The role of a psychotherapist is rewarding and demanding. It takes a special individual to pursue a career dedicated to people’s complex psychological needs. Every working individual needs boundaries in their schedules for downtime, but these boundaries are easy to overlook when your job is to look after the needs of others. Serving others’ therapeutic needs is fulfilling, but it doesn’t lessen the needs of a therapist as an individual outside of work.
Therefore, practicing self-care as a psychotherapist is essential, and the best form of self-care is to establish a balance between your work life and personal life. Explore these simple, effective tips on how to achieve work-life balance as a psychotherapist to avoid burnout and optimize your therapeutic practice.
Setting boundaries with clients who are dependent can be a challenge for a clinical mental health counselor. Establishing a routine schedule with a client at the beginning of a counseling relationship is important. If boundaries are in place, you’re more likely to prioritize self-care and personal time outside of work.
Use a Support Network
Even mental health professionals require additional support for their emotional well-being. If working with a specific client is difficult, get in touch with another qualified professional to help you navigate the case. Having peers in the psychotherapy field is also beneficial; great networking sources include professional associations such as the American Counsel Association.
Have Outside Interests
Dedicated professionals run the risk of burnout when they max out their workloads with no buffer in between. Consider adjusting your schedule to incorporate outside interests into your daily life. Starting or revisiting a hobby such as sports or artmaking is important for personal fulfilment and intrinsic satisfaction. If you’re time constrained from personal obligations outside of work, consider therapeutic practices such as meditation, Pilates, or even a brisk morning walk to invest in time for yourself.
As a mental health professional, you apply yourself each day to improving the well-being of individuals with a myriad of issues. Maintaining your own well-being to continue serving others to the best of your professional abilities is important. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or experiencing symptoms of burnout, you owe it to yourself achieve a measure of work-life balance to ensure the health of your clinical and personal lives.