EP.50 DR. MAGGIE VAUGHAN, NYC Psychotherapist on Maintaining Perspective During the COVID-19 Lockdown

We are all trying to make sense of the difficult environment created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Uncertainty, economic difficulty, loss of routine, new roles and uncomfortable environments have us all on out heels. I thought it would be educational to speak with an expert who is on the front lines helping people deal with life’s “normal” problems and the new set of issues that our friendly Coronavirus has dropped in our laps.

Dr. Maggie Vaughan is an award-winning, NYC-based psychotherapist with over 15 years of experience offering therapy to adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and relationships.  She is also the founder and executive director of Happy Apple, a Manhattan-based psychotherapy center which provides an array of services to children, teens, families, and adults.  

In addition to working with her New York clients, Dr. Vaughan works online with clients in California, Delaware, and New Jersey, the other states in which she’s licensed.  She holds degrees in political science, marriage and family therapy, and clinical psychology.   Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, The Learning Channel, and The Huffington Post.  Currently, she is providing consultation to companies who employ essential workers, to help ensure the ongoing well-being and adjustment of those employees throughout the social distancing phase of COVID-19. 

She can be found on Social Media:



Here is the outline of our discussion . . . I hope you enjoy it and take away some useful points as you and your family adjust to our “little disruption.”


What are your clients concerned about and are these issues amplifying problems they are currently facing in relationships and other issues?

Fear of the Virus:  

  • Health issues for family (older members / pre-existing issues)
  • Business / Job / Income issues – am I going to be financially ok?
  • Safety issues for those who are alone
  • Uncertainty
  • OCD / germaphobes – how do they get around this?
  • How we take in information- people questioning the very information that they are receiving

The Break Up of Routine

  • (Much) Closer proximity to family, zero proximity to friends, colleagues etc . . .
  • Work From Home (This is what you do all day?!?)
  • New functions- home-schooling, housework
  • Distortion of time
  • Loneliness – ability to perform job function
  • Different regions responding differently (NYC vs elsewhere- some more seriously than others- jealousy)

For Professionals

  • Working From Home
  • Loss of community with work environment
  • Change in the way people will work in the future- am I outmoded?
  • Am I able to keep up my responsibilities for my employees, customers, vendors etc . . . 


  • Strange phenomenon where inconsistent testing has created a weird set of haves and have nots 
  • Will people “want” to get it (like chickenpox) to re-enter society


  • Great way to re-evaluate priorities
  • Good time to deepen relationships, re-establish intimacy
  • Check in on faded relationships, 
  • Hit the reset button on areas where communication had been ignored
  • Interesting dry run for retirement (living post career)
  • Interesting time to think about business / side gigs / career

Using The Time Well

  • Exploring long set-aside interests or new ones
  • Going deeper into your field- extra study, zoom conferences, making new contacts within your field
  • Developing skills just outside of your field that can make you even more dangerous in your job
  • Developing contacts outside of your field that might be helpful (industry associations etc . . . )
  • Developing expertise in your non-career interests (do you have a book in you, podcasts, painting etc)
  • Can those be linked together in the future?
  • Spending time with family and friends (even virtually), so that your support community is in place during this time AND after.
  • Rest/exercise where possible
  • Dry run for retirement

Coming Out of the Abyss

  • Trying to envision what the future looks like in six months
  • If you have issues, what should you be doing to stabilize them?
  • How do you deal with people- especially those close to you that are reacting differently?
  • What are the various programs out there that might be of help?


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