…so What Can You Do About It?
So therapists friends where should I begin. It is the dreaded self-care talk.
This self-care concept is dreaded because we have to keep talking about it. So many of us, our colleagues, are sadly not doing enough self-care, and are burned out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. This is why self-care is still a problem. We are not yet effective.
We all know it is necessary and important. You can probably list all the things needed for good self-care. I believe you do a very good job directing your clients to loving self-care. But yet, guys, we struggle to do this ourselves. We SUCK at self-care and because we suck at self-care we must keep talking about it. So what can you do about it?
I am not going to tell you what to do. You already know. The problem is we, me included, fail to make proper adjustments and changes to allow the time to care for ourselves. You spend all day open to hurts, anger, fears, and failures. We are a sensitive group of people. Therefore, as we journey with clients, we begin to develop feelings of fear, hurt, anger, and failure.
I recently completed and published a study on therapist self-care and I gained a lot of insight to why I think we really suck at it. Let’s have a little biology lesson. Your brain is made up of millions of pathways. These pathways carry numerous amounts of information through your brain to be neatly stored away. Let’s imagine your brain is a big room full of filing cabinets. Everything you learn, see, experience, hear, and know gets filed away here. Your brain’s ability to do this quickly and effortlessly is what makes you so successful. Now let’s imagine the brain’s pathways are a bunch of different highways, think the “mix-master” in Dallas, TX, or one of those freeway projects in your town that look like four horseshoes put together! The pathways direct the flow of traffic and more traveled roads become bigger and more accessible. Well the more you grow a filing cabinet in your brain, the bigger a pathway becomes.
Still following me here?
As you hear client stories day after day after day your pathway for all that emotional junk gets bigger. The filing cabinet for where all that information is stored gets bigger. Quickly your brain becomes full of client junk. You see this information that travels through the brain and is stored away becomes the way we see the world. This junk becomes our filter and we start to make judgments, decisions, and thoughts based on this information in the brain. We start to see the world through our client’s lenses.
Our brain’s need to make quick decisions and in order to do so it takes previously held information and applies that to situations. In other words, the brain starts to use your client’s junk to make decisions day to day. In my research, I found that despite our best efforts to avoid this, our thinking became distorted as we worked with individuals in counseling. I also found that as more thinking became distorted, we used less helpful and healthy coping skills. The more we are impacted by our client’s junk the more likely we are not be using self-care effectively.
But don’t lose hope
Although we cannot impact how we are affected by our work with clients, there are some things we can do to make sure it does not negatively impact our work, our health, and our ability to be healthy. In private practice, we can get pretty isolated and we have the power and freedom to run our own business. This further impacts the level of stress and overwhelm we experience. One of the best ways to self-care is to ask for help.
We have a lot to do to run a successful private practice and business – and it can be hard to ask for help. We have a tendency to want to do it ourselves. There is some shame in asking for help. There is also fear that asking for help may cost some money.
Here is what asking for help can do for you:
- Help you overcome stress, frustration and overwhelm
- Gives you more free time
- More time to do the things you enjoy doing
- Improve how you run your practice
- Help you grow your practice
So you say, ‘Ok, so what do I do? Where do I turn? Who do I ask for help? I can’t afford to hire a Full Time or Part Time person, I don’t have time and/or I don’t want to train someone, but I need someone who knows and understands my world.’
There is a Solution – My Solution Services
I was honestly in a place where I was feeling very overwhelmed with running my practice. I had no time, high stress, and I was spinning my wheels. I could not respond to client calls, get clients scheduled, market, network, write my blog for my website, and do effective counseling. I was exhausted.
I finally arrived at the place where I asked for help and hired Frances and the My Solution Services team. My life, my world, and my practice changed.
Frances is an Online Business Manager and a Certified Professional Coach specializing in the Mental Health industry for 12 years. When I started my coaching sessions with her, we developed a plan. I had accountability to set the plan into motion. Rather than running on the hamster wheel – I was able to start checking things off my to-do list…as DONE!
I was able to delegate tasks that overwhelmed me, like SEO, website content and building, online marketing, answering the phone, and branding my practice to Frances and her team. It was then that I was able to do great therapy, do local networking with colleagues, Doctors, and other business…and as a result…
MY PRACTICE GREW!
In less than a year I was able to hire 2 associate therapists and each month my income grows. Through coaching with Frances and other practice building coaches, I learned how to be a better and stronger private practice owner. I learned how to be a boss and how to self-care like a boss. Rather than spending my evenings stressing or working, I can spend that time enjoying my, husband, my dog Fenway and my friends and family.
I have time and energy for self-care – I get to take care of me!
Asking for help is the best way to fight burnout
Asking for help was the best thing I did for myself and my practice. It is impossible to everything on our own. We can’t be expected to be a therapist, a business owner, a marketing, a biller, a scheduler, an HR recruiter, the cleaning person, the office manager, ordering supplies and the coffee runner all on our own! It just not possible! You cannot afford NOT to get help
How can asking for and hiring the support YOU need help you self-care?
Dr. Stephanie Waitt is the owner of Texoma Specialty Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Sherman, TX. Stephanie specializes in working with women and men with eating disorders. She aims to help people find balance, peace, confidence, and happiness. In her work with people. she emphasizes the importance of self-care and encourages people that being a little selfish is a really good thing. Learn more about Dr. Stephanie and her practice at www.texomaspecialtycounseling.com.