For Therapists: 8 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Emotional Burn-out
1. Take Your Self-Care Seriously
Self-care matters, and therapists aren’t always so good at it. I’ve written several blog posts on the subject, ranging from specific things that therapists can do in and between sessions (so as not to become vicariously traumatised) through to things that therapists can do in their leisure time.
2. Find Really Good CPD
I find that quality CPD (Continuing Professional Development) adds a lot of fresh energy and sparkle to my feelings about my client work. It can also give me new ideas and information to add to (and sometimes transform) how I serve my clients. You can also, of course, keep on learning new techniques and approaches through reading, watching therapist videos online, and through discussions with peers.
You may pick up a new idea from these articles, too:
3. Work Online
There are pros and cons to working online, and it doesn’t suit every client, nor every therapist. Personally, I find it can be remarkably effective, for those who are attracted to the many benefits of seeing their therapist (or their therapy client!) online.
If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, as regards getting your documentation together for online therapy, I have made things a bit easier for you! I have made available four documents – an Online Therapist’s Pack – which you can buy as a bundle for just £9.99. These include (1) an online client contract, (2) a therapist information sheet, (3) a risk assessment tool, and (4) an example of a GDPR consent form. All of these are intended to be adapted and altered to suit your unique situation and needs. You can access it instantly – right now! – by going to Get My Online Therapist’s Pack
Here are a few other useful resources for therapists and clients about online therapy:
4. Get Back on the Couch
Having a bout of therapy yourself can be deeply supportive and can help you do your best work when you’re with your clients. You might like to get inspired and energised by trying something a bit different — you might look for a therapist who specialises in (to give just a few examples) Art Psychotherapy, AEDP, Internal Family Systems (IFS), Gestalt, Coherence Therapy, or a somatically-based psychotherapy.
I’m a huge fan of therapy for therapists, and I practise what I preach. Personally, I find regular sessions with my own therapist are absolutely invaluable. I’ve even written about it:Therapists: 8 ways you can protect your capacity for empathy, your most valuable therapy tool Click To Tweet
5. Get Involved in a Creative Workshop, Group or Class
Look out for a creative workshop or group that you can join. Singing, drama, painting, pottery — being creative in a group can be very restorative and healing. Currently these have shifted to being held online, so that we can access them while practising social distancing.
Periodically I run enjoyable, depth-oriented small-group workshops on Creative Self-Care for Therapists, where participants have fun and get creative whilst experiencing some grounded practical techniques and strategies for self-care. I’m looking at possibly shifting these to an online format, too.
Here’s my guided visualisation for helping you to connect to your creativity:
6. Get Great Supervision
Supervision, whether it’s one-to-one or part of a small group, can be vital for helping you feel supported and connected, and for making sure you’re working as effectively and ethically as possible. As a clinical supervisor, I use a relational model.
7. Find Resources to Support Your Clients
When your clients have access to good information that supports their personal growth and mental health, they can work more effectively with you. And when you and your clients are working together effectively, you’ll find that the therapy process can feel a lot more rewarding, for both of you.
You may find these articles useful for your clients:
The Therapy Process
Sensitive and Creative
Feelings and Anxiety
Anything Else You’d Suggest?
What else have you found helpful? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And if (like me) you’re a psychotherapist who provides therapy to other therapists and counsellors, you might like to add your website name and your geographical area so others know how to find you!
*If you know where the quote ‘midwife to someone else’s becoming’ originally comes from, please tell me!