As we all adjust to living with a deadly and most importantly, invisible virus, what happens between us, our partners, family, friends, neighbors and coworkers? How do we negotiate the emotional impact of less or no physical contact and the social lack of connections as we used to have?
Human beings are social animals. Yes, I know, there are those who are introverts and really prefer their own company and maybe even shun being around others. But even they, seek the comfort of another individual at different times, when their emotional needs peak in crisis situations. So how do we get through this difficult albeit temporary time?
Adaptability and ingenuity of the human spirit do not cease to amaze. There are articles, studies and apps that advocate for seeking connections, for offering new channels of meeting people and underscoring how important it is for each of us to have that sense and feeling of camaraderie. I just learned that the dating site, Bumble, has a BumbleBFF for looking for friends, not romantically. I read about new community initiatives that bring people together even though virtually. In all of these, we need to maintain civility, empathy and compassion. Leadership studies are consistent in pointing out the skills of emotional intelligence and stressing how much of a difference it makes when we feel “understood” even if we disagree with some resulting action or decision.
Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us: “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” When we care for people, share times and thoughts with them, we pave the path to receive same in return. Someone said that people are selfish. I disagree; yes, there are those and human nature is definitely motivated by some kind of self-interest, but not selfishness meaning at others’ expense. We are self-protective as mentally healthy beings. That translates into taking care of self as well as others.
This pandemic has brought up both the negative underbelly of our country and its rich treasures of kindness and helpfulness. Let us all chip in to maximize the latter, together, and emerge unified, with all people enjoying equality and freedom.
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.
Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577