Pursuing a career as a mental health counselor can be extremely rewarding. People with a passion for aiding those who face problems such as substance are often drawn to this field.
However, the profession is exhausting, both physically and mentally. Counselors should ensure they care for their mental and physical health. They should strive to balance their work and personal lives, setting aside time for themselves and their families. It will enable them to remain effective in their clinical practice while still taking the necessary time to focus on their wellbeing.
What is self-care?
Self-care refers to an individual’s activities to achieve and maintain optimal physical and mental wellbeing. Mental health experts commonly employ the concept of self-care to signify an individual’s capability to look after daily tasks, including ADLs (activities of daily living).
These include eating, washing, brushing teeth, wearing clean clothes and attending to medical issues. Physical self-care, like sleeping and exercising, is also considered an ADL.
For those who wish to know more about self-care, American International College (AIC) has an online master’s in mental health counseling (CMHC) program. The CMHC program’s curriculum is aligned with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program (CACREP) to prepare you for licensure in most states.
Counselors can join AIC’s commitment to making education more accessible for all by obtaining this degree and helping provide mental health services to those who need it in their area. This degree will allow you to become part of AIC’s long-standing diversity, access and inclusion legacy.
How do clinical mental health counselors promote self-care?
Here are some of the ways clinical mental health counselors promote self-care:
Improving physical health
Caring for patients can be physically taxing on therapists, leading to higher levels of stress that can result in weight gain and fatigue. A self-care plan designed to support therapists’ physical health while they provide therapy might involve establishing a routine for physical activity.
To determine the most beneficial plan of physical activity, they might consult with a trainer at a gym or a nutritionist. It will assist in deciding if exercising every day or three days per week is the right approach.
Additionally, a self-care plan may be more successful if shared with others. Talking to family, friends and even a doctor can help therapists adhere to the schedule when planning to incorporate exercise into their lives.
Therapists can experience stress when assisting clients in processing their thoughts and emotions. They need to be able to clear their minds of any distracting thoughts of their personal lives that could interfere with their ability to provide therapy.
A self-care plan to help address therapists’ mental worries could involve carving out time each day to practice meditation, whether recorded in a timetable or written in a reminder to themselves. By attuning to their environment, therapists can enhance their cognitive functioning to serve their clients better.
Therapists may find themselves in a difficult situation when they sense that boundaries with their patients are blurred. They may feel overwhelmed by having to manage the emotions of another while juggling their struggles.
A self-care plan for therapists who experience emotional challenges should involve keeping a gratitude journal to record one thing they are thankful for each week. They can also allot time for outdoor activities such as taking long walks, reading or biking to clear their mind and escape work pressure.
How clinical mental health counselors can maintain their wellbeing while helping others
These are some main ways clinical mental health counselors can maintain their wellbeing while helping others:
A self-checkup is examining one’s thoughts and feelings to detect emotional or psychological difficulties so that they can be addressed before they become problematic.
Self-checkups are as crucial for mental health professionals as for anyone else. It is vital to examine one’s self-worth, values, motivations and level of hope and resilience to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life.
Even though most people will not develop a sustained mental health problem throughout their life, many feel the first signs of a problem before they ever seek help. A self-checkup would allow those who think they need more support and assistance in maintaining their mental health to identify early warning signs and take action if appropriate.
Self-care practices include time management, managing anxiety and stress effectively, and having autonomy in clinical work. These are all critical to a successful career as a counselor.
Maintaining your wellbeing is an ethical responsibility. Being compassionate towards yourself is essential while maintaining healthy boundaries with others.
One could also be better able to help others if they keep their self-care practices, which allows them to have the emotional energy needed for this work. Self-care can support counselors in handling difficult situations during therapy sessions or provide relief after a tough day at the office when it is too late for anything else.
Professional support is a process of psychological wellbeing that involves identifying and orienting to the needs of oneself and others and connecting with those requiring support. It is the bedrock of clinical mental health counseling practice.
Professional support does not mean the counselor needs to be the best at everything. A solid foundation in vocational happiness processes, which has been empirically validated, will provide a trustworthy and reliable foundation for any specific counseling skill.
Counselors who commit to training in these skills enhance their capacity to offer the experience they can show their clients.
Working with patients in the mental health field can be taxing. It can result in emotional stress, burnout and exhaustion that therapists may not have anticipated when they started in the profession.
Therapists are susceptible to stress and burnout just like anyone else, even though they are in the role of providing help. Recognizing the need to look after themselves and create a strategy is crucial. Utilize the available resources and remember the purpose of this endeavor.