Tackling the emotional toll of social distancing

Exeter's Counseling and Psychological Services team offers tools to help. Webinars April 27 and 28. 

Nicole Pellaton
April 22, 2020
Counseling and Psychological Services team standing outside.

In a few short weeks, many of us have become masters of Zoom classes, Skype calls, and spending hours in front of screens. But all of us are struggling with the loss of the old in-person ways of communicating and connecting. With years of expertise in relevant topics (anxiety, addiction, separation adjustment, mind/body therapies and more), the five members of CAPS are redefining their role to support the Exeter community in the COVID-19 era.

As soon as distance learning became the modus operandi for spring term, CAPS went into high gear, recognizing a need and an opportunity. Exonians, who normally do so much together, would be feeling the strains of lost connection with each other, campus, teachers, teams and even a shared time zone. Parents of Exeter students would be feeling new stresses related to huge shifts in at-home routines and job realities. Similarly, Exeter employees would be juggling work, homeschooling for children and everything else that social distancing requires.

To support the entire community, CAPS has expanded its reach to include Exeter parents and employees, as well as students. The team is crafting videos and hosting webinars that present advice, tips and helpful information. These will appear on the CAPS section of Exeter Connect and the Parent Portal.

Upcoming webinar

CAPS will host two sessions of a CAPSupport webinar on Substance Use and Healthy Coping for students, parents and employees:

Monday, April 27 at 8 p.m. EDT

Tuesday, April 28 at 12 p.m. (noon) EDT

Webinar hosts will be Marco Thompson and Dr. Szu-Hui Lee

For details on how to connect to the webinars, check the CAPS section of the Parent Portal or the CAPS Exeter Connect site.

‘Tectonic shift in the family system’

In spring 2019, CAPS started experimenting with a WPEA radio show called “Funny You Should Ask,” which addresses questions submitted by students. In teams of two, the counselors have taken on student concerns with a light, humorous touch matched by a deft directness.

This spring, CAPS is continuing the effective and popular “Funny You Should Ask” format and will adapt it to a new video series called CAPSupport. Both audio and video series will be available on Exeter Connect, along with CAPSheets, short PDFs on COVID-19-related topics that you can download.

'Parenting Boarders'

The most recently published CAPSupport video, “Parenting Boarders … at Home,” gives useful advice about the “tectonic shift in the family system” that has occurred because of social distancing.

In the video, Dr. Szu-Hui Lee, CAPS director, and Dr. Chris Thurber, CAPS associate director, discuss ways to reduce stress and loneliness (“If you find yourself really frustrated, you’re in good company.” “Routines are anchoring.” “Don’t be offended when your young adult is asking for some space.” “We’re all dealing with a feeling of loss.”). Lee ends the video with a direct word to students, “Cut your parents some slack!” and asks, “When we look back at this time, how do we want to remember it? … Proud of how we manage ourselves.”

Watch the full video here:


Send in your questions

CAPS is eager to receive questions from students, parents and PEA employees so that they can tailor their content to address specific concerns.

Here’s how to submit questions:

AskACounselor email – Send questions for the CAPS team at this address. Answers will be provided in written form on the CAPS section of Exeter Connect.

Via form on Exeter Connect – Students and PEA employees can submit questions anonymously at the CAPS Exeter Connect site. Users can select whether to have a question considered for “Funny You Should Ask.” General questions will be answered in written form.

Stay tuned

More videos, tools and webinars are planned. Check out the CAPS section on Exeter Connect often. Parents will be able to view videos on the Parent Portal.

More to Explore


Learn more about Exeter's counseling support for students and meet the CAPS team. 

Go to the page titled Counseling

CAPS on Exeter Connect

Students and PEA employees, use this link to access resources and send questions to the CAPS team. 

Go to the page titled CAPS on Exeter Connect