In Times of Uncertainty; Clinical Practice
H. Colodro and J. Oliver provide sound advice in their new book, A Guide to Self-Care for Practitioners in Times of Uncertainty. This 2020 New Harbinger publication is loaded with helpful suggestions on surviving, even thriving, in our time of struggle. Their core questions include: What do my clients need most now? Am I able to provide what is needed and do so effectively? What might I do regarding my own uncertainty and struggles? Here are some of their suggestions.
- Spend some time daily practicing self-compassion.
- Know what you are facing, and if you are in a position (emotionally) to provide what is needed.
- Recognize the effects of chronic stress on yourself and your clients. Make adjustments as needed.
- Work smart! Work with only what you have some control over and not what is beyond your control.
- Be sure to take good care of yourself: sleeping, eating, attending, worrying, being aware, obtaining social-emotional support, meditating/doing yoga, and holding onto a strong sense of consciousness.
- Check in with yourself. Ask: How am I doing right now? Why did I react emotionally to that? etc.
- Release yourself from a “fix-it” mentality. Rather focus on emotion regulation, stability, and safety.
- Be there with your own, personal losses, sadness and fear. Deal with these and seek help when needed.
- If appropriate, include happiness-enhancing activities and skills in your therapy.
- Recognize the reality of impermanence in all things, including current problems and yourself.
- Settle into a more self-caring flexible outlook. If possible, work less. Take breaks! Do not over-extend.
- If you experience psychological exhaustion or failure in behavioral activation, seek support and consider doing more telehealth rather than live, person-to-person therapy. Cut back if necessary.
- Follow all guidelines regarding masks, gloves, social distancing, disinfecting, etc.
- Consider using “good enough” standards in your work in these times. See D.W. Winnicott for details.
- Remain safe, calm, competent, and helpful in your work.
- Consider using the same breathing training techniques you teach to your clients on yourself.
- When you feel stuck or sucked-into the craziness of the times, use CBT-M (CBT with mindfulness) on yourself.
- If you feel overwhelmed, hopeless, etc. seek your own clinical help.
Refer to Colodro, H. and Oliver, J. (2020). A Guide to Self-Care for Practitioners in Times of Uncertainty. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness