How do you, as a therapist, deal with hearing people’s trauma and problems?
That’s a great question. I enjoy working with others and that often does involve listening to others talk about what is troubling them. I feel compassion for what my clients are going through currently and the past struggles they've had; however, I know that it is not my job to "fix" them. In fact, I can't "fix" anyone, even if I wanted to. They are their own best healer. My job is to provide a supportive and judgment-free space for them to share their experiences, worries, and trauma; to teach them strategies and techniques to help them become healthier; and to remind them the ways they can feel most connected to life, to others, and to themselves. When working with others, I focus on the positive and their strengths, and reflect that back to them. All jobs have their stresses, and as a therapist, we are trained in techniques to help others; however, the training for taking care of ourselves was lacking. I’ve taught general self-care techniques for providers. I’ve also pursued resources to help me better manage the stress specific to the job of a therapist. I use specific visualizations and then take care of myself using the same self-care techniques that I teach my clients.
· I meditate daily (even if it is only for 3 minutes).
· I stay active and move my body several times a week with walks or weight-lifting. As a working mom, I focus on activity over trying to maintain a perfect exercise routine.
· I spend time in nature when I can.
· I do my best to practice mindfulness and be present when I am with my family.
· I spend time with friends inside and outside of the field.
· I pursue hobbies that don’t have anything to do with my work.
· I sleep 7-8 hours per night (most nights).
· I say No to things that don’t fulfill me.
This self-care plan has been a work in progress, and it’s definitely not perfect, but that’s okay. It’s a self-care practice which means I’m always working on it.