How Important Is The Mental Health Of A Therapist?
This Doctors' day focuses on the problems faced by the therapists such as difficulty detaching from the clients and their problems, implicitly relating themselves to the client and their circumstances, emotional exhaustion, discrepancies in their morals and beliefs, fatigue and stress, not able to satisfy the over-the-top needs of their clients, and difficulty tending to their feelings and emotions. They have bad days too, where they feel overwhelmed by emotions, which could be due to several reasons such as family commitments, responsibilities or problems, relationship issues, workload, or some internal triggers due to a case they are dealing with currently. We don’t talk enough about the workload and the pressure in career development in the field of mental health. A lot of us come forward to advocate mental health but to keep up with the changing needs and build a genuine career in the field is not a cakewalk. There are numerous confusions for the students tending to the career options available, what to pursue, what not to pursue, how to choose a specialization, how to effectively work towards it, and finding internships in which they can learn and add value to their resumes, finding a job in a clinic or a hospital to get hands-on experience in handling clients and tending to their diverse problems, starting a private practice, freelancing, psycho-educating and maintaining a social media profile endorsing their ideologies and services. These are some of the challenges less talked about in addition to the emotional exhaustion a therapist might feel dealing with the clients
In order to tackle the workload a therapist might feel, they can seek proper guidance on how to keep up with the changing needs, such as educating themselves of the latest versions of diagnostic manuals, reading about the latest published journal articles to keep them aware of the therapy techniques researchers are studying about and anticipating effective results in practice, and join forums for therapists where various topics such as rare clinical cases, their experiences dealing with clients, the problems they face, and how they tackle with it are discussed sensitively and ethically. Listening to such discussions could pave the way to deal with their own psychological and other troubles, and if needed, they can initiate conversations that can help them do the same. Being in a professional network also helps one to look out for internships and other job opportunities. Setting up a private practice can also be overwhelming, in such cases, one can recruit help for scheduling appointments, preparing case reports, maintaining a social media profile, and marketing. Investing in the proper resources can go a long way in making the work easier and less bearable to deal with.
It’s important to identify the warning signs and set boundaries. First of all, therapists needn’t be ashamed of themselves when it comes to asking for help, because it’s human nature to learn to put up a strong front when everyone is expecting you to be that person who would move mountains to offer help, but one needs to understand it’s only human to feel exhausted, stressed or anxious, and asking help as they have been advocating all their careers would apply to them as well. The techniques they find effective can be used for them as well, and when the need arises, they can seek external help where they would be treated like they would treat someone. Here are some of the ways to keep the mental health of a therapist in check, taking enough breaks, staying close to nature and taking the due vacations, not allowing oneself to brain drain, practicing relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation, seeking the support of family and friends, indulging in mindful hobbies such as reading, journaling, and listening to music or podcasts, opening up about the struggles faced in the field and most importantly seeking therapy when necessary.