Interpersonal Edge: How to look for effective help during social isolation

By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Content Agency

Q: I was reading that depression and anxiety have gone through the roof and I can relate. I’m not just socially isolated but feel my mental health and functioning deteriorating. At least I have a remote job but I feel my problem solving at work is poor and my irritability is constant. How can I get practical help and still be safe from the virus?

A: You can get help in a socially isolated world if you realize that both mental health and executive coaching experts have adjusted by providing flexible venues for help. In my practice I use Skype, Zoom, phone and other platforms to make sure my clients both new and old can reach me from anywhere. I also got creative and built an outdoor COVID-19 safe gazebo with a heater, comfortable furniture, twinkling lights and rain curtains for local clients. Many clients have decided they like the convenience of remote work with me so much they choose remote even when they are in my city of Seattle.

Most people in my profession have thought long and hard about how to offer effective help to solve the serious rampant mental health crisis. The virus is not our only health crisis and you’re right that depression and anxiety have indeed doubled while seeking mental health support has dropped by 50%.

Counselors and executive coaches have worked creatively this year to make sure the platforms we use are convenient, simple and confidential. The good news is now clients are no longer limited to only seeking help from professionals in their city. As consumers of mental health and coaching we can select the best help from anyone anywhere.

I know it may sound awkward to start a relationship as intimate as therapy over a remote platform. However, new clients tell me they find remote platforms actually allow a fast assessment of whether my style, tools and strategies will benefit their needs. Also realize ethical professionals are happy to refer you to someone more suited if you don’t feel a connection.

Be wary of any professional that offers a first session for free. What a free session means is that professional is not busy, does not have good boundaries or self-care (so can’t teach you), and doesn’t think that first session is valuable enough to pay for.

A skilled counselor or executive coach will provide solutions to your problems, tools for your challenges, and strategies for your optimal well-being. Practicing and learning live with a professional will provide you with approaches you can’t learn through a book. Rather like martial arts training, you need a sensei (teacher), you need a dojo (live training), and you need a willingness to show up and believe you are worth protecting.

The last word(s)

Q: Once the vaccine becomes widely available will things go back to normal?

A: No, not everyone will be willing.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru.”. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006).

You can contact Dr. Skube at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.