Is it in the sound of the ocean? Is it in the touch of a loved one? Is it in the laugh of a child? Is it in the satisfaction of solving a difficult problem?


Pre COVID-19, my conversations with clients would sometimes turn existential. But now, 4 months into the pandemic, with the pervasive lack of leadership in this country, and the heavy sense that uncertainty drags on, I find that barring an emergency, on every work day, almost every session with every single one of my clients inevitably becomes about my client’s search for meaning in their lives. No matter whether one is living a more crowded or a more isolated existence, and no matter if one finds oneself with less or more time on their hands than they have ever had before, if we are not dealing with the emotional and practical logistics of an emergency that drowns everything else out, it seems that we are all more than ever confronted by the constant hum of the question: where is the meaning in my life and how can I stay connected to it?


These conversations that are more the norm in religious and spiritual spheres, now easily find their way into my virtual psychotherapy office by people who are atheist, agnostic, religious and spiritual alike.


Everyone seems to be searching for the meaning of life.


These conversations do much more than inspire me. They invite me into the project of continually co-creating meaning. Meaning for my clients and as a result also meaning for myself.


I am very fortunate to be doing the work that I am doing. It always feels meaningful, but right now I am also certain that it is part of what allows me to be ok during this time.


As Viktor Frankl said in “Man’s Search for Meaning”: “those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”


This continues to be a very difficult time. Please continue to take care of yourselves and always reach out for help when you need it.


Rachel Goodman, MFT works with “helpers” in Berkeley, California. You can find her at

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