Being a therapist is a fulfilling career but can also be very demanding. As therapists, we regularly meet many clients who come to us for help with their problems, which can be emotionally and physically draining. It’s no surprise that burnout is common in the mental health profession. The constant exposure to distress can be overwhelming and even lead to secondary traumatization, resulting in insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, therapists should also seek therapy themselves.
Problems Therapists Face
Just like everyone else, we experience the stress of relationships, parenting challenges, and work-related burdens. Even therapists are not immune to emotions like anger, grief, or worry, and we are not shielded from tragedy in any special way.
As therapists, we often keep our work-related stress to ourselves as we must keep what we hear in therapy confidential. However, this can lead to feelings of isolation and troubling thoughts. Moreover, many therapists work alone in private practices, making it difficult to have brief check-ins with coworkers. Thus, therapy can be a lonely job.
Separation of Work and Personal Life
Just as we can’t disclose our client’s confidential information, we also cannot share our personal lives with clients. This means we cannot tell clients if we are experiencing personal issues such as a bad day, headache, or feeling grumpy. As therapists, we must maintain a constant state of professionalism and remain neutral at all times, which can sometimes cause us to feel strained.
As a therapist, it can be challenging to work with clients who struggle with severe interpersonal difficulties. Unlike other jobs, therapists cannot simply refuse to serve someone whose behavior seems inappropriate. Stricter guidelines are in place to prevent clients from being abandoned, especially after a relationship has been established. This means that stressful relationships with difficult people may continue for extended periods before meeting the criteria for ethical termination or transfer.
Benefits of Therapy for Therapists
Support From a Colleague
Being a therapist can be an isolating profession with unique demands. That’s why finding a fellow professional who comprehends the challenges of the job is an excellent source of comfort and support. Moreover, seeking assistance from a therapist with a similar background can be advantageous for many.
As therapists, we find it difficult to focus on our own issues as we are preoccupied with our client’s concerns. This can be mentally exhausting, and we may lack the motivation to address our own problems. Seeking help from a neutral party can aid you in maintaining good self-care and gaining valuable insight.
Deal With Personal Problems
Therapists often have to maintain a professional demeanor at work, but therapy sessions provide us with a chance to address our own personal issues, similar to the support we offer our clients. Simply setting aside time for this purpose can have a significant impact.
Working as a therapist can be very fulfilling, but the same factors that make it rewarding can also be emotionally exhausting. Therapy not only helps with burnout or secondary traumatization, but it also allows us to deal with personal issues. We all need support from others no matter who we are and shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help whenever we need it. We’re all human, after all.
Looking for something to assist with Burnout Prevention? Check out our Therapist Reflective Journal by clicking here!