Do you have a physical trainer? What about a mental one?
You know that going to the gym regularly to sharpen your physical self makes sense - dropping down with your therapist regularly to sharpen your emotional and mental self makes even more sense! Mental health is exactly like physical health - regular consultations and debriefings increase clarity and focus that translates into the mental wealth you need! Did you know: regular consultations has a significant impact on your experience of post trauma stress, post traumatic stress disorder and vicarious trauma (hearing about trauma, writing notes about them etc). It can not only reduce and treat symptoms, but also prevent them! Furthermore when professionals have regular sessions they have decreased liability for burn out and compassion fatigue. Anxiety and stress related to an upcoming session can be a normal, natural response – and often easily treated with a few sessions. Sessions can also support your mindset when preparing for your next client or when wanting to sharpen your performance and mental game. Together we can use tools to keep you at the top of your game!
Look at your case formulations, what you may or may not have missed. Clinicians are not immune to vicarious trauma and working in a silo will contribute to it. Vicarious or secondary trauma is the experience of trauma while helping someone else through their trauma. Vicarious trauma can also be impacted by your own personal life experiences especially when concurrent with the experience you are helping in.
For example - a therapist doing counselling with someone about COVID while caring for a close family member with COVID. This is one reason why therapists should be first in line to help themselves first before helping others. Regular sessions for you are imperative. I would argue that these sessions to you are just as important as a firefighter's suit when they go into a blazing house. What does post traumatic stress or vicarious trauma look like? Post traumatic stress and vicarious trauma are often the undesired precursor to burn out and burnout fatigue. Some people think of PTSD as what you see in the movies - jolting nightmares, big flashes of scenes in your mind. And for some it is. For most it's not. It's more like you find your mind wandering back to the session details. You feel like you're "thinking" or trying to figure it out. It may be a subconsious avoidant behavior - ask your partner or spouse if they notice anything. As a professional trauma therapist I have spent decades researching and learning about the impacts of trauma on my clients and on how to help them. Not sure what that is or where to start? I'm here for you just reach out!
Farah Kurji - BSW, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Licensed Social Worker, EMDR Certified EMDRIA Consultant, passionate about life!
Farah has been a therapist for over 20 years and is excited to support the new practitioners joining the field using specialized consulting and supervising trainings and research. Connect for a complimentary meet and greet HERE