News By telephone, shrinks facing the “growing anxiety” of confined...

By telephone, shrinks facing the “growing anxiety” of confined families


A mother and daughter confined to an apartment (illustration) – Mathieu Pattier / SIPA

  • Help lines for families, run by associations of psychologists, are increasingly used.
  • Example in Nantes where these professionals are mobilizing to respond to the anxieties linked to school at home, relationships with spouse or children, or to the growing social inequalities.

At first, you had to fill out a form to be called back. However, in response to demand, a direct line was added in the evening and on Saturday morning. To theparents school Loire-Atlantique, the phone keeps ringing while the fourth week of
containment ends in France. At the end of the line,
psychologists take turns listening to and advising families, some of whom are finding it increasingly difficult to manage the situation. “We feel the anxiety rising,” confirms Yannick Bervas, the director of the association. Some parents just
need to be listened to, others to alert to more burdensome situations. We realize that everyone is under severe strain, with promiscuity, fatigue, and illness. “

Cécile Reich, from the Nantes association Le Pas, is also in increasing demand. She receives long texts at night, and her cell phone now rings almost ten times a day. Isolated people, couples experiencing relationship problems, but also families, at the end of their tether. “Some people call me after I crack,” she says. I had a lady who just threw all of her children’s belongings out the window. She felt completely overwhelmed by homework. “” Home school is a central problem, confirms Sophie Marinopoulos, psychologist and founder of the asso
Butter pasta, which mobilized 40 professionals during this period, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is important to say that learning can be done in many ways: by doing
pancake dough for example, we can count with young children, work on multiplications or subtractions with older ones. You have to take a step back and try to adapt. “

Parental disagreements that are revealed

A posture that these professionals also apply to themselves. Containment measures oblige, impossible to receive families during interviews, which normally last an hour. It is now necessary to find the words by phone, often in thirty minutes maximum, in order to be able to handle other calls. “We don’t see the person and yet we are in their privacy,” continues
Sophie Marinopoulos. We have a lot of fears related to alternate custody, but we are also witnessing parental disagreements, which are revealed in couples who were not used to seeing each other as much. There, we can ask to put on loudspeaker, to be able to speak to everyone, to children too. We propose to remember, to know how it evolves. There is no ready-made solution, it is high fashion work. “

In this period of confinement, where there is sometimes a lack of space and time for oneself, there is often a recurring recommendation: that of establishing a framework, rules, respecting schedules. “The idea is to ritualize your day,” explains Yannick Bervas. When we have teens who don’t want to do anything but stay in front of the screens, you must try to fix moments to share together, such as meals. This is necessary so as not to fall into complex inertia. “And when we don’t want to talk to each other, which is normal, we take breaks by setting rules there too,” adds Sophe Marinopoulos. A mom can very well ask to be left alone, in the kitchen for example, for an hour. “

“We can’t shake their hands anymore”

While this advice can help some households stay on track, psychologists know it is difficult to apply to others. They observe that social inequalities deprive certain families of cultural resources, such as reading or multimedia content available on the Internet. The
domestic violence worry too, while all the associations we interviewed have dealt with several cases already.

“It is even harder for those who combine socio-economic distress with the difficulties of confinement,” says Cécile Reich. We can no longer shake their hands, a symbolic gesture but which in normal times makes them feel that they are not alone. I’m afraid that for them, the problems are so great that the phone is not enough in the long run. “

20 seconds of context

The three associations we interviewed, based in Nantes, offer anonymous and free interviews. Their contact details (among others) are available on the town hall website.


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