Mental health expert panel discusses how to best deal with differing opinions on COVID-19 – WSAW

Posted: May 16, 2020 at 6:47 pm

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

WAUSAU, Wis. (WZAW) -- Its a stressful time for many of us, it can be even more stressful when differing opinions on COVID-19 clash. I had a Deep Bench conversation with a panel of mental health experts over Zoom to explain how to best deal with the divide on ideas.

I think a lot of families are going through this a bit, said Dr. Brian Weiland, a clinical psychologist at Behavioral Health Clinic in Wausau. We all are trying to do our best in a pretty unique situation, so to give each other some patience as were all navigating this at the same time."

He added that if you are a person who looks at the CDC recommendations and deviates from that, the further you deviate from that middle spot, the more likely it is that youre going to be met with some push-back, criticism or other strong feedback from other people.

I think where things kinda start to get is when we sort of bring a lot of emotion into the discussion and we tend to take things personally, Dr. Weiland said. So he said if its possible, to set some of that emotion to the side and talk about it in a matter-of-fact sort of way that thats how youre going about things with your family.

Its just a matter of being confident in your opinion and your own belief system, what you believe is right for your family, without having to criticize other people, added Judy Lemke. She is a licensed professional counselor at Behavioral Health Clinic.

Social media is a platform where many people go to share their opinions publicly and those who disagree with that persons approach often tend to blast that person on what he or she believes. Dr. Weiland said we need to be very careful in those situations and what were posting on social media, especially when we want to use an element of shame, which that put a bigger gap in the divide.

More and more conspiracy theories are making their way to the surface the longer this is going, added Rick Jass, a licensed professional and president of Charis Counseling in Wausau. I really see that as a product of fear. We want to have a secret understanding of whats going on and, it helps us gain control of a situation that feels very out of control.

Lee Shipway, a clinical social worker and the co-founder and executive director of Peaceful Solutions Counseling in Wausau, said the most important thing is having respect.

If you look the word respect up in the dictionary, the actual definition is to refrain from interfering with. If someone puts out an opinion to you like, I think thats wrong or Thats stupid, then youre interfering with that, Shipway explained. The best to do I think is just listen to the other person and say I hear you, I understand what youre saying and leave it at that.

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Mental health expert panel discusses how to best deal with differing opinions on COVID-19 - WSAW

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