Therapists are People, Too
by Martin Miron
Therapists know that it is necessary to take good care of their own mental health, because their clients depend on them. Just because a practitioner may know everything there is to know about stress management doesn’t mean they can’t become mentally exhausted.
Regina Bright, LMHC, owner of Stepping Stones Professional Counseling, in Mary Esther, has been working in the mental health field as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board Certified Sex Therapist, Clinical Supervisor, Parent Coordinator and Certified Florida Supreme Court Family Mediator. She states, “I listen to clients in crisis for many hours a day, providing support, empathy, interpretation and direction. Therapists can easily lose track of their own issues, ignore their own problems and at times, have a difficult time shutting off the therapeutic process.”
If a therapist should begin to feel any “depersonalization” toward clients, or even themself, it might be a symptom of emotional fatigue. Bright enumerates a few ways that she likes to stay balanced.
“I use my colleagues’ expertise regularly. We go to lunch and consult each other on difficult cases. We bounce around different techniques and approaches that could heighten the therapeutic process.
“I belong to many professional organizations and am very involved in my community. I feel that if I have the support of my community, then I am not alone in my journey.
“I enjoy spending time with my family. Going to the beach and reading or walking is especially refreshing. I take two trips a year with the family, and then one with just my husband.
“I have developed many friendships over the years, and I enjoy spending time with many different groups of people. I am very thankful for the friendships that I have made.
“In college, I could do everything that came to my mind. I achieved more things in one day than most people did in a week. Now, I want to balance giving and getting—with attention to my family, friends, spouse, community and solitude.”
As a mental health professional, self-care is a minimum standard of professional practice, and Bright insists that her clients deserve to be served by a healthy, well-balanced health care professional.
To contact Stepping Stones Professional Counseling call 850-226-6430.