Grapevine: Keith Sellick’s offbeat look at the social care world

    The recession is having a terrible effect on people all over the country. But there are some people who are searching for the positives.

    We are e-mailed with the news that Relate, the marriage counselling agency, is suffering hundreds of cancelled appointments across London as couples can no longer afford their services. But as couples career headlong into splits and divorces, the e-mail informs us that rescue is at hand with the extra-marital dating site IllicitEncounters.

    IllicitEncounters says “we think of ourselves as an alternative to therapy” and I am sure they are. But it’s not just extra marital affairs that are on offer, some members just want to “enjoy recreational activities with someone new”.

    The press release announces that the website “has taken on extra staff to cope with the expected surge in membership” as “stressed couples buckle under the weight of bottled-up feelings”.

    One person’s misery is another’s source of fun. But be careful social care workers – no clients or you’ll have the GSCC conduct commitee on your tail.

    But be warned, stress can also adversely affect performance and desire. So, you could be online surfing for some de-stress therapy only to be too stressed to do anything about it. Serves you right you cheats.

    Meanwhile, the Association for Meridian & Energy Therapies (AMT) has blamed the recession for an increase in anxiety and panic attacks as people struggle with debts, redundacy and insecurity.

    AMT’s press notice puts forward several solutions. First, there is the breathe deeply and stop berating yourself methods. Then it becomes a bit more unusual. The website has the tag line “Welcome to a new world of healing”, which gives some hints. There is a ticker tape at the top offering a new book Magic, Spells and Potions although we looked in vain for a panic attack spell and the latest newsletter announces “The 2010 EmoTrance Conference”.

    If you want to give it a go, practitioners from the AMT are touring the UK with their meridian energies roadshow. The rest of us can give it a wide berth and hope for “some recreational activities with someone new”.

    And finally, in the style of the final item on TV’s 10pm news, here’s our cute last story, which was e-mailed to Community Care this week. Three ducklings were found roaming a street market in Tower Hamlets in London by market inspectors. They said they were amazed at the sight – they never found anything as “cheep” before.

    This article is published in the 30 July 2009 edition of Community Care magazine under the headline The Grapevine

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