As the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching implications continue to unfold globally and in our communites, the Ancillae more than ever is compelled to make their “Apostolate of Presence’ relevant to the needs and needy of these troubled times. While Ancillae communities are at the service of the people in many and various ways, Marykutty Michael at Ulhasnagar, Mumbai is setting trends for reaching out during pandemic by her Tele-counselling initiatives.
A well known counsellor rendering her service in the diocese of Kalyan for the past 20 years Marykutty Michael is one of the senior members of Ancillae secular institute. Having been assisted many people during these years her method of helping people is integral and aims at not just helping an individual but the microsystem that is closest to the person and the one in which he/she have direct contact, thus making her service more family oriented and with a psycho-spiritual approach. “While dealing with human minds and its concerns it isn’t enough to have just clinical approach or in that matter spiritual approach alone. For a lasting impact and sustenance we are to see the whole of individual with all of his/her faculties... of intellect, emotions and belief systems” says Marykutty Michael. She also finds her service much more relevant and in demand during the pandemic outbreak. She says, “Before the COVID outbreak it was the traditional approach of interacting with the client in person. Today with social distancing norms in place Telecounselling has gained rapid momentum and counselling have moved online. It allows me to reach out and provide counselling services to a much larger pool of clients and their families and does not restrict to any geography or location.”
According to Marykutty Michael the biggest concern of the present scenario is fear and anxiety. She says that there is considerable rise in the number of people approaching her with hopelessness and guilt-feelings as well. Perhaps the pandemic is leading people to a tendency of over assessment of self and the purpose of life. In these unprecedented times, it is of utmost importance that one is able to overcome these hurdles and face life with hope and courage. One of the things she places most emphasis on is the integrity of the therapeutic relationship.
Being a consecrated person in the Catholic Church, for Marykutty Michael counselling is not a mere service but a ministry that enable her to encounter Christ in a day to day basis. For her the experience of online counselling is a positive one and she suggest that since social distancing norms are going to be around for the next few months of this year it’s time for us to adopt technology and move on to newer ways of providing and seeking counselling support.