Topic 4: Self-Care {2/11}

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?

 

Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 2/11.  Post your two replies no later than 2/13.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

45 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jess Costello
    Feb 06, 2021 @ 15:22:26

    Even with the relatively small caseload at my internship, I can feel myself getting stressed and attempt to make self-care a priority so that I can continue to be supportive and effective for my clients and others in my life. One of my main stressors is just feeling like there’s not enough time in a day to fit in self-care with all my other tasks. When I feel this overwhelmed, I try to focus on a simple task like focused breathing, or taking a break, even if only for a few minutes. I think something else that helps me is being honest with myself, supervisors, and others about how I’m really feeling or how much I can handle. Especially while working from home, boundaries between work and leisure time can blur, so I try to be as specific and structured as possible about what I can do when and where.

    Reply

    • Zacharie Duvarney
      Feb 07, 2021 @ 10:49:07

      Jess,

      I too am experiencing many of the stressors outlined in your post. Similar to you, I have been forward and honest with my supervisors regarding my burn-out. In fact, I have had to reduce my caseload from 26 clients to 20 in order to facilitate better mental health on my part. I encourage everyone to be assertive and honest with their supervisors. It can be intimidating to have these conversations, especially if you are looking to secure a job with your internship site. However, it is important to preserve your mental health and self-interests just as much (if not more) than your employer’s interests.

      Reply

    • Katrina Piangerelli
      Feb 07, 2021 @ 12:50:56

      Hi Jess,

      I can definitely relate to what you are saying about boundaries between work and home becoming blurry. I think this is something a lot of us are struggling with right now because of the pandemic. I think you listed some great self-care tips such as breathing, taking breaks, and being honest with yourself and supervisors about how much you should be taking on. I think some of us are quick to sort of take on everything we are offered, but at times we have to say no and think about what is best for us right now.

      Reply

    • Adam Rene
      Feb 09, 2021 @ 14:34:27

      Jess,

      I like what you said here about simple tasks. Sometimes in a day full of clients, that’s all we have time for. It’s so important to get that time in so that we can be effective for our clients and maintain energy and optimisim for our position.

      Reply

    • Melissa Pope
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 16:42:33

      Jess,
      Thank you for being so candid in your response to this blog post. I feel your struggle, and understand that it is really difficult to keep boundaries with our different lives, especially when we are at home a good portion of the time. I think that your honesty with others, and attempting to be as vigilant as you can with self-care is all you can really do. So keep up the good work!!

      I find for myself that planning self care into my daily routine the week before helps a whole lot. That way it is something I look forward to, throughout the day and keeps my energy levels up. I also find that sleep training, is a big portion of this. Figuring our your target number of hours for quality sleep and then scheduling those hours, so that you wake up refreshed and ready to start the day.

      You’re doing a great job, so just keep it up and keep experimenting with what works best for you.

      Reply

  2. Zacharie Duvarney
    Feb 07, 2021 @ 10:59:43

    1. What facets of counseling cause you to feel burnt out or stressed?

    Currently, the demands of working part time, interning 20 hours a week, adulting (I live in an apartment with my girlfriend, and thus have to keep up with the demands of adult life), and completing graduate school have left me feeling burnt out. More importantly, I feel stressed because I do not want my burn out to impact my performance with clients. So far, I have been able to provide good psychotherapy despite my burn out, though I have had to implement carious coping skills to do so.
    Regarding counseling in general, I have been feeling stress over my chronically suicidal clients. Normally, I am able to effectively “leave work at work” rather than allowing the stress of my occupation to affect me outside of the office. However, I have been working with about 4 chronically suicidal clients at my internship placement, and I often find myself worrying about these clients even when I am not in the office. I worry about their wellbeing as well as my role in their safety. Although I have become more comfortable in working with these clients, there is still much for me to improve on and I constantly worry about whether or not I am doing all in my power to preserve the safety of these clients. I know that I am following the proper protocols, but I can’t help but worry about these clients, thus leading to stress and burn out.

    2. Do you have any effective ways to deal with stress?

    One of the most important coping skills in my repertoire is hard limits on time allocation. In other words, I always set aside time to practice guitar and exercise, no matter what my schedule looks like. I feel that in order for me to preserve my sanity, I need to have this structure in my life. Although it can be difficult to achieve this goal, it is ultimately necessary.
    In regard to coping skills I use for dealing with the pressures of counseling, I have implemented 15-minute guided mindfulness exercises into my routine. I do this right before I go to sleep as a way to clear my mind and combat insomnia. As aforementioned, I am finding it harder to practice a work/life separation, which has led to bouts of insomnia and unnecessary stress. Since implementing these mindfulness routines, I find that I am able to sleep better and more effectively detach from thoughts related to work and school.

    Reply

    • Katrina Piangerelli
      Feb 07, 2021 @ 12:55:59

      Hi Zach,

      Like you, I have also been juggling a bunch of different things such as work, school, internship, and home life. I can also relate to what you said about it being difficult to leave work at work rather than taking this home with you. I think this can be very difficult in this field especially if you have some clients that are higher risk. I often worry about my clients well being and I think having some healthy boundaries between my free time and working has helped, but at times it can still be difficult.

      As you mentioned, having a structured schedule and including some free time to do things I enjoy has become very important. Practicing mindfulness has also been something I have been working on recently and focusing on breathing skills as well. I am glad to hear that they have been helpful for you in creating these boundaries between work and the rest of your life.

      Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 11:17:29

      Hi Zach,
      I can relate to having a hard time separating from work especially with clients who are high risk and even suicidal. I think one way I ensure myself and try to separate is asking myself before I leave that session is “did I do enough, do I feel comfortable ending at this moment or should we start the process of looking at a HLOC”. I think too, reaching out to supervisors and ensuring we have SUP holds in place to check in is helpful in know at least these clients will be check up on to ensure safety while we’re not there is also helpful. I think your mindfulness self care ritual is a great to help keep yourself level and avoid burn out.

      Reply

  3. Katrina Piangerelli
    Feb 07, 2021 @ 12:48:28

    Currently, it seems like this part of my career may be one of the more stressful times I will experience. I think that working part-time 20 hours a week, having an internship 20 hours a week, and also going to graduate school full-time is contributing to this. All while trying to maintain a schedule that includes some self-care and personal time off. I think some of my concerns are that school, work, internship, and my home life have all sort of blurred together with the pandemic. This has made it hard to keep good boundaries between each of these different parts of my life as well as stay motivated. I often find myself purposely creating emails and then waiting until I am actually at the correct job or internship to send those emails. This has helped me to maintain some of those boundaries especially when I have clients emailing me on the weekend or evenings. I think some of my concern is that if those lines start to become blurry I will not be mindful of my own personal self-care. Self-care is often a topic of discussion in my internship and is usually the first thing we discuss in group supervision. I typically like to exercise, spend time with friends and family, go fishing, be outside, go to the beach, or other things for self-care. I have also become more mindful of my breathing and doing some breathing exercises throughout the day. This helps me to relax and stay focused. I think right now the hardest part of self-care is finding things I enjoy doing indoors while it is cold outside and there is a pandemic going on.

    Reply

    • Jess Costello
      Feb 08, 2021 @ 12:10:18

      Hi Katrina,

      I definitely relate to what you said about boundaries becoming blurry between internship, other work, full-time school, and home life. I truly hope that this early part of our careers is one of the most stressful parts. I also try setting limits on what kind of work I do when, but so far this has led to mixed results. I appreciate that your group supervision focuses on self-care. My supervisor has (somewhat ironically) asked me to lead self-care workshops for the other staff, so I hope that we will have further discussions on this topic as a team.

      Reply

    • Kelsey Finnegan
      Feb 08, 2021 @ 17:20:36

      Hi Katrina,

      I agree that this part of our careers might be one of the most stressful times we will experience, or at least I hope so! I’m hoping it will be easier to maintain good self-care habits when we aren’t managing as many competing responsibilities. I have also found it difficult to maintain good boundaries and stay motivated while doing everything from home. I like your idea of drafting emails and waiting to send them. I often catch myself feeling like I need to respond to things right away, and this definitely adds to my stress. I’ve found it helpful that self-care is the first thing we address in group supervision because it helps keep me accountable.

      Reply

    • Melissa Pope
      Feb 10, 2021 @ 17:15:05

      Hey Katrina,

      I can feel your pain with work, internship, home, and school life all blurring together. I applaud you for waiting till your in a particular setting to send emails to create your boundaries. Keep doing this!! I starting this winter keeping a “beauty” journal, which it typically a gratitude journal, but i am not one to want to write down the whole day, so instead I name one thing that was beautiful about the day. It could be seeing a bird, or watching a good show, making a hot meal, talking with a friend, etc. I also enjoy tea, and splurged and bought nice loose leaf teas from davids tea….I make a different cup every day or night, and truly enjoy it.
      I agree that this one of the most stressful times in your life right now, and if you can navigate it, which you are- and during a pandemic- then bravo

      Reply

    • Bianca Thomas
      Feb 10, 2021 @ 21:05:09

      Katrina, I resonated so highly with your point that the lines of our lives are so blurred due to the pandemic and the fact that this does not seem like it will end any time soon. I really liked your idea of drafting an email but waiting to send it until you’re actually at your internship or job site!

      Finding activities to do inside has been such a challenge for me as well, considering I am not into video games, coloring or any of the typical indoor activities a lot of people do. I feel like a lot of my clients experience this too, where they are tied to their home and don’t really have anything they can or want to do!

      Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 09:52:26

      Hi Katrina,

      I can totally relate to your experiences trying to juggle what feels like a million different commitments all at the same time. Although many of us are stressed looking towards the future when we begin working full time in the field, at least we will most likely only have one commitment; our career! It has been tough juggling internship, working part time, classes, study/homework time, as well as self-care. However, we have all definitely developed a lot of resilience through the process!

      Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 16:27:10

      Hi Katrina,

      I can definitely relate to the pressures of work, internship, and school! There were a few times throughout the last couple semesters that I felt extremely overwhelmed and like I lacked control of what was going on (especially with the added stress of the pandemic). I also have tried to utilize breathing throughout the day, especially when I notice that I am getting anxious or overwhelmed. Every minute counts!

      Reply

  4. Paola Gutierrez
    Feb 07, 2021 @ 15:46:20

    1. Personal, client, and agency factors all contribute to my own feelings of stress and burnout. Looking at Table 3.2, I recognized some of these factors in myself to keep an eye on. Working too much definitely applies to me – balancing full time school with internship and a part-time job. I don’t go outside very often or get enough exercise. Sometimes, my stress is compounded by my own anxiety around my competence as a therapist. In previous mental health positions, high emphasis on productivity was a big factor on stress and burnout. I got the distinct impression that billing was prioritized by quality of care, which led to my dissatisfaction.

    Doing telehealth exclusively, too, has impacted my stress. It’s been more difficult to carve out space between my professional and personal life when my workspace is in my bedroom – I live in a small apartment with not a lot of private space. While I recognize the advantages of telehealth, I find telehealth emotionally and practically challenging in many ways.

    Like others have mentioned, I worry more about my clients who are higher risk. I bring these cases more frequently to supervision and have been able to separate myself from my clients’ problems for my own self-care.

    2. One of my professors in undergrad emphasized the 4 crucial components of self-care: sleep, eating, exercise/movement, and socialization. Sleep is a priority for me in my self-care routine. In terms of “vacation,” I try to take a day off every week for my own self-care and leisure time. I reach out to friends and family at least once or twice a week. In terms of pleasurable activities, my go-tos are hiking/going to the park, watching movies and soothing shows, and doing word-search puzzles. I take time to read for fun every morning with a cup of coffee before getting ready for work. A pre-COVID self-care activity was going on day-trips (which I hope to start doing again when it’s safer to do so!). I’ve also found that breathing exercises help me reduce my anxiety. When I find my anxiety increasing, I take time to do breathing exercises. Lastly, I am currently receiving counseling to address personal concerns. This pandemic has been really hard on me, and I wanted to make sure that I was fully present so that I could better help my own clients.

    Reply

    • Zacharie Duvarney
      Feb 08, 2021 @ 14:24:00

      Paola,

      I too have experienced the stress of working from home, and how it is harder to separate yourself from work when your bedroom is your office. If at all possible, I would recommend finding other private spaces outside your bedroom or apartment t work. Over the summer, I had to find other spaces to work in order to alleviate the stress you highlighted in your response. Best of luck.

      Reply

    • Kelsey Finnegan
      Feb 08, 2021 @ 17:34:56

      Hi Paola,

      I can relate to much of what you said. Going on day-trips was one of my favorite pre-COVID self-care activities too, so I’m looking forward to hopefully starting that again soon! It’s great that you are taking the time to do some of your own personal work in counseling to be more present for your clients. I am doing the same, and I have found it to be extremely valuable.

      Reply

    • Adam Rene
      Feb 09, 2021 @ 14:31:41

      Paola,

      I so connected with what you’re saying about the lines blurring during this pandemic. When I worked from home I only had one space I could work with, which was my desk. So, it came to a point where I was doing schoolwork at this desk, doing work at my desk, doing internship from my desk, and relaxing with video games at my desk. It was too much for me, so the second I could go back to my office I took the opportunity and my mental health vastly improved. I like those pillars you mentioned, those are good areas to focus on and honestly would translate well to a client who’s struggling with self-care too.

      Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 09:55:51

      Hi Paola,

      I feel for you with having to work from home for the entirety of your internship thus far. I have been fortunate enough to work from my internship site since practicum began, and now have been given the option to work from home once per week and when we experience inclement weather. I can definitely feel the difference in my motivation and energy levels towards work and my clients when I am at home versus at the office, so I can imagine that this has been a big contributing factor to your overall stress level. However, I think once you get into an office setting upon graduation you will feel immensely better and get the privacy you deserve!

      Reply

  5. Kelsey Finnegan
    Feb 07, 2021 @ 22:59:17

    Balancing the competing responsibilities of class work, internship, and work has definitely increased my stress levels, and I have noticed a few signs of burnout in myself as a result of this. I have definitely noticed my stress levels increase on weeks that I’m not deliberate about my self-care, or have multiple clients presenting with more challenging issues (e.g., SI/self-harm). There are also a few personal factors that I need to closely monitor such as my perfectionistic tendencies and a need for approval. Some weeks I notice these traits in myself more than others, and I take this as signal I am probably lacking on my self-care. I’ve found exercise and spending time outside to be one of the most important/effective self-care components for me. Also, I try to make a conscious effort to check in with my own thoughts and use some of the same tools I would use with one of my clients. Seeing a therapist regularly has also been enormously helpful in terms of managing some personal issues, so I can be more present and effective for my clients.

    Reply

    • Jess Costello
      Feb 08, 2021 @ 15:06:24

      Hi Kelsey! I have also noticed some signs of burnout and perfectionistic tendencies in myself. It’s a little ironic that the things that have driven us to this field have also made it challenging to be effective. As you pointed out, when we start to notice these things it probably means we’re lacking in self-care or could be doing better at nourishing ourselves. It’s also great to hear that you’ve been taking advantage of personal therapy to manage your own issues to be more helpful for your clients. Wishing you the best!

      Reply

  6. Paul Avolese
    Feb 09, 2021 @ 13:37:11

    This chapter coincided well with my experiences as of late. I have noticed some of the mentioned signs of burnout in myself the past couple of weeks (e.g., changes in mood and motivation). I tend to push myself harder and hold myself to higher standards the more I get stressed. These tendencies cause me to question my effectiveness as a counselor and create a cycle that perpetuates symptoms of burnout (i.e., I question myself, push myself more, become more tired, question myself, push myself, etc.). In other words, I am the main cause of my burnout in a very big way. Thankfully, even if I have a hard time recognizing when I need a break, I can recognize that my work may not be helpful to clients and has the potential to become unethical. This forces me to take perspective and care for myself so that I may more effectively serve others.

    Stepping outside of myself can be very helpful in managing this burnout. Like the chapter discusses, I try to engage in mindfulness to reconnect with my feelings and thoughts to gain better perspective. I am still trying to find consistency with a yoga routine, but that has also been very helpful when implemented. When the weather permits, I enjoy spending time outside in nature as well. At some point, I would like to return to composing music as well. It has always been helpful engaging different parts of my mind to allow other parts to rest.

    Reply

    • Olivia L Corfey
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 16:27:47

      Paul,
      It seems as though you’ve done a lot of self-refection on your patterns leading toward burnout! That’s huge in being able to identify when you need a little extra self-care time and can take steps to take the pressure off of yourself. Using mindfulness is something I tend to forget about despite the multitude of benefits it has! I definitely will be using this more often in order to reconnect with feelings and be more in the moment. Thank you for mentioning that!

      Reply

  7. Adam Rene
    Feb 09, 2021 @ 14:26:28

    1. I’m really glad we’re tackling this topic in this class, as I feel it’s a critically important but often overlooked aspect of the counseling profession. I forget where I heard it, but we have to keep in mind that unlike a tech position that uses a computer as a tool – WE are our own tool for our profession and if we’re not giving ourselves space to unwind, recharge, etc. then that has a direct impact on the quality of work we can put out. I can’t just ‘phone it in’ with a client – they can tell when I’m not being genuine. Right now I am working part-time at my actual job, full 20hrs a week for internship, attending class several days a week, so I’m often getting home around 7:30-8:00pm every night of the week. I have external and internal stressors when it comes to working with clients. My external stressors have to do with meeting productivity expectations, staying on top of my paperwork, and meeting my weekly expectations for billable work. My internal stressors have to do with my core belief of feeling hopeless/ineffective at what I do – I often second guess myself or get in my own head about the sessions I have planned or my treatment with clients. Interacting with parents can get me stressed too, as I’ve had several not so great interactions with parents and they can often frustrate me – a big trigger for me is parents who villainize their children or don’t accept responsibility for their client’s presentation.

    2. I was encouraged as I made this list of coping strategies that I in fact DO have a lot of coping strategies to deal with stress in my life. I maintain heavy involvement in my church through biweekly-weekly involvement in performing music or switching between cameras for the weekly streamed service. I’m also co-leading a small group of church members in playing Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War every Tuesday night (yep, you read that right). I spend time in prayer every day and listen to Christian worship music to help myself stay calm and maintain a sense of what I am in control over and what I am not. I play video games as a hobby, both solo or with friends. I’ve been playing drums for 15 years and consume a lot of music – I enjoy staying on top of new artist releases and finding new bands to listen to. I listen to music or podcasts on my drive to and from work, as well as on my way to my clients if I’m doing my TM job. Kara & I usually spend every night watching TV together while we eat dinner to relax and spend time with one another. I also love eating a good meal, whether I/Kara prepare it or it’s prepared for me. I also love coffee.

    Reply

    • Paul Avolese
      Feb 10, 2021 @ 11:17:04

      Hi Adam,

      I am glad you brought up distress in relation to interacting with parents. That is something I am currently processing as well. It is an interesting relationship dynamic and I would like to learn more about it. It sounds like you keep a full schedule of coping strategies to balance everything out, which is great!

      Reply

    • Bianca Thomas
      Feb 10, 2021 @ 21:00:45

      Adam, I so deeply resonate with what your first comment mentioned around having so many different priorities that take up so much of your cognitive and emotional space, as well as those limiting beliefs of not being competent enough! I definitely experience that and it’s been a constant battle fighting against those thoughts.

      Your list of coping strategies sound amazing! It is so thorough and gives you so many options to choose from, which I truly believe is such a valuable thing!

      Reply

    • Paola Gutierrez
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 18:18:44

      Adam – Although I do not currently work with children and families, I used to in my previous TM position. I completely understand your frustrations around working with parents. I’m glad that you have several coping strategies to manage all the stress!

      Reply

  8. Melissa Pope
    Feb 10, 2021 @ 17:00:11

    When working with clients, my biggest concern for self-care and potential burnout is balancing my work, and personal boundaries, relaxing my mind, and a stronger social life. I have a history of being a work-aholic (im a perfectionist-a no no thing to be), and because of this I have difficulty shutting of my thoughts, and relaxing my mind. It then perpetuates to me wanting to isolate myself from others, to decompress. I am very vigilant and proactive with my self care in regards to healthy eating, exercise, proper sleep, spirituality, and keeping an active mind/body.I am able to do this, by keeping a more strict routine every-day with more flexibility built in on my day off on Sunday. This way when “life” happens the stuff for ME, is already built into the day. When I isolate myself, or want to isolate, I try to push through and go to dinner with friends, etc. or sometimes my husband will help push me in the right way.

    When answering what stresses me, I am going to refrain from writing a novel, and say A LOT. Specifically in a work setting, not having enough time in the day to get work done, or work boundaries (school setting), of what I can, and can not do in counseling children. To effectively deal with this, I am attempting to learn acceptance, and practicing “letting it go”. The frustration is there, but accepting that I can not get everything done, and although there are somethings that I would like to do to help- but am not allowed to, sometimes the boundaries are there for good reason, and help with me not overloading myself. Still working through it, but got to start somewhere.

    Reply

    • Paul Avolese
      Feb 10, 2021 @ 18:43:49

      Hi Melissa,

      It sounds like you are really trying to learn how to have appropriate boundaries while working with children. What you have said reminded me of how burnt out I became while working in education when I was younger. I did not have the best coping skills at this time and was not even very familiar with burnout, so I kept working for quite a while and became less and less effective (as far as I could tell). I think recognizing our limitations is key to success when working with children. It can be hard but similar to working with anyone, we are only a small part of people’s lives. This perspective has really helped me develop boundaries with clients while in practicum and internship.

      Reply

    • Paola Gutierrez
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 18:15:24

      Hi Melissa – I wanted to say that I appreciate your honesty around stress. A lot stresses me out too, and although I try to maintain a self-care routine, it can get hard at times with a lot on our plates. I also try to take a day off per week to decompress and engage in activities that I enjoy.

      Reply

  9. Bianca Thomas
    Feb 10, 2021 @ 20:57:11

    What are some of your concerns for self-care/burnout when it comes to working with clients – What might/does get you stressed?

    One of my concerns is that I know I get overly invested in the well-being of my clients, so I fear bringing my work home with me and having that impact my mood or functioning. I feel as though I have pretty good self-care strategies already in place, and a lot of other activities that I engage in that allow me to take my mind off of work, but I worry burning out as well by feeling unappreciated or overworked by the company I end up in post-grad.

    Do you have any effective ways to deal with such stress?
    I journal daily, engage in a lot of personal development, go to the gym daily and have pretty good eating habits, I have incredible friends and a partner who I can confide in, and the podcast I do is such a great way for me to talk out a lot of the challenges I face (in a confidential way, of course!)

    Reply

    • Olivia L Corfey
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 16:20:25

      Bianca,
      
I can definitely relate to your concerns that being overly invested in the well-being of the client will lead to negative impacts in your own self-care. This is something I have thought about as I tend to be an all-in person! Therefore, as we are recognizing this concern early on we can be more attentive to this and take steps to improve our own-self care. Daily journaling also seems like a great way to reflect !!

      Reply

  10. Taylor O'Rourke
    Feb 11, 2021 @ 08:38:32

    1. My biggest concern when working with clients related to burnout is not being as effective as a therapist as I should be, should I ever feel excessively burnt out. Sometimes I feel myself not giving my clients my all when it comes to our sessions, and I can attribute this to being mentally and physically drained or exhausted. Though it does not happen often, it frustrates me when it does because I would never want to jeopardize what I am working on with a client due to how tired I am. Over the course of my internship, I have picked up quite the caseload and see all my clients weekly for roughly 45 minutes. One thing that concerns me is when I have multiple clients to see in a row without any time in between. There was one day at internship where I worked an eight-hour shift and had eight clients to see, so by the time I finished documenting our session, it was time to move onto the next appointment. This is a day where I went home and spent a lot of time on self-care because I knew I needed it.

    2. One thing that gets me stressed is when I do not have enough time in a day to get all my notetaking and documentation done. My internship site has very strict deadlines on how long we get to complete individual, group, and intake notes. Lately, I have had very little time in between clients to get any notes done, so my stress level has increased. It has resulted in working outside of my internship hours at times to make sure I get everything done, and this cuts into my time needed for self-care and other aspects of my life.

    3. I have found that blocking out chunks of time in my internship schedule dedicated to catching up on notes has been very effective. I try to take some time at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week to finish things up from the week prior and the week of. This has been very helpful in decreasing my stress because I am not overworked and have sufficient time to get everything done before I go home for the week, rather than needing to spend time at home catching myself up to speed.

    Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Feb 11, 2021 @ 16:26:38

      Hi Taylor,

      I can relate to what you said about having deadlines at internship. I have also found that blocking out time at the end of the day to just focus on getting the documentation done has really helped manage my stress! I have made very strong boundaries with myself that I won’t take work home with me, so that also gives me incentive to eliminate distractions and stay on task.

      Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 11:24:19

      Hi Taylor,
      I love the idea of blocking out time in your schedule, I also do this myself. I think it is helpful as we at time get so caught up in back to back session we forget to eat, go to the bathroom, or even just take a minute to relax and reflect. I think too this method is helpful in having these blocks, so that we can even slow down in session with writing notes and staying present in session and take the time to write up our notes so we don’t miss anything thing of significance in our documentation.

      Reply

  11. Ashley Foster
    Feb 11, 2021 @ 10:19:31

    When it comes to burnout while working with clients, I think it really depends on a few different factors. A factor of this is the type of population we are working with. As we all know, some populations are more mentally and emotionally draining than others. The other factor of this is the work environment we are in. Working in environment with high stress or high productivity pressure, you are more likely to experience burnout. Furthermore another factor I find important is the ability to balance work and life outside of work and of course self care.

    My main concern is that with this pandemic and many other events that have happened over the last year and a half-ish, I already feel so burnout and have little availability for self care. I think the biggest stressors I have currently is the balancing. I have been over loading in classes, working in health care during this pandemic, interning at a high stress high productivity focused environment, and being a mom. The hope is that, once I have graduated, I will have more availability for self care and will take some time off before I jump into a full time position, collecting hours for licensure.

    Currently, I have been spending as much time as possible with my daughter and my fiancé which helps (most times) deal with my level of stress. Most days, it is as simple as just laying on the couch and watching Frozen together and baking cookies. Otherwise, I think this is one area that I have much to improve upon and hopefully will have for availability to explore more effective, adaptive ways to deal with the day to day stressors.

    Reply

  12. Olivia L Corfey
    Feb 11, 2021 @ 16:15:37

    My biggest concern of burnout is working in outpatient and being overwhelmed with clients to the point where I am not being as effective as I could be. Burnout is a stressor that I must keep my eye on over the years. Some clients will be more challenging with others. Therefore, staying attentive and prioritizing my own self-care and mental health is essential to effectively help others. At my internship I have truly recognized the benefits of having support within the work environment. Having the ability to conceptualize and process sessions with colleagues is the most effective way to reducing my stress. Recognizing even the smallest treatment gains will be important in reducing my burnout over the years.

    Reply

    • Anthony Mastrocola
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 09:48:47

      Hi Olivia,

      It is great to see that you have the ability to utilize social supports at your internship site. I find that this type of support is so helpful in our field. I often process stressful situations with my own supervisor which tends to help.

      Reply

    • Kara Rene
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 15:03:30

      Hi Olivia,

      I love what you said about recognizing even the smallest improvements. One of my supervisors has talked about how in outpatient, it can feel like little progress is being made, so it is important to look for and celebrate the little improvements- for both us and out clients! I am working on reminding myself that my job is not to fix, but to bring a horse to water and encourage it to drink- as long as I am doing that to the best of my ability, progress is on the client at the end of the day!

      Reply

  13. Mariah Fraser
    Feb 11, 2021 @ 16:27:45

    I know that I have significant perfectionistic tendencies, which certainly interfere with my ability to effectively manage stress. I can be hard on myself due to unrealistic expectations which leads to some internalization. I find it difficult sometimes to make time for self-care; it can be easier to just zone out while watching tv, instead of doing something productive like journaling or meditation. Additionally, when I don’t stick to a night-time routine before bed, that can certainly throw me off. A lot of my own personal traits and lifestyle habits contribute to my burn-out, especially if it is coupled with the inability to be honest about my workload or responsibilities (e.g. school, work, internship). Currently, at my internship, my supervisor is pretty good about checking in and allowing flexibility with my schedule, therefore I don’t get too overwhelmed on-site.

    I do a decent job of dealing with my stress by being aware of my own ‘downward spiral’. When I notice certain behaviors I do my best to stop the cycle and make a conscious effort to modify my behavior or attitude to put myself on a better trajectory. For me, the best thing I can do is be self-aware, which consists of checking in with myself as much as I can. I also changed my work schedule sometime last semester to allow myself two consecutive days off from work, school and internship – before, I was on the go 7 days a week. During those times I like to facetime with family and friends, go on hikes, get my nails done, and exercise!

    Reply

    • Anthony Mastrocola
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 09:45:21

      Hi Mariah,

      It’s good to see that your supervisor is helpful when it comes to promoting flexibility at your internship. My supervisor is the same way. I agree that self-awareness is a major factor in preventing burnout.

      Reply

    • Kara Rene
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 15:01:06

      Hi Mariah,

      It’s so valuable to have the self-awareness you have about your burnout factors, and it’s wonderful that your supervisor is intentional about checking in on your workload to ensure you don’t get too overwhelmed or burned out! I hope that you will be able to find a supervisor that continues to do that for you post-internship!

      Reply

  14. Monique Guillory
    Feb 11, 2021 @ 19:18:18

    One of my biggest concerns when working with clients is the challenge of finding the right work life balance and leaving work at work. I do worry about my effectiveness with telehealth, as I prefer in person interactions. I often feel that an increase in screen time use may increase burnout feelings, because the virtual world makes me feel disconnected with my clients. Also, depending on the client caseload, I do worry about taking on too many clients which could definitely lead to burnout.
    Ultimately, the idea of conducting only telehealth therapy sessions stresses me out the most, or finding a job with a really good supervisor.
    As far as self-care, going back to the work-life balance, I find it most helpful to insert 5-10minutes during the day instead of blocking out larger increments of time. I also engage in creative art, exercise, and social dates with friends and loved ones.

    Reply

  15. Kara Rene
    Feb 12, 2021 @ 14:58:21

    I think that my main concern regarding burnout is making sure that I avoid the circumstances that led to me experiencing massive burnout last year. It was awful to feel so burnt out that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue or was capable of continuing in the field anymore, and I want to avoid that for sure! I know that when I have clients in high-risk or crisis situations I have a more difficult time maintaining work/life boundaries and that I have to be more intentional about self-care during those times.

    I go through phases when I am good at self-care and phases when I am not as good. At my best, I like to create intentional and relaxing spaces using candlelight, comfy pajamas, and relaxing music to spend time intentionally and mindfully winding down. I also enjoy watching funny and light tv shows and playing video games on my own or with friends, which has been a good source of social connection during the pandemic. I am also working to create better sleep hygiene by listening to a body scan every night before I go to sleep rather than just watching YouTube until I am tired. It’s a work in process!

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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