Essential Self-Care

Mental health clinicians are essential during this time of fear, uncertainty, and tragedy.

Therapists are in high demand, but in short supply–there are therapists who cannot find a therapist and we are the network! Being in high demand means there are fewer breaks between clients, more crisis interventions, and new patients on wait lists only getting worse. These are the challenges of being in an essential profession at this time, but these challenges also make this an incredible time to be a trained clinician. You will learn more because you will be outside of your comfort zone more often, will treat more acute situations, and will work with clients who are more challenged than ever. However, one of my clinical supervisors once said to me,

“The most important person to survive in the therapy room is you!”

That statement slapped me with a dose of reality! Being in my first year as a therapist, I thought the most important person to survive was my patient! What did she mean?

What I came to understand and what I have continued to see unfold in my 15 years of practice, is that clinicians must put great effort towards protecting our energy, ability to be present, and master the skill of riding the wave of our emotions and experiences. If we do not survive, we will no longer be able to help those in need and that would be the greatest tragedy of all.

Skilled therapists use their minds, bodies, and hearts to engage and support their clients. It is similar to when rivers meet the ocean. Those intersections of water are full of energy and strength. In order for a clinician to be centered and open, with our intersections functioning fully, we need enough rest, nourishment, and investment. This is incredibly hard to achieve when you are exhausted, have no reprieve, and no support or encouragement.

Here are the most important things to consider to build a life full of rest, nourishment, and investment:

  1. Rest: We only have 24 hours in the day, no more and no less. We need to dedicate about a third of that time to rest, a third to work, and the other third to replenishment–our social lives, families, and self-care. Rest and replenishment are what feed our work. If we continue to borrow time from rest or replenishment for work, we will eventually feel an imbalance. This will negatively impact our work and all other parts of ourselves.
  2. Nourishment: We must focus on what nourishes us. What feeds your mind, soul, and body? Watching television, being on your computer, or scrolling social media does not provide as much nourishment as going for a walk, practicing mindfulness, journaling, crafting, or cooking. There is something about actively engaging your mind, soul, and body that truly nourishes us.
  3. Investment: Investing in growth and development is important to your long term success and happiness in your profession. Finding training, clinical supervision, technology, programs, etc, that interest you will help you advance your career and skills and keep you fresh and engaged with the work you love. For instance, do you know what your three professional priorities are each year? What will you focus your growth on: evidence based treatment, training, case conceptualization, efficient billing, efficient note taking, crisis intervention training, etc. How do you want to make the most of your career growth?

Here at Clinician Development Collective we offer Clinical Supervision, Consultation, and Therapy for the Therapist. We help clinicians at any stage of their development and ensure that they have clinical supervision towards licensure, case and program consultation, and for deeper development and support Therapy for the Therapist.

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