Therapist Self-Care: For You and Your Client
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
There is so much happening in the world from racial injustice, police brutality, gun violence, effects of the global pandemic, and many more. As therapists, our role is to be present and hold the space for our clients. Many are feeling scared, fearful, anxiety, sadness and anger. We help them process their feelings and find ways to cope with their feelings. All too often, we realize that we are experiencing some of the same feelings. How do we hold the space for clients while managing our own feelings? What are we doing outside of the therapy hour to process our own thoughts and feelings?
We are not immune from these events affecting us. As therapists, it is imperative to find effective ways to managing our own feelings. We recommend coping strategies to clients, and now is the time do it for ourselves. Below are a few strategies to help cope with your own feelings:
1. Meditation: Meditation has shown to be effective in reducing stress, depression and anxiety, and improve concentration. There are several mediation apps that can assist with your mediation journey.
2. Exercise: Exercise plays an important role in the quality of mental health. Exercising can produce endorphins that can boost mood. It also helps in reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, improve sleep and cognitive functioning.
3. Engage in a hobby: Having a hobby is a great way to practice self-care. Hobbies can range from gardening to crafting. Engaging in an activity helps relieve stress and anxiety by allowing for refocus of your attention and energy onto something more positive.
4. Talk with a colleague: Receiving support from other therapists can be helpful. This allows for venting as well hearing an alternative perspective. Also, colleagues can offer suggestions about what might be beneficial.
5. Seek personal therapy: If you’re struggling to manage your feelings and/or your ability to be present for clients is affected, personal therapy might be beneficial. There are therapists who specialize in working with therapist.
These strategies are just a few ways to practice self-care during these difficult times. In addition to these strategies, taking mental health days or breaks allows for opportunities to have space from overwhelming feelings and to engage in self-care.
Remembering that we too can be affected by these events. The first step is being self-aware which allows for you to put some of these strategies into action. Remember we can’t help clients heal if we don’t heal ourselves.
Below are some links if you are seeking therapy: