Ever notice yourself getting a little more irritable than normal? Finding it difficult to interact with colleagues, clients, and even family or friends? Struggling to find empathy and patience for others? This could be the result of therapist burnout. Yes, even therapists get burned out and need to take a step back in order to take care of our own needs.
Therapist burnout happens when an individual’s psychological resources are overpowered by the demands placed on them. It is an extreme kind of exhaustion that can result from working with particularly challenging populations .
Not only does burnout cause us to simply feel terrible, but it also contributes to job dissatisfaction and poor job performance. Further, it can lead to frantic job searches, and, at the extreme end, it can result in ethical violations, which may have professional repercussions for the therapist – and may harm the client.
Licensing protects you, the public, and the profession. I appreciate that it exists, now that I have joined the ranks of licensure. However, the pursuit inspired many sighs, groans, and eye rolls between me and my colleagues. Complaints formed for many reasons – cost was (and still is) one of them.
What should you do to prepare – financially, at least – for licensure? Below, I outline seven steps with an estimated time that it will take for each. I will give you concrete suggestions, with real numbers and links included.
Ending a session on time and doing so gracefully can be tricky. There are a plethora of ideas out there of how to end a session on time, such as setting a timer or providing a nonverbal cue, and many of those suggestions may be effective in ending a session on time.
However, very few, if any, address implementation of those techniques fluidly and in a manner that is natural and least disruptive to the client’s process. Why does this matter?
The first time I worked with a physician was during my training as a suicide risk assessment consultant in a hospital.
My job was simple: give the nice doctor a brief run-through of the patient presentation and make recommendations for treatment. I walked into the doctor’s office, smiled, took a deep breath, and I began to regale them with the tale of my time with the patient and how they made me feel.
After about thirty seconds, my story was cut short.
The doctor shook his head, raised his hand, and said “you’re burning my time buddy, just tell me what I need to do.” Caught off guard and sweating profusely, I managed to stumble through some recommendations before the physician said “sounds great” and turned back to his notes.
In my book, The Beginning Counselor’s Survival Guide, my main goal is to simplify the difficult-to-understand. For a career that is all about helping people, we certainly do make it complicated to get into sometimes! As the co-founder of Beginning Counselor: Building Your Ideal Internship I get questions all the time, many of them starting with, “What do they mean by _______?”
The fact is, with counseling licensure, as well as with counseling practice, there are a lot of gray areas. “This means this if this is the case…unless of course, this happens.”
That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to clear up some of the confusion, specifically about the concept of HOURS. By that I mean the specific number of hours we as counselors (or psychologists, marriage and family therapists, or other behavioral health professionals) are required to earn in order to switch from a provisionally licensed mental health professional to the real deal.
Imagine that on that you are at the grocery store on a Saturday morning for a quick stop to get some milk, and you spot one of your clients just a few places in front of you in the checkout line.
What do you do?
Should you wave to them? Walk up and ask if they were able to work things out with their significant other? Remind them of their appointment this Monday (since they missed their last one)? Ignore them and frantically try not to make eye contact?
If this situation is new to you, you may experience some panic.
Can’t you just feel the tension of this year’s political climate?
Look at you, reading a blog post about politics on a psychology website.
And who can blame you? Only about 24 million people may have tuned in to the live presidential debate between Clinton and Trump , but everyone is talking about it. With the presidential election coming up, you can bet your clipboard that your clients are going to bring this into session.
Most clinicians can agree that political conversations have little place in the therapy room. Angsting about presidential prospects and governmental goings-on appears to have limited healing power for our clients. Regardless, our clients continue to ask us where we stand on gun control, whether we are pro-life or pro-choice, and for whom we plan to vote.
So, what do we do when our clients want to talk politics?
I had just returned from a 3-week respite in Spain, and I was riding the post-vacation emotional high.
The quaint cobblestone streets of Seville left me with feelings of joy and amusement; the romantic plazas of Madrid left me with love; the vast beaches of Barcelona left me with serenity and awe; and the seafood paella in each of these cities left me with each of the top 10 positive emotions (mostly gratitude).
I was rejuvenated, and I was eager to dive back into work.
Psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, and other mental health professionals have the professional flexibility and freedom to work in a number of diverse settings.
Everything ranging from inpatient and outpatient hospitals, Veteran Affairs medical centers, college counseling centers, private practices, and community health centers, among many others.
It is often said that working at a community mental health center (CMHC) can be one of the most difficult and challenging sites for mental health work, and yet it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences.
Client termination, whether it is planned or unplanned, is difficult.
It can lead the clinician to having a multitude of emotions. After all, it is the ending of a relationship, which can be a challenging thing for any of us to go through.
To make it harder, most individuals are not taught appropriate techniques to end a relationship. How many of us plan on how we are going to conclude a relationship? We are social beings at heart and are not often focused on planning for the conclusion of a connection nor are we trained in healthy ways to process the ending of a relationship.
Despite these challenges, it is important for clinicians to always be focused on the possibility of termination in order to gain comfort and understanding of how it impacts both the client and clinician.