Topic 2: Self-Care and Professional Development {by 6/6}

Based on the readings due this week consider the following two discussion points:  (1) What are some of your concerns for self-care and burnout when it comes to working in the mental health filed (e.g., What might/does get you stressed? Do you have any effective ways to deal with such stress?)?  (2) Your professional development and personal growth does not end once you graduate.  What are your thoughts about the best way you can assure that you are continually developing and maintaining your counseling competency.  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 6/6.  Post your two replies no later than 6/8.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Matthew Collin
    Jun 03, 2019 @ 12:26:27

    (1)One thing I am very concerned about in regards to burn-out as a mental health counselor is being taken advantage of as an up-and-coming therapist. I feel some organizations try to stretch a new therapist thin and demand a lot from them. I’ve seen it happen at my practicum/internship placements. The reason I am so worried about this is because I have a hard time saying “no”. I feel the pressure is on – especially when you get into a new job. First impressions mean everything, and sometimes I take on too much responsibility to make a good first impression. The trouble is, this becomes exhausting and those expectations and responsibilities become something that you must uphold throughout your time at a job. If you start to stray away from those added responsibilities (even though they originally were not expected of you) you may appear to be lacking in performance. I feel I have a hard time determining the amount of stuff I can handle before I say “no”. This is what I’m most worried about.
    Another worry I have about becoming burnt-out is that I do not think I have is effective ways at preventing it. Through the last couple of years since moving to an area I do not know well (and frankly hate), I have strayed away from things that I used to like to do. This includes taking long walks, having my dog, and having money to treat myself to something I may enjoy. I have wanted to try new things but lack the funds in which to attempt those things. I used to play video games, but I recently lack interest in them now. I don’t know if my interests are changing, or I simply am becoming a little depressed. I do think it’s my inability to go out and try new things that is holding me back. I hope when I get a “big boy job” as my sarcastic mother likes to call it, I’ll be able to afford being able to take a week off, or even moving to a place in which I feel safe and comfortable. This is an area that I desperately need to work on in order to prevent burnout.

    (2) I think the best way to keep up my competency as a therapist is A.) always be supervised, or always continue to talk to peers about different ways to help a client when my methods are no longer working. I think it’s important to be humble as a therapist and know when there are areas of practice and expertise that you do not possess. B.) Once I graduate and no longer have access to the online library research database, it will become harder to access up-to-date research that isn’t misrepresented in a New York Times piece. I hope the organization I work at has some access to research and treatment manuals that are empirically proven to work for my clients presenting problem(s). If I eventually want to have private practice as an option, I will need to figure out some way to continue to be supervised and gain research experience. Since I do not see private practice in my future, this is something I have though very little about.

    Reply

    • Louis D'Angelo
      Jun 06, 2019 @ 17:11:51

      Hey Matt,

      I relate to your concerns in boundaries with your agency and specifically clinicians receiving rather large and unmanageable case loads. Like you, I had seen overbearing caseloads effect several clinicians at my placement. When finishing internship and having the last few group supervisions, some program changes were being discussed and it was mentioned that while RCs (residential counselors on the floor of the milieu) had a ratio of 1 RC for every 3 or 5 clients on census, there was no ratio of clients to clinicians AKA caseload, and there was no set minimum or maximum clients a clinician would take. I believe this was consistent all the way up to BSAS the bureau of substance use. So boundaries and saying “no” here for clinicians is so increasingly important especially if there are no specific policy on overbearing caseloads at your agency.

      Reply

    • Aleksa Golloshi
      Jun 19, 2019 @ 08:21:05

      Hi Matt,

      I really like how you discussed an honest topic, regarding being taken advantage of as a new therapist. I also have a difficult time saying no and gauging how many responsibilities I can juggle without feeling overwhelmed or being irritated. I think it’s great that you’re aware of this though, so that hopefully you can recognize when it happens and you’ll be a bit more likely to not agree to take on the new task. As you said, first impressions are crucial and so this makes it really hard to find a line between making a good impression with taking on responsibilities and maintaining your sanity.

      Reply

  2. Teresa DiTommaso
    Jun 05, 2019 @ 21:52:34

    1. One of my major concerns about for self-care and burnout is the expectations of my place of employment and how they expect me to deal with burnout. If my ideals do not match with my place of employment, it will be difficult to do my job well. As stated in the chapter, there are certain things that you can look for in a job and determine from there if you want to work there, or, if you already do work there, you can change jobs. However, since becoming licensed as soon as possible is the goal for me, l believe that my first job after officially completing my degree with be the one I am with until I am licensed. Also, there may not be a plethora of options depending on the area I end up working after graduation. I have learned throughout internship, from a particular incident with a former client, that in some cases I needed a day off to collect myself after a troubling event occurred. It affected me very deeply. I was fortunate to have great co-workers, supervisors, and classmates that helped me through that time and understood my reaction and my need to take a day off. However, I question whether my placement would have felt the same way if I was an employee. I am self-aware of what I need when I get stressed, and sometimes that is taking time away from the issue. My fear is that my place of work will see that as an unacceptable practice, deem me as a weak, inexperienced therapist and just tell me “you’ll get hardened by it soon enough.” I do not want to become depersonalized, and me taking my time away is how I will do that. However, my fear still remains that I will not be allowed that choice.
    2. In terms of continuing my personal and professional development after graduation, one of the most important aspects for me is to be able to have access to the newest materials and research. That is when I apply for a job, my plan is to negotiate getting a subscription to at least one counseling journal for me to stay up-to-date on the most evidence-based treatments. I also love reading books from the psychology section in Barnes and Noble or other bookstores. Don’t worry; I’m not talking about the self-help books written by the fruitloops, I’m talking about legitimate books written by individuals in our field addressing certain issues. Next on my list is “With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in the Age of Denial” by Kathryn Mannix (CBT therapist among other things). Reading is one of my ways that I manage my stress, so using reading as an affordable and enjoyable choice for personal and professional development is one of my more realistic goals about continuing to develop as a counselor.

    Reply

    • Louis D'Angelo
      Jun 06, 2019 @ 17:20:40

      Hi Teresa,

      I think that finding an academic psychology journal through your work is a fantastic idea. I think it is incredibly smart to use that tool for multiple reasons. First of course to expand your knowledge and skills sets in counselling. Second is that you do enjoy reading and this tool for increasing your education is also congruent with your interest and skills sets. Lastly you say it also helps with your self care and recreational time! It’s like hitting 3 important aspects of growth and self care after graduation with one intervention!

      Reply

    • Allexys Burbo
      Jun 08, 2019 @ 09:49:56

      Teresa,
      I connect with your concerns regarding self-care. What a great thing it is that you have identified the mechanism for care that works best for you. The ability to be self-aware, to notice triggers and take the initiative to practice what will work in the best interest for your long-term health, is a great skill to develop especially in the beginning stages of your career. As you expressed, finding an employer whose values and ideals about the maintenance of its employees matches your own is an important aspect. As we branch out into our prospective careers, it is imperative that we not only implement the skills and techniques that will benefit our clients, but that we also practice this for ourselves. It makes me nervous in the same ways you expressed that I will be placed in a setting that is not flexible in understanding the needs of its employees. In your case, it is great that you have established a strategy for ensuring your own emotional and psychological needs are met in the workplace. I imagine stress and burnout would soon follow an individual in the type of setting that would not be as considerate of the health needs of its employees. In my own experience, I wish to better understand and implement a method to help manage my stress in the work setting and too hope that this – whatever the strategy is – would not negatively affect my employer’s perception of me as a competent and sound professional.

      Reply

    • Aleksa Golloshi
      Jun 19, 2019 @ 08:22:16

      Hey Teresa,

      I think it’s super important and so beneficial that you’ve already discovered what works well for you in times of distress. I can understand your concerns of the agency that you end of working for not supporting you when you need a personal day. I also relate to your statement of not wanting to become depersonalized. I think what’s important in this field is our compassion and our drive to help our clients. If we become depersonalized then I feel as if we’ll be ineffectively providing services. I’m hopeful that the agencies we work for will be understanding if we need a personal day, since they’re aware of the work that we do. Regardless, I can understand this concern of yours, as it’s super important for our own mental health.

      Reply

  3. Stephanie Mourad
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 13:01:04

    1. I think everyone will experience concerns for self-care and burnout when it comes to any type of job or career. Specifically in our career, we have to consider the emotional side of burnout and making sure that we are not over-exhausting ourselves. We have to keep in mind our case loads and how much we can handle in a day or week as well as keep in mind all the paperwork we need to accomplish. I think that when we are burnt out, it can effect the way we conduct therapy with our clients. If we are emotionally or physically exhausted then that can effect the effort we put in a session and helping our client. Things that get me stressed out in this field are making sure that all of my paperwork is completed on time and making sure my clients are benefiting from my skills. There is nothing that worries me more than thinking that my client is not improving from interventions that I implement. This is why I like to ask my clients if things are working for them and if things are not working. I think as therapists in this field we need to make sure that self-care is a goal each week so that we can release any stress and reflect on the past week.
    I have learned over the years how to manage my stress when it comes to things like school, internship, and work. What works for me may not work for other people and I believe everyone handles stress differently. There are multiple ways that I like to handle stress. My number one go to way is to meditate and reflect. I am big on putting on some meditation music and just relaxing. I like to reflect on what is making me stressed out and whether or not it is worth feeling this way. Other mindfulness activities that help me with stress is doing yoga or going for a walk.
    2. I think the best way to ensure that I maintain my counseling competency is to seek guidance and support from my supervisor. Supervisors are there to help you with clients and give you feedback on your work. If you doubt your skills or need help with a concept then confiding in your supervisor would be beneficial. Other ways to ensure is to seek out support from your colleagues. Again, if you have a question or need feedback, getting that from your colleagues might help. Other ways is to continue training after graduation. I know that Assumption College has plenty of workshops that they offer and going to workshops, whether it be at Assumption or some other place would help build your skills and help maintain counseling competency. These workshops can help you with learning more about different disorders and also help you learn how to implement treatments and interventions for those clients.

    Reply

    • Teresa DiTommaso
      Jun 07, 2019 @ 13:19:19

      Hey Steph,

      I love that you brought up the stress we may feel if our clients are not benefiting by the interventions we are needing in therapy. I think back to one of the major components we talked about yesterday in class about lack of accomplishment as a part of burnout. I think one of the things we are struggle with as beginning therapists is our sense of competency and confidence and how that is so strongly tied to the success or failure of our clients. This is an important part of burnout that I didn’t think of prior to your post, so thank you for bringing up such a good point!

      Reply

    • Matthew Collin
      Jun 08, 2019 @ 23:13:56

      Hi Stephanie,
      I like what you said about stress – when it comes to understanding it as a graduate student. I feel that the internship was the dry run of us spending our whole lives figuring out if this is truly what we want to do. It also was a way of knowing if we can balance not only school and internship, but a job if we also have to do that, and our personal lives on top of that. It’s not easy, but I think if we made it through our internship, we can make it through our upcoming career.

      Reply

  4. Allexys Burbo
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 16:50:08

    A major concern of mine regarding self-care and burnout is that I habitually exhibit poor time-management skills. My affinity for procrastinating has left me feeling stressed more often than I’d like to admit and I am concerned that this will carry into my career in the profession. As I learned through my internship experience, paperwork is essential and deadlines time sensitive. In my own experience, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the various tasks that must be accomplished outside of the therapeutic exchange – and this is the portion that I continuously struggle to maintain. Additionally, I am worried that I could easily be subject to burnout as I have found it difficult to compartmentalize the experiences of others. While the capacity to demonstrate empathy for our clients is essential for the therapeutic relationship it is a quality that, if not managed effectively, could be a threat to my own emotional health. For this reason, over the course of the past year, I have learned the art of “checking-in” on my own thoughts and emotions and continually make an effort to integrate mindfulness and yoga into my daily routine.

    While most of our academic careers will end with the conclusion of this program, opportunities to learn and grow within the field will continue to be a priority – if only to maintain a semblance of competence as developing counselors. For this reason, it will be particularly important that we seek offerings for additional trainings throughout the course of our careers. By joining various organizations within the mental health profession, seeking opportunities for professional development through employers, and collaborating with other professionals, we might be presented with opportunities to broaden the scope of our knowledge. Learning through the perspective of other disciplines (i.e., adjustment counseling, guidance counseling, etc.), for instance, may also help us gain further insight as developing mental health counselors. For this reason, it is valuable to consider an open mind about what can be explored as we emerge as professionals in practice. Furthermore, staying updated on the literature – especially when working with particular populations and disorders – will help in the maintenance and development of our knowledge. Considering the mental health field’s push toward empirically supported interventions (and our own drive to integrate such treatments as CBT gurus), it is of particular importance that we are able to provide our clients with the most effective treatments that are within our scope and practice. In this instance, it is imperative that as developing professionals we maintain a desire to explore the literature.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Mourad
      Jun 07, 2019 @ 14:46:00

      Hey Big Tuna,
      I think time management is a very important skill to have. During my first couple of weeks of practicum/internship, I struggle with paperwork and passing things in on time. Everything would get piled up. One of the best ways that helped me get caught up on paperwork is to do my progress notes right after my session. Over time the notes got easier for me to complete and I would take no more than 10-15 minutes to get them done. I think having that window in between clients is very important so that we don’t burnout with all this paperwork. I also agree with the fact that although we are done with the program, we will have opportunities to grow and learn more. Our training does not end when we graduate but rather we have plenty of opportunities to learn from new co-workers, supervisors, or training programs. I think as therapists, it is our duty to learn new techniques/skills/interventions and attend training when the opportunity arises.

      Reply

    • Matthew Lubomirski
      Jun 07, 2019 @ 22:48:29

      Hey Allexys,

      It is no secret that time management is an issue we both share. Despite how crucial it is for some, like us, it can be an incredibly difficult skill to master. As I mentioned in class I think making lists can be an effective way to, at the very least, keep track of what is needed to be done. Another strategy I have considered for myself is to number things to assign priority to them, so I can visualize where I should be putting my energy when I have it. While it may certainly be a reasonable concern I have faith everyone of us will be able to manage our time effectively. Maybe not perfectly, but well enough so our paperwork is done and out bosses are happy.

      Reply

  5. Louis D'Angelo
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 16:54:37

    1. Oh yeah, burnout.. Going into the education, burn out wasn’t a thing discussed until grad school. I knew that therapists and counselors alike have a tolling job and it effects them greatly, yet now defining it as “burn out” holds high concern for this occurring to counselors and seeing a trickle of effects down to the clients they see, yet it also hold this stigma in my head based on the name when I learned of it. “burn out” seems tie based, a name as if we are all candles that are being burnt at both ends and we will eventual burn out. My mind wondered too how long this may last? the feelings of exhaustion, cynicism, and low satisfaction in the work. If we get there, how long do we stay there? Does it have a lasting cynical affect on our perspectives? Do we need to make a new wick to continue or once we burnt out completely can we ever recover?
    Yes my main concerns with burn out are on the increased denationalization and cynicism on the work we do due to a lack of reward, satisfaction, and emotional stress. But further, I am worried about how long these feelings may last and what long term damage in perspective it could have on a career. I’ve learned its about renewing yourself, taking steps back, and giving yourself back some things you have been deprived of. renewing your candle so that it doesn’t burn out if you will. For me, its seeing my nieces for a day, going on vacations with my boyfriend, or just simply taking a minute to remind myself of how much I’ve does and my accompaniments when I’m getting stagnant, down, or overly stressed on past events. Self care and self compassion are key yes, taking time away from work and personal stress to do what you would do normally without all life stress and putting yourself first for a time. I believe the hardest part of self care is the practical time it may take especially with work and school requirements a well as potential unwillingness to self empathize because of empathy exhaustion. Additionally, vicarious trauma is the aspect that I am worried about. This more long term cynical shift in our work perspectives due to the multifaceted development and maintenance of burn out. This is why awareness above all, especially in the beginning as students, is crucially important in preventing burn out and vicarious trauma. In trying to be more aware of my self compassion, I have experienced some of these symptoms of burn out like a period of emotional exhaustion and I find it almost apprehensive and stigmatizing if any of us in our education admit to feelings of denationalization or empathy exhaustion this early in our education due do potential competency core beliefs or the fear of being judged in not being able to handle the work, even in education. I am happy that so many courses in this particular program has shied on this idea of burnout to increase this needed awareness of in in our education.
    2. We are all going to be relived when our education is done academically, yet we all understand that our education as counselors does not stop just because our degrees are FINALLY.. after years.. (OMG WE ARE NO LONGER GOING TO BE STUDENTS OR INTERNS) finishing. It’s gonna be great to breathe and decompress after the degrees are complete, yet once I do that, my education and competency will increase in a few, planned following ways. First. I am excited to expand the agencies and populations that I work with. Ending internship gives me opportunities to look for new work placements and new populations and I am excited to expose myself to new domains. This of course comes with good supervision as I work my way through LMHC hours. Additionally, after receiving a focus and expertise in CBT at Assumption, and learning new approaches and perspectives, I plan to attend some DBT training after my degree is finished. In Assumption, I have had the opportunity to learn the basics and research is effectiveness. Now I’m excited to have the time to receive some practical training in DBT and apply the skills in individual and group sessions in the career path. I have found that DBT could match my therapeutic approach while banking on some of the personality characteristics and skill qualities that I have in the clinical work.

    Reply

    • Matthew Lubomirski
      Jun 07, 2019 @ 22:37:24

      Hey Louie,

      I think you make a really great point here in regards to burnout that I certainly did not consider when thinking about the idea. It seems by this point we all have had to sit through numerous discussions regarding how burnout presents, how it happens, the effects it has and how to manage it. But I feel like I have never been presented the idea of how long it will persist if left alone. Referring back to the point in my life where I was working a lot I feel like my burnout did not really stop until I finally addressed it. Going deeper in regards to your point on growing bitterness and cynicism. I think part of that can be undone through taking care of burnout. I feel there comes a point where everyone loses their initial optimism. But after that I think its always possible to grow less bitter and cynical and return to a more realistic view on the field provided burnout is being properly taken care of.

      Reply

    • Matthew Collin
      Jun 08, 2019 @ 23:22:25

      Hey Louie,
      I think it’s great that you already have begun thinking about other things you want to learn. DBT is something we are not taught a lot about in this program, and I wish it was mentioned a little more. I think if you – as a graduate student – are already thinking of topics to learn once you leave graduate school, you will have no problem keeping up with your educational credits as a therapist.

      Reply

  6. Cassie McGrath
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 17:19:39

    1) I have a lot of thoughts about self-care and burn out. I am currently doing work that has a lot of burn out and I see it all the time with my coworkers. I think for me I worry about not taking on to much. I have really been working on saying “no” when I cannot do something. I also know that I have gotten decent at doing it in my current job because I am comfortable with the people that I work with and I know what my limits are. It has taken me two years in this job to realize how much I am capable of taking on. I definitely have some worry about figuring out my limits when I am entering a new job. It takes time to figure out what your limits are and I don’t want to find out when it is to late. I think for me, what stresses me out the most is my time management, I try really hard to make sure that all of my paperwork is in on time. But we can only control so much, sometimes emergencies happen with clients and we spend time dealing with the crisis and we lose time for our paperwork. Getting behind causes me more stress than the actual work. I know now I have a lot of visual reminders about deadlines, and due dates, as well as lists of priority items. For me I do these things to help me with the stress.
    In terms of burn-out. I worry a little less, I think if I can maintain my self-care and be sure to know my body and mind and when I need a break, I will be okay. I have to make sure that I know my own limits, because I am not helping anyone if I am not helping myself. Self-care is something that I take very seriously, so seriously that I schedule it during my week. When the weather is nice, I know that Friday’s is my no work day, I do my regular hours at my office, but the minute I leave my office the work ends, as does the school work. This is something I have been doing for the past year, it not only makes sure I am taking time for myself but also forces me to manage my remaining time better because I have to do more planning. I also have some wonderful friends that I can talk to about my stress and this has been helpful, I am learning more to tlak about the things that are causing me stress rather than saying “I’m fine, it’s fine.”

    2. In terms of professional development, I would like to continue my certification in TF-CBT and possibly continue learning so that I am able to provide training to other clinicians. I would also like to do outreach and provide training to agencies on topics such as self-care and stress management, sexual harassment, or de-escalation techniques. I think making sure that I am staying active in the topics that I am learning and teaching is the best way to stay invested in the field and invested in the work in a way other than just sitting in the office, but utilizing my clinical experience to help in training others, and as training examples for myself. On top of this, I would like to ensure that I am attending conferences and seeking additional supervision from my colleagues.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Mourad
      Jun 07, 2019 @ 15:00:31

      Hi Cassie,
      I like your point on saying “no” because now that I look back at my experience on practicum/internship, I always said yes even when I felt burnout. I think its good to say yes to new things and opportunities but when you feel like you can’t handle something, that when you say no. You will end up more stressed than you already are and it can do some damage to your mental and emotional health. We often encourage our clients to self-care and do things for themselves that will help them relax but we also need to remember to practice what we preach.

      Reply

  7. Matthew Lubomirski
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 17:42:04

    (1) I am sure I am not alone when I say that I have experienced a fair amount of burn out already back when I was taking class, held my internship, and was working full time. During that period of my life self-care was crucial and though I am not proud to say it often fell to the wayside. This experience taught me a lot about self-care. Most importantly I learned that self-care extends beyond just doing pleasurable or relaxing activities. I thought that if I filled my free time with friends and family then I would be fine. But I realized that a good portion of self-care really comes in when you dedicate time to yourself and only yourself. In some cases being around others can help you recover from burn out. But it also takes a bit from you to do so. I don’t advocate not spending time with friends or family either. Like with everything in life a delicate balance must be struck between the two to really practice good self-care.
    As I get deeper into the field I think the type of burnout I will face, will be different. Previously I was very much brunt out from simply working a lot. But in the future I expect my burnout to come from the type of work I am doing the emotional toll that comes with it, rather than the amount of work, and simple exhaustion. I expect the methods of self-care to remain very much the same to solve this issue. Ample time spent with others, and alone while doing pleasurable activities.
    For me I know having a large number of tasks can stress me out quickly, I have learned that if I create lists and time schedules I can effectively manage the stress these mounting tasks will produce. Though again referring to the change in nature of the burnout I expect to see in the future, I currently have no set strategies for dealing with it. Though perhaps I’ll get lucky and I can learn some ideas from my coworkers or supervisors.

    (2) It has been no secret since I took an interest in this field that once you enter you are expected to always keep up to date with latest in what is going on. I am sure this is not very different for many other fields. However that has not stopped me from worrying about it. For a long time I was concerned about how I could keep growing without actually being in a school setting anymore. The very idea seemed alien to me, after all I’ve been in school a majority of my life. Of course the obvious answers are there, I will continue to grow through my experience and learning from those around me. In terms of legal certification I will keep up with that through trainings. Some I may have to pay for and look for on my own, some may be covered by my job at the time, and others may be even provided or mandatory by my place of work. However my plan for continuing my professional growth mostly rests in a desire to keep reading and researching. It may seem silly but I heard in a YouTube video once that you don’t have to go to school to be educated and to learn. At the time just hearing that was eye opening. So my plan for after I graduate is to keep being educated. Maybe buy a subscription to a research publication, continue buying and reading books on new methods and treatments. Look up articles and videos online. As important as trainings and experiences will be I think for me striving to find out new things on my own will be the biggest component in maintaining my professional growth

    Reply

    • Allexys Burbo
      Jun 08, 2019 @ 11:18:29

      Matt,
      I am glad you mentioned self-care in the form of making time for family and friends. I relate to your thought that, although this time is typically intended for pleasure and relaxation, there is the risk that it may also feel obligatory. In this instance, time designated to sharing space with the people most important to us might soon lose value in being a source of stress relief. I agree that finding opportunities to be alone can be a great source of self-care and, although it might initially feel uncomfortable, saying “no” is sometimes necessary. I think it is fair to say that at some level (if being in the helping profession is any indication) most of us are nurturing and empathic by nature. Saying “no” to the people we care for the most might feel extremely unnatural and even unnerving for this reason. While skipping out on time with friends and family may bring out feelings of guilt, I would argue that our own health long-term is far more important than this temporary feeling. For this reason, saying “no,” owning what is mine and letting go of what belongs to others (emotionally), has been the greatest form of self-care I have learned to practice.

      Reply

  8. Aleksa Golloshi
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 17:56:40

    1. My main concern is not engaging in an adequate amount of self-care. Over the last two years I’ve recognized that I don’t allow myself as much free time as I probably should. I’ve worked full time for the past three years, while simultaneously being a full-time student and balancing other obligations. Therefore, it’s been difficult to find time to engage in activities that will benefit my mental well-being. There’s always been a chapter that needs to get read or an assignment that’s due, as well as issues that arise at work that need tending to, and so self-care seems to have been pushed to the side. This year however, due to being done with school and starting a job in my field, I’ve made it a goal of mine to engage in a self-care activity at least once a week. I think this is an obtainable and realistic goal, and if not I can always adjust it. During past stressful events I’ve restored to eating one of my favorite but unhealthy foods, whether it was an entire pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or a whole bag of Nacho Doritos. I’ve realized that this may not be the healthiest way to deal with stress, and so I’ve researched different activities that would be more helpful and healthy. I’ve concluded that coloring, playing with my dog, going to the gym, watching Netflix, and eating fruits will be attempted when I experience another extremely stressful day.

    In terms of burnout, I didn’t experience it during my internship and am not too sure on how I would react when facing it. I can imagine that a high-risk client or a client that requires a lot of attention would burn me out. A client that I feel isn’t making progress would most likely also make me feel burned out, especially if I feel as if I’m using beneficial interventions which they’re unresponsive to. I know that if I take on too many clients I would most likely be burned out as well, and this then may impact my ability to provide compassionate and effective therapy. Due to being a new clinician, I may find it difficult to say no to taking on new clients and I fear that if I have over 30 clients I might experience burnout.

    2. I believe I can go to workshops and continue reading studies and research articles to ensure that I am continually developing and maintaining my counseling competency. I also plan on reading books and learning from my coworkers and those around me. I really enjoy listening to people talk and collaborating with them on ideas and thoughts, therefore I’d utilize coworkers and supervisors on my quest to maintaining competency. I want to make sure that I always have current and up-to-date information that I’m sharing with my clients and so doing all these activities would be beneficial for my clients but also for my professional development. I’d also make sure I’d keep up with any updates to the DSM so that I’m aware of new criteria or new disorders.

    Reply

    • Teresa DiTommaso
      Jun 07, 2019 @ 13:26:08

      Aleksa,

      I completely hear you and understand when you say that you have sometimes turned to unhealthy eating habits in order to deal with the stress of working, doing internship, and being a full-time student. When we are stretching ourselves so thin, something is going to break unless we take time for ourselves. One of those things for me has been indulging more in unhealthy habits, such as eating junk or not exercising enough. Multiple of my co-workers stated that they experienced the exact same thing when they were in graduate school. This provided me with hope that although I may not be where I want to be in terms of physical health, there is hope that I can get back to that style of living once school is finished. I also like that you implemented self-care once a week, because it is small, realistic, and attainable (CBT hellooo). Keep it up!

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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