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Psychologists have rolled up their sleeves

05 September 2015 / 19:09:02  GRReporter
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Holidays with one's eyes fixed on the smartphone and the latest news about Εurogroup and the summits. Talk in the coastal taverns about what's going on nationwide and what the future holds for the country instead of about personal plans, problems at work or in personal lives. "People feel tired this year, mentally exhausted," says a tavern owner in Chania and adds, "This was no summer." "And we lack psychologists," says someone from a table with laughter in an attempt to cheer up the crowd.

But this might not be quite so funny. There is a strong desire to talk; many people feel the need to turn to a specialist while they struggle to make sense of what's going on. Some already visit psychotherapists, says Lina Yanarou in her report for Kathimerini.

"Traditionally, every summer a large number of people invest a lot in their holidays expecting that they will relax and recuperate. But this summer was pretty hard, and exhaustion won't go away. It comes from the political and social reality," says psychotherapist Era Moulaki for Kathimerini. In July, political events monopolized conversations. "Panic prevailed during the referendum week and all the developments were influencing people, both as individuals and as families. The imposition of capital controls had a direct economic impact. Many people began contemplating emigration. At the same time, there are major changes in the business sector, salaries were delayed, jobs were lost. And all this was taking place so fast, the situation was fairly tiring. It is no coincidence that we observe various psychosomatic attacks."

In the hot month of July, psychotherapist Charitine Kara had to deal with an influx of fresh cases. "Everything is related to the crisis and destabilisation," she said to Kathimerini. She believes this is the first time that national developments made their way so unequivocally into psychologists surgeries. "Since last January, around the elections and thereafter, politics has haunted people's minds much more strongly than before. And all this peaked during the referendum. Everybody was wondering what to do and how to do it. The conflict has spilled over into people's personal lives. Few are those who never talked about it."

Charitine Kara says people used to read quite a bit and get informed at that time, especially the young ones. "They felt it was their responsibility to find a way out. They felt their voice was important, such a sensation had not been around for years. It was a change." The outcome of the summit comforted some and disappointed others. In any case, most people stopped talking about it, they felt the need to go out on holiday, to learn nothing and know nothing."

But announcing the premature elections again deepened the talk in psychologists' offices. "There is a general disappointment. Many people believe there is no more for them to do. Others are even more extreme, they are reluctant to vote." Era Moulaki concurs with that: "There is a sense of disappointment in the air, there is a belief that nothing ever changes. Hope is being lost that something can be done." Still, we don't see the kind of hopelessness that reigned supreme during the past years of crisis, says Kara. "We may well have grown more experienced in dealing with the threats and uncertainty."

In any case, as psychotherapist Georgios Asimoyorgos says, in times of crisis people feel a strong urge to talk. "But the stronger the urge, the less money people have in their pockets. Which is rather unfortunate, since public services are not functioning properly, the needs remain unmet."

Tags: psychologists psychotherapists crisis
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