Even therapists need to look after their Mental Heath and Wellbeing – part 1 of 2

This topic has been big in the news this year, with Prince Harry working to help change attitudes towards mental health issues:

Prince Harry helping to reduce stigma around mental illness

Prince Harry to help tackle mental health in the armed forces

 

I decided I would share a personal experience as, yet again, I’ve been reminded how fragile our mental health can be and how we need to make a point of looking after our own wellbeing.  On the down side, it can take seemingly ‘small’ things to set ourselves plummeting to the depths, but the reverse can also be true, as often it can be relatively simple things that result in great positive shifts.  Highly Sensitive individuals, those whose Stress Bucket is already heavily loaded, or those who are feeling fragile due to earlier trauma, can be particularly prone to experiencing a rollercoaster of emotion.

Over the last few months I’ve noticed that people around me, both locally and online, have been experiencing considerable challenges, resulting in increased stresses and strains.

I too have had a few testing times, both personally and professionally, and I succumbed to the negative spiral of too much work and not enough ‘play’, leading me to feeling in a very low, dark place.  I lost sight of the fact that life is about enjoying the journey rather than worrying too much about the destination.

Sometimes though, this can be a necessary part of the healing process.  For me ‘hitting the bottom’ acted as a springboard from which I could push off again.  It forced me to take a look at what was really going on, identify the limiting beliefs I was buying into, to realise that these were not Truth, and that they weren’t serving me, or those around me.

This brought me to a new level of self-awareness.  It wasn’t pretty, and I had to remind myself to exercise self-compassion, but it did give me a framework for addressing the issues.  I no longer felt powerless and instead gave me a good grounding from which to create a plan of positive, supportive action.

Thankfully, as a therapist, I have a range of skills that I can use to work on my wellbeing.  I started by looking at what was going on in my body and realised that there was a range of niggling issues that I’ve been largely ignoring, or avoiding, for some time.  Starting to listen and to explore these was a first step, as they connected me to my inner wisdom.  They were my body’s way of communicating that something wasn’t working – that a need was not being met – and they also brought clues about how to address, and hopefully resolve, the issues.

Journaling, particularly somatic journaling (tuning in to, and writing from, the perspective of the body / body part) is a great tool for this, as are grounding and mindfulness exercises, which help to get you out of your head and into your body, and so to move away from that awful feeling of ‘analysis paralysis’ and overwhelm.

Using the information that this gave me, I started working with EFT (emotional freedom techniques, or ‘tapping’) to further explore my underlying emotions and beliefs.

In next week’s instalment, I’ll share some other steps that I took as part of this process.

 

(You can read the full text of this article here)

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2 thoughts on “Even therapists need to look after their Mental Heath and Wellbeing – part 1 of 2

  1. Great blog! As a fellow therapist I loved the insight on empathy we sometimes forget that this can include empathising with negative emotions and how we need to check-in and release those without experiencing the overwhelm. Thankyou looking forward to part 2

    Liked by 1 person

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