoga and meditation sessions across her Facebook and YouTube channels.

Limit how much time you spend checking headlines

And while it may be tempting to spend the day reading news updates, Dr. Gonzalo says our state of mind can suffer as a result. “Reading or watching the news too frequently can lead to unhealthy catastrophising, she says, which in turn can lead to imagining negative future scenarios. She suggests checking the news once or twice a day, and sticking to trusted sources.

Of course, entirely eschewing technology isn’t practical advice and disconnecting could leave you feeling adrift. Dr. Gonzalo recommends staying connected with friends and family.

Recognize this as a special time

For anyone who is still unable to cope or needs emergency help, Gail Whitmore is a Prague-based counsellor trained in crisis prevention and intervention. She will be offering her services 24/7, taking calls and conducting online sessions. She also recommends the English-friendly crisis chat for emergency situations.

Whitmore adds that trying to look at the positive aspects of the situation could actually help those who face mounting fears to remain focused. She recommends re-connecting with your family in ways that weren’t practical before due to time constraints (do game nights, puzzles, etc.) or tackling things you always wished you could do if you only had the time — reread your favorite book, try or new hobby, or study Czech.

Also read:  Number of confirmed Czech coronavirus patients hits 214, rising by 25 overnight

“Some of these things may sound a bit cheesy,” says Whitmore, “But it could be truly helpful to try and look outside of the box and use this very special chunk of time where other options are strictly limited.”

What are you doing to keep your mental health in check during this difficult time?

¿Considerant psicoteràpia? Com seleccionar terapeuta.

Published May 2018 by

Si tens un problema i l’has intentat solucionar-pel teu compte sense èxit és recomanable buscar ajuda professional. No sempre n’hi ha prou amb parlar amb familiars i amics, o seguir els consells universals (fer exercici, menjar i dormir millor…). En aquesta nota parlarem dels punts que has de tenir en compte si decideixes buscar psicoterapeuta. Continue reading “¿Considerant psicoteràpia? Com seleccionar terapeuta.”

Quin tipus de psicoteràpia és adequada a les meves necessitats?

Published June 2018 by

L’elecció s’hauria de basar en l’estil del client, les seves prioritats presents i allò que aspira a obtenir de l’experiència.

Si no pots superar un problema psicològic amb les teves habilitats i bones intencions, o si el consell de família i amics no ha tingut els resultats esperats, potser pots considerar veure un professional format, un psicoterapeuta. Atès que la teràpia és una inversió important de temps, diners i recursos emocionals i mentals, té molt de sentit analitzar amb molt de compte quin tipus de psicoteràpia podria encaixar amb les teves necessitats. Hi ha diverses modalitats de teràpia que poden tractar el mateix problema però varien molt en l’enfoc. L’elecció s’hauria de basar en l’estil del client, les seves prioritats presents i allò que aspira a obtenir de l’experiència. Continue reading “Quin tipus de psicoteràpia és adequada a les meves necessitats?”

“Environmental stress exacerbates problems expats brought in their luggage”. An interview with expat psychologist Dr Désirée Gonzalo

Published March 2018 in Catalan by

Dr. Désirée Gonzalo is a clinical psychologist living in Prague since 2008 and working as a psychotherapist with expats.

Do expat psychotherapy clients in Prague have a typical profile?

One can distinguish various groups of clients according to the reasons why they live here. These reasons could be a determining factor in the integration process. Some come for the ample job opportunities. Most foreigners work for international companies or with an international audience. Those who come with their family tend to integrate to a lesser extent with the Czech population. Those who come alone interact mainly with other foreigners and with Czechs primarily if there are work reasons to do so. There is also a minority working in fields, such as culture, history or diplomacy, which involves relating to local people. Another large group consists of foreigners with a Czech partner. These tend to have more contact with other Czechs, for example with their partner’s family and friends. Continue reading ““Environmental stress exacerbates problems expats brought in their luggage”. An interview with expat psychologist Dr Désirée Gonzalo”

7 New Year’s resolutions for expats in Prague and the Czech Republic

Published 04.01.2019 by – Author: Katrina Modrá

There’s no way to sugarcoat it — being a foreigner in the Czech Republic is hard. For many of us integration is a continuous process that comes with a lot of self-doubt and constant comparisons with your country origin. As we kick off another year of Czech-language missteps and confrontations with sourpuss cashiers, Dr. Désirée Gonzalo, a Spanish clinical psychologist who has been counselling Prague’s foreign-born population for nearly a decade offers some coping strategies for a better Bohemian life in 2019: Continue reading “7 New Year’s resolutions for expats in Prague and the Czech Republic”

St. Mikuláš Eve: Is this devilish holiday too scary for kids?

Published 05.12.2018 by – Author: Katrina Modrá

In the European advent calendar, St. Nicholas (Mikuláš) pays a visit to children during the first week of December, bearing gifts of chocolate, walnuts, and oranges to the well behaved. The patron saint of prostitutes and thieves is traditionally accompanied by a devil (Čert) and angel (Anděl ), the former whose role is to carry “naughty” kids away in his sack — the threat of which tends to keep Czech kids in line throughout the year.

Continue reading “St. Mikuláš Eve: Is this devilish holiday too scary for kids?”