Co-Constructing Meaning in the Time of Coronavirus

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In the midst of the physical, economic, racial, and psychological turmoil triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, people are also confronted with a crisis of meaning. Sharing one's crisis narrative offers someone the opportunity to make meaning by gathering information, assessing risks, and exploring possible coping strategies. Perhaps most importantly, the process enables one to begin making meaning of the chaos and confusion of the pandemic. The purpose of this article is to highlight how therapists can facilitate the dynamics of meaning making through therapeutic crisis intervention. Using such strategies as meaning making questions, reframing, de-stigmatizing, and broaching, therapists engage in a co-construction process with those who have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As a result of collaborating in therapeutic co-construction of meaning, clients can transform their crisis narratives into survival stories, achieve a greater sense of resolve, and set the stage for thriving in their lives. Ultimately, the therapist invites a client to reflect on lessons learned from coping with the pandemic, to discover previously unacknowledged personal strengths, and to explore one’s eventual purpose in life.