Fox’s family therapy business is up about one-third since the pandemic hit, and she’s also seeing the emotional impact of shelter-in-place on couples unused to sharing each other’s space or even each other’s lives. “In an affluent relationship, you can easily live an almost completely separate life from your spouse, normally. The only time you’re together is in a very social setting—say, cocktails at the club. Suddenly, now you’re in the same space and can’t turn to the outside to help with your needs.”

“It doesn’t matter how many square feet you have, you only have each other,” she says, citing one couple. He works in Manhattan and effectively lives there during the week while his wife remains at the family’s main home on Long Island. They’re now living together out east, and their relationship is strained. “All of a sudden, he’s in her space, and he feels like he should be her priority. They can’t get anything right. Even what they’re having for dinner is an argument.”

Fox, though, is finding some joy in the changed circumstances of the pandemic. All of her own children, twentysomething professionals, have moved back home until New York normalizes. They do yoga together or cook dinner as a family (in her case, argument-free).

More than anything, though, she’s seized the chance during the lockdown to relax a little. Yes, she has more client appointments than ever, but she’s no longer commuting. With additional time on her hands each day, she has posed the same question to herself as to her clients: “Where do you find joy?” For Fox, the answer is keep it all slow and simple: “I stay in bed and do a little reading. Everybody wants to feel productive during this time, but the most important thing is to figure out what you consider productive,” she pauses, “It’s OK to dial it back a little.”

Los Angeles’s Ho knows exactly what Fox means. The frenzy among her high-net-worth clients has required her to restate her boundaries, even when interacting virtually. She’s long insisted that demanding patients who bombard her with text messages finesse their communications, marking truly urgent messages with “A,” less-urgent ones with “B,” and so on.

Recently, she’s had to remind folks of that again, including one older male client, a major chief executive officer who seems to mistake Ho for one of his five assistants. He said he would pay her double if she prioritized every one of his voicemails and texts. She told him that he should follow her system—or she could recommend another professional.

“I’ve offered [a referral] a few times,” she says, “but I’ve not had anyone take me up on that.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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