Self Care for Therapists
Self care isn’t self indulgence, self care is self respect.
1. Despite professional training and education, child sexual abuse often stirs intense emotions regarding the child, the offender, and non-offending parent. The key is to recognize these emotional reactions and preventing them from interfering with professional judgment or role performance.
- Compassion fatigue is one of the most common forms of emotional fatigue and pressure that mental health professionals all over the world experience. The use of empathy in treating children going through traumatic life changes and experiences such as sexual abuse could be draining. You have to make sure you draw your boundaries in how much of it you take back home with you.
- Grounding your thoughts and doing a self-check on what’s going on in your mind and how that’s affecting you is important before you go any further with counseling the child.
- Sometimes you can feel confused, shocked and depressed hearing the stories of your clients. It’s normal to feel that way. It’s because you can feel and empathize that you can understand and help them better.
- Take some time out for yourself when you’re overwhelmed with your feelings about the child’s issues. If you feel overpowered by your reactions to the child’s struggles, take a moment or use the silence in-between the session to compose yourself.
6. It’s not always a bad thing to show your real feelings in front of a child. How you pick yourself up and proceed might sometimes be an example for them to try the same.
- Talking to colleagues usually helps take some stress out. When you share the burden that’s emotionally taking up all your brain space with someone who understands the drill and has been in your position at some point helps regain rationality and reduce distress.
- Update yourself on changing laws and ethical guidelines. Staying on top of new changes helps you feel updated and on power with what’s going on around you and also helps you feel you’re in control.
- “The best way to prevent personal reactions from undermining the quality of professional work is to be aware of their existence.”(Faller, 1993) Once you’re aware of what you are feeling, making sense of it and working with it will help you take care of yourself better.
- You have your own needs and desires. Make time for your other hobbies and passions. Whatever it may be, painting, writing, sport, cooking etc. Take time out for these because it helps you grow as a person and in turn nurtures you even more in building your resistance to the countertransference you will come across while working with your clients.
Understanding one’s own motives for working with abused children is a vital part of knowing yourself. Knowing yourself makes it far easier to be honest and straightforward with children. Source: http://www.aidstar-one.com/sites/default/files/Brakarsh_HSAC.pdf