5 Essential Tips for Therapists to Look After Their Own Mental Well-being

As a therapist or counsellor, it is important to prioritise your own mental health and well-being in order to provide the best possible care ....

5 Essential Tips For Therapists to Look After Their Own Mental Well-Being 

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. I hope that, as a therapist, you are using it as a basis for a way of helping your clients and others with tips about managing anxiety, stress, or other mental health issues.

As a therapist or counsellor you play an important role in helping people cope with their mental health issues. However, it is equally important for therapists to take care of their own mental health. Self-care is essential for therapists to ensure that they are able to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Like many caring professionals, sometimes prioritising your own health and well-being over supporting and helping others can prove a challenge. Think of all the things you discuss with clients to help them look after their own mental health. How many of them do you use yourself?

Tip 1: Make Time for Self-Care

Taking time off for yourself is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your mental and emotional well-being.

Self-care activities such as yoga, meditation, and journaling can help you manage stress and anxiety, as well as increase your overall mental clarity. Going for walks or other activities which allow you to connect with nature will help too.

Put those activities into your calendar, just as you do client appointments. That way they are more likely to happen.

Tip 2: Connect with Other Mental Health Professionals

As you know mental health is a complex issue and it can be difficult to manage without the help of others. Building a professional support network is another way to care for yourself. It provides an opportunity to connect with other professionals who are also dedicated to providing quality care. This network can provide valuable advice, resources, and support when needed. And remember your 1:1 supervision. Even if it’s not mandatory as part of your professional body, it’s usually highly recommended. These sessions can help you explore your reactions to client cases.

Tip 3: Stay Connected with Friends and Family

We all need a strong support system in our lives, and one of the best ways to do this is to stay connected with family and friends. I know this might sound obvious, but sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our work we ‘forget’ that there is a life outside of the therapy room. If they live too far away to regularly see in person in many ways it’s easier than ever to ‘see’ them using video calls, text messages, and even the good old phone! Staying connected with family and friends can help us feel more grounded and keep our work in perspective.

Tip 4: Take Breaks During the Day & Utilise Relaxation Techniques

Taking breaks during the day is essential for us, as therapists, to stay focused and energised. It allows us to take a step back from our work and reset our minds. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation practices, self-hypnosis, and belly-breathing can help us destress and restore balance.

As you know these practices have been proven to be effective in managing stress levels, improving concentration, and increasing productivity. By incorporating these techniques into your daily routine, you are ensuring that you are taking care of yourself while still providing quality services to clients.

Tip 5: Set Boundaries and Stick With Them!

Boundaries are essential for therapists to maintain a healthy working relationship with their clients. Setting boundaries is one of the most important steps to ensure that both parties have an understanding of what is expected from each other. Saying No is something that we sometimes find difficult to do, not only with clients but in our home lives as well.

Boundary-setting strategies for therapists can involve setting limits on how much time and energy you will devote to a client, as well as what services you will provide. It also means respecting your own boundaries and not allowing yourself to be taken advantage of by clients.

It can be more difficult to set and stick with boundaries at home, especially when you have children. Juggling the demands of home life and working as a therapist can be stressful. As someone who is self-employed you are managing your own time. 

Remember making best use of your time will help you in the longer term. Perhaps outsourcing or systemising some tasks would help.

As I said earlier, make sure you not only have your client diary in your calendar but also have all those other activities that you and your family engage in from yoga classes, GP/Dentist appointments to parent/teacher evenings, and social events.

Having these in your diary will help you say No or Yes in a more informed way. If you do say Yes to something that clashes with something already in your diary you are making a conscious choice to prioritise the one over the other.

Mental Health Awareness Week.

Running your own successful therapy practice is demanding. The rewards are wonderful, however if you don’t prioritise yourself, no one else will. During this week, why not start to be more aware of how you care for your mental health? Is there more you could do?

Think of the example you are also setting, not only for your clients but your family and friends. By managing your own mental health in a pro-active and positive way you are giving permission to those around you to do the same.

P.S. If you find it hard to say No instead of Yes, try my mp3 

P.P.S Remember to connect with me on Linkedin or Facebook and Instagram.

Categories: : self-care, self-employment