Topic 3: Self-Care & Professional Development {6/11}

[Self-Care] – Based on the reading due this week consider the following discussion point: What are some of your concerns for self-care/burnout when it comes to working with clients – What might/does get you stressed? Do you have any effective ways to deal with such stress?

 

[Professional Development] – Based on the reading due this week consider the following discussion point: 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 6/11.  Post your two replies no later than 6/13.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

40 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia Hennessy
    Jun 05, 2020 @ 14:32:44

    As clinicians, we recognize the impact self-care has on the lives of clients, and we should, therefore, implement it ourselves. Even though I am eager to work with clients in a field I am passionate about, my experiences thus far are only a fraction of the caseload I expect to have as a fulltime clinician. I want to ensure my preparedness for each client, with tailored treatment interventions, while keeping up on the mountains of forthcoming paperwork without over exhausting myself. As I have watched some clinician’s work (especially those clinicians with an exceedingly high caseload) I can only ponder when they have the time to prep for sessions, complete progress notes, and keep up to date with various assessments throughout the treatment process. I recognize that of the characteristics that induce burnout I have perfectionistic tendencies, which I am actively mindful of. I found it helpful to look at characteristics are and are not acceptable or “come with the package” in terms of agency-induced factors leading to burnout. Many of these factors relate to the organizational qualities I plan to consider when I look for a post-degree job. I will consider the relationship between coworkers and their supervisors in terms of support and cohesion as they can induce unnecessary burnout. I also recognize that working for an agency where you do not have room to progress forward or repeatedly encounter the same high needs clients can influence burnout. To prevent burnout, I hope to work with a supervisor that pushes me out of my comfort zone while listening and acknowledging when I have taken on enough tasks.
    When dealing with stress, assessing how I can maintain awareness and monitor my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors is critical. Everyone will encounter stress but to avoid “pushing through” what can be avoided stress utilizing self-care is essential. I envy some of the members in my cohort that can run off 4-5 hours of sleep. I have noticed that as I get older, I need a solid of eight to nine hours of sleep, or I will not be as productive. Additionally, I found I resonate with the piece in the chapter about the reasons for becoming a mental health counselor in the first place. While protecting the rights of confidentiality, I have begun saving sentiments my clients have shared through my internship experience. Keeping a collection of the sentiments people have shared will be useful to look back on when I am experiencing burnout in the future.

    Concerning professional development, I often reflect on the practice what you preach viewpoint. I consider previous classes with Dr. Doerfler and Dr. V where we had to practice the interventions we intend to use with clients. Having a deeper motivation, appreciation, and understanding of the work it takes on behalf of our clients allows for more reflection on what adjustments can be in treatment. To continue enhancing my professional development postgraduation or even licensure, I will attend training and conferences that are inside my wheelhouse and those that open my eyes to practices I am not familiar with but are evidenced-based. While sitting in on sessions, with the consent of the client, may seem like a behavior performed by entry-level positions or experience, I think this can continue to keep clinicians open-minded rather than being in a rut of cycled through interventions. Observing the experts or other counselors can expand the lens on what can be effective with various treatment populations. Furthermore, I have learned that I can enhance my clinical formulation writing as I am still learning. Working for an agency with a supervisor who is willing to work with their staff and share knowledge will be a critical aspect of advancing my professional development.

    Reply

  2. Lilianne Elicier
    Jun 06, 2020 @ 12:09:46

    Patricia,

    I can relate to running on a little bit of sleep as my life a roller coaster right now and I feel like I have to push through everyday. I hope to balance out this aspect in my own personal life and improve on getting more hours of sleep myself in the future. I also have saved sentiments of non monetary value that my clients have give me throughout internship to prevent burnout and to have fond memories. I think if we focus on our own self-care every now and then this will help us prevent burnout. My supervisor has told me that even taking 10 minutes out of your day to take a bubble bath or take a walk ect., is something that will bring down your stress levels and provide some joy to us as we are doing something we enjoy. Working in this field it can get stressing and we tend to burn out a lot quicker so as you mention having that awareness of our own thoughts and behaviors is a crucial factor.

    Reply

  3. Lilianne Elicier
    Jun 06, 2020 @ 13:23:46

    My own concerns for self-care/burnout when working with clients is feeling like I am dragging myself to work every morning(starting to dread just going into work first thing when I open my eyes) and a decline in me feeling empathy towards my clients. The second one is a big concern for me because as a person in general I am very empathic and find myself getting very involved with my own emotions, especially working with kids and people who have trauma histories. I find myself ruminating on these client’s past and feeling very sad for them, wishing their circumstances were different. Once I start to feel “numb” to a situation I would normally feeling empathic too is a sign for me that I am burning out and need to make some changes. What makes me feel stress is not having enough time to do my notes before the end of the day. I am a very organized person and I do not like to leave work leaving things undone just because this is also the best time for me to remember more details from the sessions fresh. I feel very stressed only have 15 minutes between clients to do notes but I manage. Having clients booked back to back on most day is also stressful for me and that’s not even imagining having a full case load. My ways of dealing with these stressors is to plan out my schedule where instead of seeing back to back clients I take an hour in the day to work on paperwork and if I need to catch up on any notes for any reason do it then as well. Another way I deal with stress is to try and take a quick 10 minute walk at least in between every two clients( these are strategies I was using while at internship). To prevent burnout I would work on my own self-care such as making sure I do not over book myself and over work myself every week and only work the designated hours I agreed upon. I sometimes found myself working later than I needed to be to make sure I got everything done for my clients. I need to remember to prioritize my own self-care needs if not I will be no help to anyone else.

    The best way to assure that I am continually developing and maintaining my counseling competency is by attending workshops that are in my scope of practice, gathering as much knowledge as I can from different professional sources such as co works, my supervisor and professors is also a good way to get different points of views about treatment interventions and options. Another way to continue developing my counseling competencies can be by taking continuing education courses that are required for licensing and also attending conferences and even volunteering which can be a way to master skills I haven’t yet in my field of training. Trainings that I can attend can include taking a class, spending time with a mentor to observe how others handle conflict or challenges, or mentoring someone else who might be “new” to the field can all give me experience to ensure that I am developing and maintaining my counseling competency according to standards.

    Reply

    • James Antonellis
      Jun 08, 2020 @ 11:23:06

      Lilly,

      I always forget about that feeling of numbness, whether its because Ive become good at convincing myself that I am okay or because I’ve bought into the lie “its okay to be numb to the situation, that means you’re just used to it”. I’ve been told that one of the best ways to develop yourself professionally, as well as take care of yourself, is to find a workshop or training that is out of state. I clinician I worked with was once telling me that the best thing she ever did was attend a seminar in South Carolina, then meet her husband in Myrtle Beach for a vacation.

      Reply

    • Julia Irving
      Jun 08, 2020 @ 13:59:09

      Lily,
      I also become stressed when I did not have enough time to complete my notes in the same day. I preferred to do my notes when all the sessions were fresh in my head. If I had to wait until the next day I would notice that my notes would not be as detailed. Having back to back clients was also a stressor for me as well. Taking a walk also helped me to take some time for myself and refresh before my next client. Prioritizing our self care is super important for us to work on.

      Reply

    • Maria
      Jun 13, 2020 @ 20:35:30

      Hello Lily,
      I totally agree with you that a fear is that we will feel drained or dread when going into work everyday. I also totally agree that my own personal fear would be declining in empathy or patience with my clients. I know we have all had those days during practicum and internship where we had bad days and had a hard time putting a smile on and working with a client. As Dr. V stated, life continues to happen even when we stop school and we have to learn to keep going if life gets crazy. I also am very empathic and get involved with my emotions which is something I need to look out for, but I do think that makes us even better clinicians. Many of my clients had felt open and unafraid to speak with me and let all their emotions out because they felt safe. I would NEVER want to put my clients at risk and make them feel unsafe. I also agree that scheduling and organizing ourselves will be extremely beneficial as we go forward. I also think that self-care will be something we need to focus on and improve on. I also agree that continuing education will be a major component of continuing our skills!

      Reply

    • Chris
      Jun 13, 2020 @ 21:35:29

      Hey Lili,

      I am also very familiar with that feeling of dread, it definitely makes going to work harder the longer I think it. I also agree that losing empathy is a noticeable sign because it is so important to our profession. I try not to think what if they’re past situation was better, but what can I do to help their situation improve now. I remember seeing how stressed you were at times during internship, but I’m glad scheduling and planning breaks is helping you stay organized and get things done. I wish we talked about going on walks in between clients though! I did the same often. I think that the workshops our supervisor showed us are definitely a good way to continue education. I didn’t consider how mentoring someone else directly could also teach us, but you’re right for sure that teaching can help our own development.

      Reply

  4. Julia Irving
    Jun 07, 2020 @ 14:11:40

    As stated in the chapter, I am one of those counselors that does not always practice what I preach when it comes to self-care. Especially during internship, I had little time for myself between school, work, and internship that I did not pause very often to check in with myself. When I started to feel very fatigued, irritated, and unmotivated was when I realized I needed to practice what I preached to my clients and take some time for myself. I realized that I had become good at ‘putting on a face’ in session but that by the end of the day I was very drained. I took steps to work on myself when this happened; I realized that even giving myself an hour of what I wanted to do was enough to get my head straight. Saying ‘no’ has always been a problem of mine and I tend to take on more then I can handle at times. I have been working on this for a little bit now but still find myself bending over backwards for others and needing to take some time for myself. When I become overwhelmed I also become stressed; work and internship were two different ball games when it came to becoming overwhelmed. At internship, what would become overwhelming at times is the back to back clients and notes that followed each session. To deal with this, I would take quick walks in between clients to relax my mind and prepare for the next client. What was hard though was when I would have a tough session and only have fifteen minutes to get my head in the right space for my next client. At work, what is overwhelming is the setting itself. Clients can knock on the door whenever and I have to make myself readily available to what they need. I find myself exhausted most times at the end of a work shift.

    One thing that has been helping me deal with stress is working out. Now that my schedule has calmed down post internship I have had time to get back into exercise. I have noticed an improvement in my wellbeing and I make sure to workout at least 5 five times a week. Even if I dread the thought of a workout or if I am tired, I still try to fit it in because I feel so much better after it. Also as stated before I am working on saying ‘no.’ When I notice myself fatiguing, I am trying to learn to take time for myself, whether that be watching a show, reading a book not related to school work, or going for a run. I have noticed a change in my wellbeing when I take time for myself.

    Looking at professional growth, I think it is very important to continue working on the counseling skills learned in graduate school and continue developing these skills post grad. I plan to continue my education by doing trainings and developing my skills further. I also had a great supervisor who supported me and challenged me through internship; I will want to have a supervisor post grad who also does this. I will also continue to work on my own insecurities and build up my confidence in my counseling skills.

    Reply

    • Lilianne Elicier
      Jun 07, 2020 @ 18:11:25

      Julia,

      I agree when you have a busy routine going on you just have to put on a face and push forward. Most of the time I didn’t notice I was getting burned out until it was too late. I also need to follow what I preach to my clients. I also have a problem saying no to people and that leads to me taking on more than I can handle most of the times. I have always been “too nice” and need to advocate my own needs, so it’s comforting to relate to someone who experiences this as well. I would also take walks between sessions when I could to just relax and take some breaths and found that this helped.

      Reply

    • James Antonellis
      Jun 08, 2020 @ 11:10:02

      Julia,

      Saying ‘no’ can honestly be one of the hardest, but sometimes most rewarding, things we can do. Most of us are drawn to this field because we have massive hearts and just want to do what we can to help someone else, and when we have to tell someone, especially a client, ‘no’ its hard, like swimming against a current. It can also be really hard when we have to tell our boss ‘no’ because s/he is our supervisor, and for me at least, there is always the question of retaliation in the back of my mind.

      Reply

    • Danielle Nobitz
      Jun 09, 2020 @ 17:34:25

      Hi Julia,

      I relate to you, and also had a really hard time balancing school, and internship as well as self-care. I often pushed self-care to the back burner and was constantly worried about things that were due and getting everything done on time.
      I can relate to the feelings of fatigue, irritation, and having to put on a face when you started to feel burnt out. These feelings are the feelings I had during my job, not so much my internship, however I felt the same way where at the end of the day, I was drained. After reading this chapter and the replies in this discussion board it definitely normalized how I felt, and it made me realize it happens a lot to those who are just starting in the field! I was also dealing with very intense mental disorders, and traumatic experiences each day. It’s so important for us to acknowledge that we’re feeling this way, monitor our behaviors, and make sure we are getting enough sleep, a healthy diet, and socializing outside of work. Self care is so important it’s something that I need to practice what I preach as well. It’s so easy to put yourself on the back burner, because that’s the nature of our personalities. We want to help people before ourselves most of the time because we are compassionate and empathetic people, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this field. It’s really important to recognize you need to take care of yourself as well in order to help others! That’s something I need to remind myself as well.

      Reply

  5. James Antonellis
    Jun 08, 2020 @ 11:04:50

    When it comes to self-care, I (and I suspect a good chunk of us) struggle to at it. I was fortunate during internship to have a supervisor who has known me for a long time, and was well aware that I am the type of person who needs to be told to leave something till the next day and go home or to not continue working while I am eating lunch. But despite the importance of self care and preventing burn out, it sometimes seems to me that we are rewarded for pushing through the burnout and “working harder to get the job done”, and that when we have to pull our imaginary “e-brake” and take time for ourselves that there is some sort of penalty or looked down upon in secret. No one will come out that it is bad that someone needs time for self-care, but I’ve seen people’s supervisors come out and praising the person going in 10 different directions and surviving off of protein bars and coffee; essentially reinforcing the behavior(s) that we are trying to point out are unhealthy.

    I have definitely had my run-ins with burnout. Not during my internship/practicum as my supervisors genuinely believed in the importance of self-care, but it was mostly with work. The then assistant program director, really struggled to understand that I was trying to balance work and school, and could not grasp that in reality I only had one day a week to take time for myself. He would always be telling me that I should pick-up extra shifts because no one really needed three days off; but between work and school, it was mostly one day a week I had to myself. That whole experience of struggling with burnout but having to appear fine, made me into a better actor, I have become really good at masking my true emotions, sometimes to the point I genuinely believe I am okay, when if I were to take a step-back and look at myself, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence (not exercising, eating fast-food, extra trips to Starbucks for trenta (their extra large) coffees) that I’m not okay. When it comes to making sure I’m taking care of myself, I have to keep a check-list of things that I want to accomplish that day and set reminders on my phone to help me accomplish those things.

    When it comes to professional development, the best thing for me, outside of quality supervision, is attending meaningful workshops and conferences. Im sure by this point we have all met someone who has gone to a workshop because they needed the CEU, and I have no doubt that will find myself having to do that every now and then. I’ve also seen how attending a meaningful workshop can do wonders for someone and reinvigorate them.

    Reply

    • Julia Irving
      Jun 08, 2020 @ 14:04:41

      James,
      I also felt my job was burning me out more. Trying to balance work, school, and internship has not been an easy task. I also have mastered putting on the mask and appearing fine when I am burning out and fatiguing. I also ignored the signs that were screaming right in my face such as not exercising, eating fast food, getting horrible sleep, and drinking excessive amounts of coffee (Although i think i will always be drinking excessive amounts of coffee). Now that I am taking better care of myself, I notice all the evidence that I was ignoring before. I like the idea of creating a check list to make sure that self care is fit into our busy schedules.

      Reply

    • Lilianne Elicier
      Jun 08, 2020 @ 23:40:16

      James,
      I think as you mentioned we all struggle a little with burnout. I myself struggle with it at work as well. I also have my supervisor who is constantly asking myself and other workers to pick up extra shifts because they are so short staffed (the joys of working inpatient and trying to fill as many beds as possible). I have also struggled saying no to this and have ended up working Sundays and days during the week that have equaled me barely getting any sleep, balancing home life and school. Sometimes I feel like I’m on auto pilot and can’t even remember what i drank or ate for lunch (did I even eat lunch, who knows ). It’s definitely something I have thought about and came to the solution that I don’t want to be like my boss who works more than 70 hours a week (no lie) but you know what that means she’s barely ever home to see her family and I don’t want that to be me !

      Reply

    • Danielle Nobitz
      Jun 09, 2020 @ 17:43:17

      Hi James,

      I can definitely relate to you when you say that you put self-care behind other activities. I struggle with it too, and am also thankful that I had a supervisor during internship that really prioritized our self-care, and we actually had dedicated time during our group supervision meetings to talk about self care strategies, and to give each other ideas on how to participate in self care!
      I can also definitely relate to you when you say you had burnout in your job. I had a job in an inpatient setting which was with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, which was very draining emotionally. I was exposed to a lot of intense situations and was continuously drained when I left work. This was when I just entered the field, which made it even more difficult because I wasn’t aware of the importance of self care. I also struggled with saying no to picking up shifts, and often worked from 3pm-7am due to the fact that people would call out (due to burnout as well) and we were mandated to stay. It was really difficult because everyone was feeling the same way, which made the environment feel more toxic. I really like your idea of keeping a check-list in order to verify if you are taking care of yourself and participating in the self-care necessities that you had planned for yourself. I feel like that strategy would help you become more accountable, and would also help you with time management, which is something I also struggle with. I also agree that quality supervision is important, I can attest to that as I did not have the best supervision for my practicum placement and it definitely made an impact on me. I moved to a different placement for my internship and was able to get an outstanding supervisor, which helped me grow professionally, get accurate feedback, and led me to grow my skills!

      Reply

    • Abigail Bell
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 13:11:32

      Hi James,

      What you said about supervisors reinforcing unhealthy work behaviors is so true. I have also noticed that even in this profession that understands the importance of mental health, there are so many workplaces that overload their clinicians and then either make them feel guilty or talk about them behind their back when they need to take a day off. As people that are drawn to the helping profession I feel like we all share things in common such as being very hardworking and empathetic. I think that sometimes that can be taken advantage of in the workplace. Also thank you for sharing your own experience with dealing with burnout how you were able to identify it in yourself by your behaviors. That is something that I can relate to because I tend to not realize when I am not handling stress well and really notice it the most when I examine my behaviors. It was a good reminder to be mindful and take inventory of how I am feeling often.

      Reply

  6. Sam
    Jun 08, 2020 @ 22:09:34

    Ah, self-care—I wonder what that feels like. Just kidding! Even as graduate level students (i.e., not yet practicing clinicians) we have already (hopefully) recognized the importance of self-care and the significant impacts of burnout on ourselves, our work, and those around us. I myself, have a clear understanding and depiction of what my burnout tends to look like, and it’s not pretty (though it never really is). The majority of my burnout experiences are presented through psychological symptoms where irritability, anxiety, hopelessness, sadness, and a sense of failure are prominent (but of course, I also experience a few from both behavioral and physical categories as well). Nevertheless, despite my ability to recognize my own burnout symptoms, I know that when I begin my first job, it may be difficult for me to prevent burnout from occurring. This may be for many reasons, but mostly due to my own self-judgement/ criticalness, high need for approval, and my impeccable ability to deeply internalize all my failures. Ultimately, as a new clinician, I may push myself too hard and be too critical, though I know better—which will of course lead to stress. Additionally, despite my internship experience, I often worry that I may become overwhelmed with regard to client case load, and my ability to effectively manage my time in the work place, so as to not feel the need to continue thinking about work related responsibilities outside of the work setting. Thankfully, over the years I have gathered a sufficient amount of self-care skills and will continue to build upon those skills in the coming years. What I have found to be most helpful during instances of burnout is an adequate amount of rest, spending quality time with my fiancé and son, eating well, going for runs, making attainable “to do lists”.

    Not only is remaining a competent counselor over time an ethical responsibility, it is also in my opinion, a privilege that I am and will always be grateful for. Having the ability and opportunity to continue learning and increasing my knowledge of the mental health field is something I welcome with eagerness and intend on taking full advantage of. I will do my best to set aside time to read journals and peer reviewed articles relevant to the ever-developing field of mental health, and I hope that future agencies that I will be applying to, will offer career development opportunities such as trainings, attending conferences, and reimbursement for CEU’s. In a sense, I will never view having to continue my learning experience as a “requirement”, rather, it is something that I would love to do regardless, and am lucky to have the opportunity to do so. Additionally, something I certainly need/ want to learn more about is the integration of technology and counseling, as aside from a few “mindfulness” apps, I don’t have an extensive amount of knowledge in that area. I have a hard time keeping “up to date” with all the new apps being created, so a few articles/ trainings on that would prove significantly beneficial on my end! Finally, a last point I wanted to discuss is that related to conceptualization skills. I often come across statements such as “we need to be taught how to write case formulations and treatment plans “in the real world” and not in academic formats, because in the “real world” they will never be that long”. I always find myself feeling flustered by such statements, as we should not be working to “dumb down” our case conceptualizations, rather, we should be working to enhance them. Don’t get me wrong, a long formulation doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good one, but we, as new clinicians, should be aware that there is a difference between having a “short” case formulation, vs. a case formulation that adequately represents your clients presenting problems based on your theoretical orientation. In fact, these “long” case formulations and treatment plans we write in an academic setting, should make it much easier to apply in the “real world setting” (i.e., we have already been taught how to conceptualize our cases in the real world). In short, it will be a goal of mine to make sure I receive adequate supervision and feedback regarding my case conceptualizations.

    Reply

    • Cynthia LaFalaise
      Jun 10, 2020 @ 19:56:22

      Hi Sam,

      I feel the same way as you when it comes to internalizing failures. I found myself doing that during internship when clients would make progress then suddenly regress. I would blame myself thinking that I wasn’t doing enough to help them and that would stress me out. What helped me with that was processing with my supervisor. She helped me realize that this is normal in therapy and that you have to adapt to set backs. Progress isn’t aways a straight shot and it doesn’t mean that we as clinicians are incompetent if that happens. I think the best way to combat that it practice what we preach and challenge our own negative thoughts about our competency.

      Reply

    • Abigail Bell
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 13:57:17

      Hi Sam,

      I relate so much to your discussion of how that even though you know what factors lead to burnout and the importance of self-care, that you are still worried about doing things that will inevitably lead to it as a new clinician. I feel the same way, even after reading this chapter and knowing intellectually that I should be less critical of myself and I should be doing all of the self-care, I still worry that when I am in the actual field I will forget everything and get super stressed out and overwhelmed. As bad as it may be to say, it is comforting to know that other people feel the same way so thank you for being so open. I also have never thought about making attainable to do lists as being a form of self-care, but the more that I think about it it definitely is! It helps to manage things that are contributing to stress and leads to a sense of accomplishment and relief once everything is checked off. I will definitely be incorporating that into my self-care routine, thanks for the tip!

      Reply

    • Patricia Hennessy
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 16:45:08

      Sam,
      I agree with your comment about having high demands and expectations for yourself, I think it comes with both advantages and disadvantages! You are right that if we are not mindful it can lead to burn out and stress, but if well managed, it can lead to more motivation. I connect this with your comment about the appreciation to learn and continue learning. Throughout my career, and my life in general, I hope to continue to grow and learn to the best of my abilities. I also relate to your comment about case formulations. We should continue to learn skills to enhance our abilities to develop well-rounded case conceptualizations, and I know you have those skills!

      Reply

    • Lynette Rojas
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 22:58:19

      Hi Sam,

      I relate to you a lot in how you say that even though you are aware of your burnout symptoms, it may still be difficult to prevent it. I also have been very critical of myself and internalize my failures. This then leads to sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety. You are definitely not alone on this one and I appreciate you sharing and being so open with us. It helps to know we are not alone. Also, being with you in internship supervision seminar, I know you are an amazing counselor and know you will continue to thrive. It’s nice to look back and be aware of the differences we make in our clients. That is what keeps me motivated and helps me feel better during those times when I don’t feel so great or when I question my abilities.
      I also think spending time with family, eating well, exercising, and staying organized by making to do lists is very important for our self-care. I definitely notice that when I am not doing enough of these things I am not at my best and struggle to stay motivated and focused on what I need to do.
      Continuing to learn is something I also am very eager to do. There is an infinite amount of things we can learn to be better therapists. It’s psychology. It’s never-ending. Which is why I know that we can’t ever know it all and I am always open to learning anything I can to be able to grow and better help my clients.

      Reply

  7. Danielle Nobitz
    Jun 09, 2020 @ 17:26:40

    After reading this chapter, I realized the feelings I felt during my job at an inpatient program were completely normal, and were actually common in those who are just entering the field. Due to the fact that I was exposed to intense mental disorders and was exposed to various traumatic events so rapidly, it makes sense that I would feel the burnout that I did. I was dreading going to work towards the end of my employment there and I felt discouraged that I was feeling this way, and felt like I was doing something wrong myself. After being in my internship during graduate school and experiencing a different setting such as outpatient, it made me realize it was just the setting that I was in that caused me to feel burnout, due to the fact that this was the only experience that I had at the time. After reading that burnout can tend to happen in those who are less experienced more than in those who have been in the field for a long time made me feel much better and normalized how I felt in the inpatient setting. Even though I did feel a high sense of reward in that setting, it was also very traumatizing and difficult to experience as someone who was fresh out of my undergraduate degree.
    I definitely have struggled with finding time for self care while I was in internship, because I felt like I was always either doing documentation for internship or doing school work. It was really hard in the beginning to manage my time in order to fit self-care into my schedule, and as well as getting everything done in a timely manner. A concern I have regarding self-care after graduation is that I feel as if I will push self-care aside due to the excitement of getting a job as a clinician. I felt myself having a hard time putting self-care ahead of other things while having multiple different tasks to complete all of the time. I think that the excitement of having finally getting the job I’ve been working so hard to achieve will cause me to push self care to the back burner. After reading this chapter and experiencing only a partial bit of the stress that I will endure after I graduate, I know how important it actually is to practice self care to prevent burnout. I do know that I have effective ways to deal with stress, such as playing with my cats, spending time with friends, watching movies, and painting my nails. I assume that the heavy caseload that outpatient clinics usually give will cause me stress, and the documentation deadlines might cause me to become overwhelmed as well. I think if this were the case, having a set schedule that I can follow and make mini goals for myself to complete documentation, that way I do not become so overwhelmed. Self-awareness and monitoring will also be really important as well, for any counselor to be able to acknowledge signs of burnout.

    Based on the reading, I believe that an area of professional development that I need to continue to grow in is organization, and overall time management. I am a bit of a procrastinator and even though I seem to have good clinical writing skills, I need to become better organized and continue to grow in this area. Especially in an outpatient setting, I know that documentation needs to be done in a timely manner. I always have been able to get documentation in on time, however I tend to wait to the point in which I become overwhelmed, or I found myself working on documentation late at night, which sometimes cut into my sleep. Being able to manage my time and working on documentation during set hours of the day would improve my professional development as well as my stress levels. I believe that ways I can continue to grow in this department are again, having a set schedule and self-set deadlines for when I will complete certain paperwork will be essential, as well as keeping a planner and organizing my time effectively. It is something that I am working on, and will continue to work on post graduation. Ever since I have started working on setting deadlines for myself and have started organizing my time better, I have seen a huge improvement in my stress levels and overall functionality professionally!

    Reply

    • Cynthia LaFalaise
      Jun 10, 2020 @ 19:47:47

      When you said “I was dreading going to my internship” I completely resonated with that. There were days that I also wanted to call out just because I didn’t want to deal with the stress of working with some of my clients. I worked in substance use so I also dealt with difficult clients and heavy situations that drained me. I believe that it was my particular location that caused me to burn out. Although I like working with this population, that particular location had over 1200 clients so I had a large roster of clients that way larger than that of the average therapist. I also struggled with time management during work as far as getting my notes done. I would end up staying over time because I would book clients back to back, unable to complete notes before the next session. Then by the time I got home i would be too exhausted to complete HW for class, leading to procrastinating assignments until the last minute before it was due. I think time management is key to remaining balanced. Once we graduate, I beleive that will relieve the stress of having added work to do outside of our jobs.

      Reply

    • Pat
      Jun 12, 2020 @ 21:35:40

      Danielle,

      I know I can certainly relate. I, like you, were very discouraged that I had been feeling the way I had towards the end of the internship. I knew I liked working with people, and I knew this is what I wanted to do, but I was too afraid to ask anyone if what I (and I suppose we) was common, or if I wasn’t “cut out” to be a clinician. After the readings, I was surprised at how relieved I felt when I learned that it was somewhat common, or at least it wasn’t uncommon.

      I like your coping mechanisms too, I imagine that all of those would be a good way to wind down after a long day. While I don’t know if I’ll be painting my nails anytime soon, I do think I should try to be more social to cope or relax. I noticed yours, and a lot of other people’s posts talked about socializing, or at least having positive interactions that weren’t at work!

      Reply

  8. Kaitlyn Doucette
    Jun 10, 2020 @ 19:20:07

    [Self-Care] I really resonated with the quote in the beginning of the chapter, “there needs to be recognition that what you do can be stressful and potentially traumatizing.” I have found myself in positions where I became hard on myself because of the stress, and possibly even second-hand trauma, that I was experiencing as a mental health worker. I told myself that I wasn’t “tough enough” for this career path because I was stressed. This quote almost felt like it was giving me permission to feel stressed, and that it’s okay to feel this way. This is a huge first step for me to begin developing my own self-care routine to prevent burnout.

    I do have concerns about burnout and self-care. I find that agency factors stress me out the most. For example, having a heavy caseload, challenging clients, understaffing, and lack of supervisor support all increase my stress. I have experienced burnout in the past from these factors while working as a case manager. I know that the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization I experienced negatively impacted my effectiveness as an employee and provider. I am concerned that this will happen again if I don’t work to prevent burnout in a new position. While I can advocate for myself in the workplace when these issues arise, there is only so much that is within my control. Self-care practices would be especially necessary for coping with these stressors. I also wonder what else I could do in situations where I feel my needs as an employee are not being met?

    I have found that spending time with my partner, family, and friends are my biggest and most effective forms of self-care. Aside from this, I also like to engage in hobbies such as drawing/painting and knitting. When I am busy (which is most of the time, unfortunately), I do not make time for my hobbies, and this is something that I would like to work on. I also go to my own counselor regularly as a form of self-care, which helps to keep my mental health in check. There were some forms of self-care mentioned in the chapter that I do not do, but I would like to incorporate them into my self-care routine at some point. These included exercise, meditation, and mindfulness techniques.

    [Professional development] I agree with the statement presented. I do think that I still have a lot to learn even though my graduate school career is almost over. The reason that I am most excited to begin working full time is because, while I feel prepared academically to begin working as a clinician, however I know I still have a lot to learn in practice. I think that professional development outside of school would begin with receiving high quality supervision. I would ideally like to receive supervision from someone who knows CBT well so that I can receive feedback. My supervisor at my internship was great, but her background was not in CBT so it was difficult to receive constructive feedback from her regarding my CBT treatment.

    The best way to ensure that you are continually developing and maintaining counseling competency would be, in my opinion, keeping up with current research in the field and attending CEU and/or other trainings. One of my biggest fears for my career is that I eventually become one of those “all-knowing,” complacent clinicians. I would like to always be learning about effective treatments and interventions so long as they are evidence-based. Not doing so would be a disservice to my clients. I think that CEU requirements are a great way to reduce complacency for myself and all LMHCs. I would also like to receive training in other modalities, such as DBT and ACT, after I graduate. While CBT is helpful and effective, I would like to learn about other EBPs that may benefit my clients.

    I resonated with the portion of the chapter about “embracing and accepting your anxieties and insecurities” as a way to develop professionally. This is something that I have already worked on, both in and out of my own counseling experience, and I have found it to be one of the most freeing things to do for myself. I used to be so bogged down by my own insecurities that it would lead to social anxiety and panic attacks. This is still something that I will continue to work on for my personal and professional growth, however the work that I have done so far by accepting my weaknesses has helped my anxiety as a new counselor immensely. I do recommend working on acceptance of weaknesses for anyone who struggles with this; it truly helps. (And is a great way to practice what you preach!)

    Reply

    • Patricia Hennessy
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 16:57:27

      Kaitlyn,
      I appreciate the quote from the chapter that resonates with you and I connect with your reflection. I remember when I learned a client was thinking about NSSI, I thought I failed as a clinician and became overwhelmed at what was out of my control. In reality, she had not engaged in the NSSI and we set forth a plan of action for the intrusive thoughts. Your comment about allowing yourself to feel stressed is something even well-experienced clinicians should remind themselves of often.
      I also like your comment about engaging in hobbies as self-care. I often have people ask me what I do, and what my hobbies are. My natural response is to say “what do you mean hobbies? I don’t have time for hobbies until after I graduate.” In reality, we are going to be busy all of our lives, and making the time for those hobbies is important.

      Reply

  9. Cynthia LaFalaise
    Jun 10, 2020 @ 19:35:49

    My biggest concern with burnout is that I won’t be able to help my clients to my fullest potential. I had previous experience with burnout during my internship. I had a tough caseload with substance abuse clients who were dealing with high risk situations on a daily basis. Having booked clients back to back, I was flooded with negative stories throughout the entire shift. By the time I left I was emotionally exhausted. It came to a point where I found myself disconnected during sessions, not listening to what my clients were saying. I also struggled with leaving work at work. I would think about my clients on my days off and prepare for sessions when I wasn’t on the clock. What helped me deal with this was taking a few personal days off for self-care. I was able to focus on things outside of work and engage in positive hobbies. The main thing that stresses me out currently is graduate school. Working with clients and then having to come home and complete heavy course work for class is debilitating. I deal with the stress of this is by scheduling out when I’m going to complete my work so that I can get it done in a timely manner. I also schedule times to do pleasurable activities that I like such as taking walks, dancing, exercising, and watching tv. I think the most important way to deal with stress is to set boundaries with work, communicate concerns with your supervisor, and staying on top of your self-care.

    The best way that I can continue developing counseling skills is by pursuing trainings and feedback. I personally find that the feedback I get from individual and group supervision helps me a lot with navigating my own methods as a therapist. The guidance and perspectives I get from more experienced clinicians in the field gives me insight into what I can do differently in order to help my clients. I will also participate in trainings/workshops in order to learn more skills that I can utilize in my own practice. There are many workshops hosted by prominent figures in psychotherapy that offer new or adapted strategies to deal with various populations. Although we cannot be masters at everything, we can become informed about different techniques that will be applicable to clients we may encounter.

    Reply

    • Lynette Rojas
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 18:03:51

      Hi Cynthia,

      Not being able to help my clients to my fullest potential is also one of my concerns when it comes to burnout. I also found myself very exhausted during internship after having to spend all day out going to internship and to school and then having to do homework. I realized I didn’t have much time for myself and was not doing enough to take care of myself. I also realized that I was thinking about my clients a lot outside of internship. I did not leave work at work like you mentioned. This was something that I had to change. Like you mentioned, it is very important to communicate with supervisors about these issues. I talked to my supervisors and they gave me great advice (I wrote more about it on my blog post). It was very helpful and I definitely noticed a difference in the way I was feeling. I also agree with you that feedback from supervisors and colleagues is very important as well as attending trainings and workshops to continue our personal and professional growth. It seems like you were able to put your self-care first when noticing burnout which I think is very important and think we should all do as counselors to be able to help our clients at our fullest potential.

      Reply

    • Chris
      Jun 13, 2020 @ 21:19:11

      Hello Cynthia,

      I have the same concerns with how burnout can affect me. I’m sorry to hear that you felt so exhausted during your internship. I can only imagine how difficult it is working with a substance abuse population and having clients back to back. It can definitely be hard to stay present in session especially with that on top. It’s awesome to hear though that you have a clearly laid out schedule for completing work and self-care. That’s definitely something I could get better at because it is extremely hard to have internship combine with classwork. I also agree how important continuing education courses are and learning from supervisors. I was able to learn so much in just a year from my supervisors at my internship. I’m also looking forward to going to continuing education courses in the future, not excited that they’re required to maintain licensure though. I hope to maybe teach some in the future about the populations I plan to specialize in.

      Reply

  10. Pat
    Jun 10, 2020 @ 20:07:28

    I think that my main concern is how to balance the life of a not-yet-licensed clinician with maintaining positive self-care, particularly regarding the agency’s influence on counselors. In a perfect world, we all will find an agency that cares deeply for their clinicians and does what it can to help us adjust and actively take care of ourselves. While this is a possibility, I’d like to devise a plan on the off chance that this doesn’t occur.

    Taking care of myself is do-able: eating healthy, sleep well, exercise and self-monitoring are all things that will take time and practice, but can be done. I don’t imagine any of us could have made it this far without attempting to do at least one of these during our time at Assumption. With that said, it is the factors that we cannot control that concern me (all the worst when reading page 12).

    I imagine life as a not-yet-licensed clinician won’t exactly be glamorous. We will be happy in our positions, realizing a dream that many of us have had for quite some time. On the other hand, we will all be likely 40 hours of work, or more, to gain experience we need, gain hours for licensure, and begin to find our way in the working world. Additionally, we have no control over the agency-induced stressors unless in leadership positions. I’ve found in past positions that burnout wasn’t a problem, regardless of the job. I also fully recognize that I’ve never done anything remotely close to being a clinician in a mental health setting at a master’s level. Because of this, I don’t know if these anti-burnout characteristics many of us may have will necessarily translate.

    I suppose the stress of the job, for me, comes down to my confidence as a clinician. I’ve yet to adjust to the idea of being a counselor. I think that, even as I joined this program, I didn’t yet recognize all of the “weight” that being a clinician holds. In a sense, strangers come to us in times of great distress, and place their faith in us, another stranger, to aid them to find their way through the difficulties, and have the leave our services with new skills to utilize in the face of adversity. There is an inherent vulnerability in this situation, and I find myself wondering if I, or anyone else, deserves to be in our shoes?

    As of now, as stated earlier, I have means to handle this stress and I’m hopeful that I will gain/learn many more as time passes as long as I actively search for them. I believe finding a counselor of my own will be of great benefit, and I believe that self-monitoring will be critical. So while I do have means of dealing with the stress, I don’t know if they are as effective as I’d like them to be.

    When it comes to professional development, I’ve had the same mindset coming into the program as I have getting ready to leave: the moment any of us decide that we have “got this down,” is the moment we fail our clients and ourselves. The reality is simple: we’ll never know all of this. I believe (and am more than confident) that everyone I’ve met in this program can become amazing clinicians – I don’t doubt that in the slightest.

    I think part of developing our counseling competency is accepting and embracing the idea that we don’t know all of what we want to yet: and I think that’s a good thing. It is our job to develop and to do that, we need to actively search for new information. Taking every available opportunity to ask questions, utilize training opportunities, observe other sessions, talk with our supervisors and colleagues are all things we should be doing regularly. I think some fields require more communication than others, and I imagine that our field is one of them.
    Of course, we all need to complete our CE’s, but taking as many opportunities (within reason) as we can likely help us not only grow as clinicians but improve our understanding of the ins-and-outs that we may not learn without direct experience at a particular agency.

    Reply

  11. Abigail Bell
    Jun 11, 2020 @ 12:20:00

    [Self-Care] I am worried about the possibility of burning out from working in this field. As the book discussed, because of the nature of the field, mental health counselors may be more prone to burning out or experiencing compassion fatigue. I started being concerned about the potential for burnout during my internship because I felt a lot of stress while working there and I witnessed clinicians around me burning out. I think this was because of how demanding the environment was, the lack of support between staff, and the infrequent supervision. After the reading the chapter and discovering that I have a decent amount of personality traits and lifestyle factors that are risk factors of burnout I realize that it is super important to be preemptive rather than reactive in my self-care.

    I have a tendency to be fairly easily stressed. I have found effective ways to cope with my stress, but I have difficulty when I have a lot of stressors at one time. I have found that doing things like making sure to spend a lot of time with my family and friends, eating a well balanced diet, and being outside regularly helps to reduce my stress so that I do not get to the point where I am overwhelmed. One thing that I have been thinking about recently is how it would feel to be treating clients with everything that is going on in the world now. I ended my internship mid-March which was in the very beginning of the pandemic starting. I was definitely experiencing anxiety with what was going on, but I still felt like I was able to manage and compartmentalize that to do good therapy with my clients. However, I am not sure what it would be like to be doing treatment today. Although sometimes ignored, it is no secret that the undercurrents of racism in our society have come to light and as a person of color I have found it difficult to think about much else recently. So I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a full caseload on top of it, especially if I was still at the jail. I am honestly not sure what it would be like to be working with clients right now and I am kind of thankful that I don’t have to. I am glad that I have an extra semester to process what is going on and think about what I will do to ensure that I can give the best culturally competent therapy to my clients that I work with in the future.

    [Professional Development] Continuing my education after graduation was not something that I thought much about until recently. Honestly, before starting this program I thought that I would be done taking classes and learning “new things” when I was done with school. I now know how important it is to continue learning and seeking out information in the field to be a competent counselor. I plan on continuing my professional development and personal growth in a few different ways. I plan to make sure that I have a good supervisor and utilize supervision as much as I can in the years before getting my license to help me to continue to grow and learn. Also, in addition to taking the CEU’s once I am licensed, I plan on taking advantage of any certifications or classes that I have the opportunity of taking throughout my career. I also liked the idea of shadowing other clinicians. I learned so much from sitting in with many of the clinicians at my internship placement and I had no idea that it was still okay to do that as a master’s level clinician. This is something that I plan to ask about when looking for jobs.

    Reply

    • Sam
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 17:24:13

      Hi Abigail,

      I enjoyed your discussion regarding professional development! After going through so much school already, I feel like we automatically go to this place after graduation like: “Yes! It’s finally over!” and it can almost be draining to think about having to do more in the future, so I certainly empathize with that! But I’m sure it won’t be as demanding as an academic program and a lot of journal articles we can read on our own time so thats a plus! Additionally, I like that you pointed out sitting in on sessions as a masters level clinician. I was also not aware we could do that and was surprised when I read that in this chapter! I didn’t get the experience of doing so at my internship, so having the opportunity to do so in the future could be helpful. Great points, Thanks!

      Reply

    • Kaitlyn Doucette
      Jun 12, 2020 @ 17:05:08

      Hi Abby,

      I really appreciated your vulnerability when talking about how you are unsure if you would be able to be an effective therapist in light of the current stressors going on in our community and the nation. Of course, it is important to be able to recognize when you are not well enough (physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc.) to be an effective therapist. However, I think you make an even more important point about how race/ethnicity affects mental health. As someone who is white, I will never understand the experience of being a person of color in our current political state. I cannot imagine the stress that you are experiencing and it seems unfair that you have to be dealing with this on top of everything else (school, work, etc.) while the majority of us are not directly impacted. I think right now is a perfect time for you to practice self-care, and I and many of our peers are here to support you in any way we can. I am curious to hear about how this has affected others’ in the class, as I’m sure many of our POC clients are acutely stressed right now. I do find myself wondering how I can best support my clients who are directly impacted by racism and police brutality. I think that this could be a conversation worth having as a group!

      Reply

  12. Lynette Rojas
    Jun 11, 2020 @ 13:02:53

    After reading the chapter, I learned that there’s some things I do that can lead to burnout in the future. One of the most important ones is that I am an empathic person (which I think most of us are being in this field) and I tend to think about my clients when I am home. I think about the stressful and traumatic experiences they have talked about and how I wish they didn’t have to go through that. This could be emotionally exhausting which is one of the components of burnout. However, this can also lead to vicarious trauma. During my internship experience, I was able to talk to my supervisors early on about this issue. They asked me to research vicarious trauma which was very helpful for me at the time. I was able to learn and be aware of the symptoms. They also talked to me about self-care and gave me advice on how they cope. One of my supervisors said she washes her hands as she is leaving the agency and is mindful at the same time while washing her hands thinking that she is washing work off and going home to relax. I found this to be helpful and thought I should share in case any of you would like to try it. I also found helpful to think about the difference I have made in some of my clients and to think about their improvements. One of my supervisors shared with me the starfish story which is about knowing that you can’t save them all, but also knowing that you make a difference in the ones you do. This really helps when having a tough day at work, just reminding yourself of the difference you have made in the people you have helped. Also, as mentioned in the chapter, there are risk factors and protective factors. One of my risk factors and lifestyle habits is not getting enough sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep, I realize that I have a difficult time concentrating and feel fatigued. Sleep is something I am trying to work on because I know it is very important to how I am able to function the following day. I am worried that when I am working full time, I will get less sleep than I do now and that this will lead to burnout. I really liked some of the ideas I read in the tables, “Steps for a Good Sleep Routine” and “Good Sleep Hygiene Habits”. I will have to try those out to see if they help me go to sleep earlier.

    During internship, I found I had very little time for myself. Having to juggle internship, school, and work. I was sitting a lot of the time for most of the day either driving, sitting at my desk in school, sitting at my desk at internship, or sitting with the kids at work. I knew I needed to exercise because I had never felt my legs hurt so much before for sitting for too long. My legs were literally swollen. I decided to exercise any chance I got, but sometimes I was too tired and all I wanted was to get home and relax. Now that I have more time, I try to exercise every day even if it’s just for 30 minutes. I started out with three days a week, then 5, and now I do it every day and I find it really helps with stress. As mentioned in the chapter, self-care should be a lifestyle not just temporary. My goal is to continue to exercise even when it gets busy. Having a 30-minute goal each day I think would be an attainable goal for me since it has been working so far. Spending time with loved ones is also very important to me and definitely part of my self-care. I think this is definitely one of the most important ones. It helps to relax and take your mind off work, spend some quality time and just laugh for a while. I also love music and listening to music even in the office helps to relax and get some notes done. However, it has to be the right songs to work because if not I’ll find myself distracted and singing instead. Singing is actually part of my self-care as well. Writing is also something I like to do for self-care. I like writing my thoughts and feelings down and anything that happened throughout the day or week. It sometimes helps put things into perspective and in processing what you are experiencing. Spending time outside with my dogs also helps to have some fresh air and spend time with them.

    There are many ways in which we can continue to develop our professional and personal growth after graduating. One of the ways I would continue to assure I am growing and working on myself as a counselor is to continue to read books and research. It may get busy when working full time as a counselor, but I think it is important to read when we can to stay informed. Also subscribing to academic journals and attending conferences and trainings would be very helpful. I would continue to learn from my colleagues and supervisors as well. There is a lot to learn and it could be helpful to continue sitting in on sessions to learn about other styles and other strategies that are used in therapy with clients. Therapy can get very creative and learning these creative ideas from others can be very useful and helpful especially when working with kids.

    Reply

    • Sam
      Jun 11, 2020 @ 17:13:03

      Hi Lynette,
      I loved that you talked about your current exercise routine and how you plan to continue implementing it in the future when you are working. I’m glad that after a your internship, school, work, etc. experience, you were able to find something that helps make you feel better (in addition to all the other self-care activities you do!). Additionally, I think it’s so important that you are setting the goal for yourself long before you start work to continue your exercise routine when things begin to pick up again! I have often found myself also developing a routine, and then completely ignoring it when I become too busy with work and school, which is definitely something that contributes to my stress. Knowing what works for you, having those goals/ mind set, is so important in preventing future burnout–so, I’m really happy that you have that going for you! I will try my best to apply this to my own life and set a attainable goal/ routine for myself before starting work, because I think it’s a really good idea!!

      Reply

    • Kaitlyn Doucette
      Jun 12, 2020 @ 17:19:27

      Hi Lynette,

      I really appreciated what you shared about being vulnerable to burnout because you are an empathetic person and sometimes mentally take work home with you. I have always been an empathetic person, to the point where I almost take on or “feel” the emotions of others if I don’t set boundaries with myself. I know that it’s a really fine balance, and it sounds to me that you have already found some positive ways to cope. Additionally, I related to your experience of thinking about clients when you are away from work. While at my internship, I had an app that linked clients to clinicians so that they could log meals when they were not at the program. I found myself checking the app often outside of work and worrying when a client had not reported their meals. From this experience, I know that I need to practice leaving work in the workplace more in the future. Thank you for sharing the handwashing example; I really like this idea and I think that I might try it myself. It’s great that you are so aware of your own vulnerabilities to burnout so early on in your career. This will only help you to prevent burnout once you begin working full-time!

      Reply

  13. Maria
    Jun 11, 2020 @ 17:22:06

    Based on the reading for this week, I think that self-care and burnout are two very important topics we need to think about on a daily basis when working with our clients. I think over the past few semesters and during out practicum/internship times we have heard and learned about the possibility of burnout and most of us fear that it could or has happened to us. For my own self, I think that these are two topics I think about, but do not always address. Due to the fact I am new to the field and I am trying to build my career, I often have a hard time saying ‘no’ or slowing down when I need to. I always want to do what is best for my clients therefore I push myself, but I am afraid of burning out and not providing the best care for my clients. I think that many people experience burnouts but my concern is how do we continue after we have one? My other concern is that if I do indeed experience a strong burnout, how do I get myself out of that headspace and regain the strength to get back up. In this weeks reading we learned that a burnout can effect multiple aspects of our lives and especially our clients! I would never want to have my clients be effected by my burnout because I think it would damage our therapeutic relationship.

    Personally, work, school, and family are three areas where I tend to feel most stressed out. All throughout out high school and undergrad I use to work and go to school full time. There were definitely moments where I felt stressed, but I never felt so overwhelmed that I questioned my ability to keep going. Like the chapter stated, we often think that once we are done with school and have a stable job everything will be rainbows and sunshine, but we will still have things to stress and worry about (unfortunately). Currently, my ways of dealing with stress involves a lot of time with family and friends. Being with them allows me to laugh, have fun, and calm down. Anytime, I feel overwhelmed with school or work I either spend time with my sister or friends and 5 minutes later I forget what I was worried about. Another effective way of dealing with stress for me was exercising. Now, I won’t lie, this was mainly during my first semester of graduate school. After class I use to go to the gym and exercise for about an hour or so and go straight home and go right to sleep. I use to feel refreshed and happy in the morning when I did it. However, once I moved home things changed. I’m hoping to get back into that routine when COVID is over. Another effective way I deal with stress is binge watching TV shows which may or may not be totally healthy. By watching my tv shows I am able to focus on something else and get immersed into the show. I would like to get involved in more social activities (just like we tell our clients) and find more personal time for myself.

    After reading about professional development and personal growth, I think it will be very important to put things in place now to continue and ensure I will improve in both areas. I think that continuing in the field right way after graduation will be the first and most helpful step to continue my counseling competency. I also think continuing education will be an important part as well! I often wake up to emails from Dr. Doerfler and my own agency regarding online and in person workshops and trainings. There are so many that I find interesting and I wish I had time to do them! I also think that continuing to have supervision and having a mentor could be extremely beneficial as well to continuing my counseling competency. I also think watching and monitoring my stress levels will be important as well because I wont have the drive or motivation to improving and maintaining these skills if I am burnt out!

    Reply

    • Pat
      Jun 12, 2020 @ 21:45:37

      Maria,

      I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one struggling to say “no” while at work! I like how you worded it too, we’re trying to build a career. Not only that, but we’re also trying to build a career that we are proud of, in a field we want to do well in, with others we want to work with, etc. Sometimes, the idea that we could have the “audacity” to say no to a supervisor, or even explain why we would be hesitant to take on the new client or perform the requested action is somewhat fear-inducing.

      More than that, the idea of burning out sometimes feels inevitable. Not in the sense that it would be career-ending (I suspect every clinician has a moment or two where it is all too much), but it’s the concern of “how do we move forward,” after we’ve experienced it that gets me too. I’m sure that all of us will learn how to get by afterword, and I imagine each way will be different from one another. I suppose as you said, it’s finding ways to make personal time for ourselves.

      Reply

  14. Chris
    Jun 11, 2020 @ 17:30:02

    I would say that my primary concern about self/care and burnout is that I won’t stay on top of them. And I mean that in a lot of aspects. Monitoring my levels of stress and burnout is definitely something I need to get better at. I honestly have a bad habit of letting things snowball if I don’t get work done, in some cases paperwork. And letting that pile up only makes me stress more. So avoiding those kinds of situations in work especially would definitely help me mitigate burnout. In addition to this, checking in with myself on a regular basis and asking myself questions about how I’m doing and not being afraid to admit that I might need to take a break or increase my self-care. This brings me to the second part of the question, it’s definitely easier to do self-care than monitor burnout. I know I have some ways in which I can reliantly do self-care. However, I believe that I also need to engage in more meaningful self-care activities than just relaxing and watching tv. I think this will be especially important the as I work in the field with more and more clients.

    A large concern that I’m afraid will really burn me out is working with the parents of clients. Often working and just talking with the parents of kids and adolescents can be harder than doing treatment with the kiddo themselves. This is especially the case and can be more complicated if I want to work with LGBT+ people. Not that they’re always bad, but there still are parents/guardians who want to bring their kids in for some conversion therapy bs. So having to work with those kinds of people definitely stresses me out. Still working on a solution for dealing that one and always taking suggestions. My experience trying to deal with other stress at work in general though would be to talk to a supervisor to see if I could change anything, talk to friends about how stressed I am, and probably get a drink after work.

    Reply

    • Maria
      Jun 13, 2020 @ 20:46:27

      Hello Chris,
      I also agree staying on top of both is extremely hard to do! I also totally relate to the letting things snowball idea! I tend to get overwhelmed, panic and freeze, which for obvious reasons is not great. So like you, avoiding that or putting things in place that will help avoid or reduce the possibility of that situation occurring will be imperative going forward! I also totally relate to struggling to know when I need a break or increase self-care. I like that you said it was easier to do self-care than monitor burnout! I think keeping up with doing things for ourselves will be beneficial not only to preventing burnout, but bettering ourselves in other aspects of our lives (i.e. personal lives). I also think that I need more self-care ideas and activities because like you I tend to binge on TV or be surrounded by people rather than being by myself. Getting these activities and ideas going now rather than a year from now when we have 30+ clients is super important as well! I also can relate on the struggle with working with the LGBTQ+ families! I have my own personal connections to this population and become very protective (and passionate) when working with them. I also totally agree that conversion therapy is total BS!

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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