Helping Clients Overcome FONO (Fear of Normal)

CE Hours: 4.0
Instructor: Hailey Shafir, LCMHCS, LCAS, CCS

Cost: This program is sponsored by the Catholic Charities Diocese of Harrisburg and is free to all staff

A Live, Interactive Webconference
Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Catholic Charities via Live Interactive Zoom

This workshop reviews key recent findings about the widespread mental health effects of the pandemic, providing a big picture perspective on changes in both patients and providers’ current needs that need to be considered in post pandemic lock-down delivery of behavioral health services. An emerging body of research suggests that many Americans report negative mental health effects related to the primary and secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a sharp rise in rates of anxiety, depression, addiction, fatal overdoses, and suicide during the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, those most affected are the most vulnerable in our society, including kids, teens, young adults, people with pre-existing mental illnesses or other social, cultural, and economic disadvantages. The demand for counseling has never been greater, behavioral health providers are struggling to meet the increased demand for their services. Higher rates of burnout, vicarious trauma, and personal hardships and impacts related to the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic have further strained our field.

As societies around the world re-open from quarantine, a growing number of people (including providers) are reporting re-entry anxiety, which in public media has been referred to as fear of returning to normal (FONO). These include transitions back into basic socializing, going back to school or into the workplace, attending large public events, traveling, etc. Although too recent a phenomenon to have an established body of empirical studies to determine prevalence and course, this training uses available polls as a rough guide (e.g., APA, 2021). A comprehensive overview of FONO is provided in this training, linking this phenomenon to what we know from established psychological science regarding heightened anxiety in times of uncertainty, particularly for anxiety sensitive people. Implications for supporting and/or treating people reporting FONO are provided based on the current established evidence-based practice related to managing or overcoming anxiety, with the goals of returning to pre-pandemic routines.

As a result of participating in this workshop, therapists will be able to:

  1. Describe the most reported mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and which populations are most at risk of being affected
  2. Identify common mental health symptoms which may be related to FONO
  3. Identify the changing needs of patients and the requisite adaptations in the delivery and structure of psychological practice for meeting these needs
  4. Identify evidence-informed methods to support clients and families struggling with post-pandemic transitions


  • 8:25am-8:45am: Introductions & overview of agenda & course format
  • 8:45am-9:30am: Review of direct and indirect effects of the pandemic on mental illness, risk and protective factors, and populations most likely to be affected
  • 9:30am-10:30am: Introduction to the term “FONO”, research and studies that illustrate this phenomena, case examples, and differential diagnosis. Examining key differences between FONO as an adjustment disorder vs chronic mental health conditions including anxiety and mood disorders, OCD, PTSD, and SUD
  • 10:30am-10:40am: Break
  • 10:40am-12:00pm: Implications of post-pandemic societal changes affecting the field of mental health and the role, setting, and structure of individual and family treatment, introduction to a variety of evidence-informed interventions to help clients and families with FONO successfully transition to pre-pandemic routines
  • 12:20-12:35pm: Wrap up, summary, and Q & A

This is an intermediate level course. The target audience is behavioral health professionals. This is a live synchronous distance learning activity conducted in real time, allowing for simultaneous participation of participants and instructors from different locations.

About The Trainer
Hailey Shafir is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, a licensed addiction specialist, and a board-approved clinical supervisor for newly licensed mental health and addiction counselors. She has more than a decade of experience providing counseling, developing programs for at-risk youth, people struggling with addictions, and providing training and supervision for clinicians. She is the owner of several businesses including Keep Counsel, Plan-it Therapy, IndyWind, and Therapy Cred. Hailey is also a content writer and medical peer reviewer for, the National Drug Helpline, Choosing Therapy, Rehab Adviser, Searchlight, Social Pro Now, and other sites, and has worked to develop online recovery apps and programs for people struggling with addictions and impulse control disorders.


Frequently Asked Questions
Visit our FBMHS Policies & FAQs on Live, Interactive Webconferences for additional information regarding CFBT live interactive workshops, accommodations for disabilities, reporting problems with the training, instructions for registering for a training, etc.