In our daily lives we juggle a multitude of roles. Professionally we are called counsellors. As counsellors we spend our time working with and assisting people on bettering their lives and living more healthfully. We do this in real time while we are working with these clients in an individual counselling session, while we are involved in case consultations pertaining to these clients, while we write assessment reports, and case notes; we spend a great deal of our time investing in client change.
For most therapists, this professional role is not the only identity that we hold. Some are also business owners, teachers, volunteers, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and students. With this vast array of roles that we juggle it is paramount that we find balance in our lives. This is a rudimentary skill that we thrive to teach our clients. Do we not deserve the same principles for ourselves?
It is important to be mindful of keeping ourselves well balanced so we are fully there for our clients, and other important relationships. Several authors have written and discussed the importance of self-compassion, in particular, in healthcare professionals and how this positively relates to providing better client-centered care and better personal overall health (Boellinghaus, Jones, & Hutton, 2014); (Macbeth & Gumley, 2012). Boellinghaus, Jones, and Hutton (2014) found that healthcare providers who incorporate mindfulness and loving-kindness meditations on a regular basis were more present for their clients and had a greater sense of self-compassion.
According to Neff (2015) it is necessary to have compassion for oneself in order to be better equipped at being compassionate for others. She provides some interesting exercises that foster self-compassion. One of these is called “exploring self-compassion through writing,” whereby an individual writes to himself/herself about his/her insecurities and feelings of inadequacy from a place of acceptance and compassion (Neff, 2015).
Therefore the topics of self-compassion and mindfulness are significant in the work that we do as counsellors as they allows us to be more comfortable with our own humanity as well as be more understanding of the population(s) that we serve.
Boellinghaus, I., Jones, F.W., & Hutton, J. (2014). The role of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation in cultivating self-compassion and other-focused concern in healthcare professionals. Mindfulness, 5(2), p.129-138. doi 10.1007/s12671-012-0158-6
MacBeth, A., & Gumley, A. (2012). Exploring compassion: a meta-analysis of the association between self-compassion and psychopathology. Clinical Psychology, 32(6), p.545-552. 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.06.003
Neff, K. (2015). Centre for mindful self-compassion. [Data file]. Retrieved from http://self-compassion.org/
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA