Phyllis Law - April 2020 | 404.514.3397

Protecting Bright Futures

APRIL 2020

Bright Futures Bulletin

HowtoGetThrough the CoronavirusPandemic Community Service, Self-Evaluation, and Education

A s I write this article on March 15, 2020, we are in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. I spent the last three days worried, depressed, and stressed. But today is a new day. I have a plan. I have decided to talk to myself like I talk to my clients. For the last 17 years, people have been coming to me worried, depressed, and stressed regarding criminal and financial troubles. The first thing I always tell them is “you are going to be okay.” Then I encourage my clients to do their part to help me help them. They always feel better when they act, instead of just waiting for me to do what I do. Most of my criminal defense clients are charged with drug- or alcohol-related crimes, or they were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time the alleged criminal conduct occurred. I always tell clients to immediately begin working on the following: community service, evaluation, treatment, and, if necessary, education (DUI school, defensive driving school, or MADD Victim Impact Panel). There are good reasons to take these remedial actions. I wouldn’t tell my clients to do these things if I didn’t believe they had value. Not only do they help my clients to

grow personally, but they can also be used in their case to advocate for a second chance through diversion, first offender pleas, alternative treatment courts, etc. It shows the court you are doing your part to get back on track. We can apply this approach to the current crisis we find ourselves in, both during and after this pandemic. Community service is important because it is good for our minds and bodies. Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety, and it combats depression, makes us happy, increases self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose, and helps us stay physically healthy. So, I am going to take my own advice and look for opportunities to volunteer during this pandemic. Obviously, with social distancing, options may be limited, but they still exist. Evaluations also have great value. It is good for all of us to have an independent person look at our situation and provide insight. My clients undergo evaluations for substance abuse, anger, violence, mental health, etc., and they can really have a big impact on a client’s future. The most important thing about setbacks is that we learn from them.

impact in my life. It may not be possible for some people to engage the services of a counselor or coach right now, given the crisis. So, I suggest entering a period of self- reflection. There is a lot of really good content for free online to help with this. I strongly recommend checking out a podcast called “The Life Coach School” by Brooke Castillo. The last piece of advice I am applying to myself and the current crisis is stay educated. Now is the time to reads books, online publications, etc., to gain more knowledge. We can do all the reading we wanted to do but never had the time for before. I plan to use this time to learn more about marketing and business development. I think everyone would be well-served to use this time to hone their craft.

I wish everyone well during this difficult time. I am praying for myself and my family and all of you. We will get through this. I am here to help in anyway I can.

I have been using a coach for almost two years now, and it has made a huge positive

–Phyllis Gingrey Collins

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