Self-care for Mental Health Professionals
As a psychotherapist how do you self regulate?
How do you keep yourself from getting burnt out?
When there are personal issues, because you’re human and you will have them, how do you balance personal and professional life?
If you’re triggered in a session, feel biased towards your client, have a sudden personal triggering memory pop up, feel agitated, suddenly feel unwell etc, how do you handle it mid-session?
Although we already have coping skills and knowledge about self regulation as psychotherapists, it’s really important to have quick tools that can help us self-regulate prior to, during and after a session as well as have a tapping self-care routine to prevent burnout. This form of regular self-care in turn helps your client. How?
By you being able to hold a safe space for your client during sessions. Being trauma informed means being able to hold a safe space for our clients and in order to do that we need to feel safe in our bodies as therapists, especially if we are working with clients with trauma history. And I believe mostly all clients have some form of trauma background.
Self-regulation also helps in your interactions with your client outside of sessions, for example, scheduling appointments, answering emails, handling conflicts with clients – all this requires you to be in a grounded and calm space.
Another essential aspect of therapy is to have empathy. However, consistently working with clients while being present and empathetic does take a toll on our minds and bodies, especially if we’re not careful and don’t engage in regular self-care practices. We need a form of self care that requires less time, is somatic and helps in processing feelings safely without analysis paralysis.
Let’s say you’re triggered right before a client session due to a personal issue. Now, what will you do? One of the quickest ways to feel calmer is to just tap for a few minutes. It helps in reducing your emotional intensity instantly and is even helpful during a session.
Consider learning foundational skills in EFT for quick reduction in stress and emotional distress.
While mechanical EFT ( which can be learnt just be reading a manual or attending a brief course) is helpful, for effective EFT application a solid base in foundational skills and experiential learning is necessary, otherwise you will not find significant improvements after EFT.
EFT is a research supported, evidence based, somatic-cognitive tool. Since trauma enters through the body and emotions are felt in the body, the best way for trauma and emotions to be processed is through the body and that’s where EFT comes in.
For a short video on this, click on the link below