My work life is split between coaching cancer patients and their families, and private general psychotherapy practice. In both domains, the clients who come to see me are often in the midst of major life transitions. Their stories can be heart wrenching. I could easily get lost in their suffering, Take it on and bring it home with me. Or worse, become so detached that it ceases to affect me at all. Both alternatives would impact my wellbeing and my longevity as a practitioner. There is no perfect formula for keeping the fire in the belly alive in my clinical work. Mitigating compassion fatigue is not simply about finding the perfect job and job/life balance, or staying healthy through self-care, nurturing relationships and mindfulness. It is about finding joy and meaning in the work I do.
The three pillars of my clinical practice are sand, story and solidarity. Sand represents the Sand Tray Therapy that brings creativity, joy and lightness to the work, even with clients who have experienced significant trauma. Story represents Narrative Therapy and my own writing, which help me to find truth and beauty in client’s stories. Solidarity comes from the practitioner community that I belong to, my lifeboat of support. I meet with like-minded practitioners regularly, through group supervision and collaborative practice groups. Having a therapeutic community sustains my practice, keeps me grounded and bridges the isolation of clinical work. Continue reading
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA