FACE COVID: Practical Help During These Unprecedented Times

As we continue to face significant challenges with ongoing developments and changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt it would be helpful to share the FACE COVID model proposed by Dr Russ Harris (doctor, therapist and author of ‘The Happiness Trap’). Dr Harris formulated this model to demonstrate a few practical steps we can all take to help us all maintain our psychological wellbeing during these unprecedented times. If as adults, we practice taking these steps ourselves initially, we can then help the young people we live and work with to do the same.

The FACE COVID model draws on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which has a firm evidence base supporting its effectiveness. Dr Harris outlines these practical steps using the acronym ‘FACE COVID’, The A,C, and E of the FACE section of the acronym focuses on our internal world and aims to anchor us in the here and now. The COVID part focuses on our external world. The steps he suggests are outlined below:

F

Focus on what is in your control. We can’t control what will happen in the future, how long this will go on for, what the government is going to do, the behaviour of other people etc. But we can control what we do, here and now, how we deal with our inner world and how we engage with our outer world.

 

A

Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. They are all normal, human responses. Don’t judge your thoughts and feelings, just acknowledge them (e.g. ‘I am feeling….’ ‘I am having thoughts about…)

 

C

Come back into your body. How can you connect with your physical body? Mindfulness and breathing techniques may be helpful.

 

 

 

E

Engage in what you are doing. Fully focus on whatever task you are doing and notice what your senses are picking up (what can you see, feel, hear..).

 

 

C

Committed action. What do I need to do to protect myself and my family? What can I do that will improve day-to-day life for myself and family, even if it’s only small? What can I do for me? What can I do for someone else?

 

O

Open up. Allow difficult thoughts and feelings to be there, acknowledge that these are normal.

 

V

Values. What is important to you? Being kind, patient, caring etc? How can I reflect these values in what I am doing now?

 

I

Identify resources. Where can you get some help, support or advice from (family, friends, internet)? Who can you support?

 

D

Disinfect & distance socially. Follow all government guidance about handwashing and physical distancing, but do maintain social connectedness by making use of technology.

 

 

Let’s Think…

What is one small thing you can do today to start implementing the steps above?

In what way can you use or adapt the steps above with your child(ren)? Can you get them involved in coming up with some ideas that you can do as a school/household?

Produced by Dr Victoria Tyrer-Davies, Principal Educational Psychologist, Flying Colours Educational Psychology Ltd.

 

Sources

Harris, R.  (2008).  The Happiness Trap.  London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.

Harris, R. (2020). FACE COVID; How to respond effectively to the corona crisis. Retrieved from https://www.actmindfully.com.au

 

 

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