When Self-Care goes Professional!
Exciting things are occurring, change is afoot, so let me tell you more #selfcaresquad!
As some of you might know, by day, I’m a counsellor and psychotherapist registered with the BACP. My normal working day finds me intensely happy to be working in my own private practice with phenomenal clients who are keen to make changes in their lives.
Anxiety, stress (blimey is stress a big one) low mood, depression, trauma, confidence, self-esteem. . . I love every minute of it, and when I say this, I am in no way suggesting I love the pain my clients might be grappling with, but I love every minute of watching them start to flourish and thrive.
For me, working with fellow human beings, supporting, enabling and facilitating change is the most privileged place to be, and something I have done for many many years in various forms. This passion for caring for others, is also a part of many of my clients lives. Nurses, social workers, teacher’s, paramedics, the list of those working in human services is endless! The thing is though, that when we work, paid or unpaid in a role supporting others we can be at risk of being emotionally hurt ourselves.
I’ll rewind a little! You may know that a year or so after my research project into social workers, counsellors, and specialist domestic violence practitioners experience of working with trauma, the concept of self-care emerged as one of my participants’ main defences in coping with their work. Self-care came through as a strong theme, alongside the awareness of the risks, being trauma informed, quality supervision and peer support.
This got me thinking, why is a concept so apparently simple as self-care not being taught during the intense training of these roles, and why is it not encouraged as continued professional development for many of us working in human services.
As a participant in one of my recent masterclass's recently said to me, “This is a great masterclass, but why oh why am I spending a full day training on note taking next week, and just a couple of hours on self-care. If I don’t prioritise self-care, I won’t be in the job long enough to do much more note taking!”
I couldn’t argue with that!
Why are we losing awesomely talented, highly trained and phenomenally committed professionals in human services because we're not encouraging them to look after themselves and each other? We don’t appear to be able to create a culture where it’s ok to go to the loo, make a drink or take a lunch break. Why aren’t we fully utilising solid reflective supervision, or meetings with our managers, switching phones off over night (apart from when were on a rota not to) and facilitating teams to support each other, creating half an hour a week to offload, share practice and refuel?
We’re not necessarily talking fancy spa days (although why not, possible cheaper than covering long term sick leave) at the very least we’re talking basic self-care! Water food wellbeing and rest!
12 months ago SelfCare Psychology the brain child of myself and co-founders Kate and Roz launched. A blog written by us, and as importantly by you guys, on how to self-care, why we struggle to, or what sent us sauntering down self-care street. Real stories, real lives real solutions.
However, it became apparent that by a weird twist of fate, we had unknowingly joined the self-care revolution which was racing like a steam train towards the end of last year.
Fabulous authors like Mel Noakes, ‘The Little Book of Self-Care’, Suzy Reading ‘The Self-Care Revolution’, Jayne Hardy ‘The Self-Care Project’, and Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips ‘Self-Care in the Real World’, have all published excellent books on the subject and they continue to encourage and nurture the revolution, as do we!
However at SCP we found ourselves going a little off piste, caught in the self care spiral, although we've thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Over the last few months we’ve revisited our aims, and are taking SelfCare Psychology back to being all about those of you who spend your lives caring for others. We are refocusing back on supporting the supporters, caring for the carer, whilst our new baby sister 'SelfCare Isn't Selfish' takes over the SelfCare for everyone campaign.
At SelfCare Psychology we’ll be covering just who we mean when we talk about human services, and explaining what we mean by professional trauma and fatigue. Very importantly we'll be introducing you to, and taking you through our new model, the ‘5 Pillars of Protection’ and our Pillars assessment tool that will help you to buffer the impact.
We are working on downloadable resources, our training, new work books and everything and anything we can do to keep you folks doing the awesome jobs that you do, safely and effectively, for yourselves, and those you are working with, supporting and caring for.
We are also still mightily keen to hear from those of you who have experiences to share, tips to unveil, and points to make, from an organisational and professional basis, so get blogging we’d love to hear from you!
Meanwhile our little sister, ‘SelfCare Isn’t Selfish’ (SIS) www.selfcareisntselfish.com will continue to share info about all things selfcare, but also, really excitingly we’re creating a book club blog. We’ll be reviewing one self help book at a time, from mine, Roz’s and Kate’s perspective. We’ll be all over social media, asking you to join in our virtual book club! #selfhelpbookclub
I really hope that this all makes sense, and we all want to thank all of you awesome SCP blog contributors so far.
So, here's to Self-Care going professional, looking after ourselves, and each other, empowering awesomely talented practitioners to remain awesome and talented, safe and effective, because they are the only kind of practitioner who can work to empower others!
Sass Boucher is a Co-Founder here at Self Care Psychology. Sass manages our Twitter, and you can read her bio here. Sass also works in private practice and you can find her on her twitter @SassBoucher and her Instagram @sassboucher and website www.sassboucher.com