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The Power of the Drive Home

By Carly Sackellares, MSW

As a virtual therapist, I am conscious of how the platform affects my clients. I understand that therapy is a sacred place where people bare their souls. I am not remiss of the je ne sais quoi that sometimes feels missing from digital interactions. I actively aim to mitigate those obstacles to the best of my therapeutic ability.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I had a profound moment with one of my clients. It was an intense session, one where I felt the helpless yet futile urge to hand her a tissue — to engage in a precious moment of human connection. As our time was coming to an end, and she wiped away her tears, I heard her softly sigh, “I miss my drive home.”

The apparent effects of COVID-19 have been astronomical, and undoubtedly, there are more to come. However, what struck me most about her comment was how something so seemingly small could have such a profound effect — one too intimate to ever predict, measure, or study.

She explained that her drives home from therapy were sacred. They were a place for her to process the session — what had been said, heard, and felt. Closing her laptop and snapping back to reality didn't feel like enough. It didn't give justice to what she had just experienced. I suggested she adjust her schedule and ensure that nothing could be planned for at least 15 minutes after our sessions. Further, I invited her to try taking a drive afterward and see what happens. The following week she contently reported back, "That's what I've been missing."

So, for any of you out there reading this, here's my message to you. Whatever that "drive home" is for you, make sure it isn't just another thing lost to these strange times. In whatever way that is safe and possible, I invite you to revive what you find sacred.

If you feel inclined, report back how it goes in the comments.

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