This one is for all my therapists out there - especially for the ones in private practice and outpatient! If you are reading this then we are in the same boat and understand that becoming addicted to your work and your craft can happen very easily. Why? It is the idea that you can feel you are in competition with all the surrounding therapists in your area and the need to consistently excel while also striving for an ideal caseload for yourself. We at Orlando Thrive Therapy are here to tell you that sometimes being a great therapist is also being a great therapist for yourself. Even so, many mental health counselors pursue therapy for themselves.
Being “addicted” to being a helper can come from the unstable urge to help others and improve the lives of others - but what about yourself? Don’t you deserve to have an improved life as well and live your best life as well? ABSOLUTELY. The need to be a therapist is a great reason to join the mental health field but it also means you need to have a need to put yourself first. So how do you become the best therapist for yourself and fight against any work addiction or burnout you may feel? Start with boundary setting and let your clients know when they can or cannot reach you. You set your own boundaries and the clients are coming to you-they will respect them. If you start viewing your clients as self-care for yourself then this is a start to work addiction and burnout. Clarify that boundary with yourself. Also, know that there are five days in the workweek. You do not need to see everyone in a single day and you can spread and space out clients based on what works for you too. Always start by suggesting a time that works for you and then go from there.
In terms of trainings, they will be there! You already have a license and a graduate degree so you are more than qualified to be a therapist. Training will always be offered and you can take time for them but time you can’t get back is time for yourself. Value yourself, value your skillset, and value the time needed for you. Mental health counselors who pursue therapy can gain insight and more understanding of themselves and others. There's no room to improve if you don't take time for yourself. You deserve it and by doing this you are being the best therapist for yourself and your clients!
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.