In order to effectively help at-risk individuals recover, addictions counsellors must be completely present and self-aware. As the nature of the counselling profession centers on helping others, it is extremely important for addictions counsellors to practice good self-care in order to effectively guide their clients towards recovery.
If you’re considering a rewarding career as an addictions counsellor, read on to learn more about self-care.
The Risk of Not Making Time for Self-Care After Addictions Counsellor Courses
One of the effects of neglecting self-care is burnout, which is emotional and physical exhaustion due to being overworked, under stress, and stretched too thin in the workplace. Signs of burnout can include fatigue, poor job satisfaction, isolation from loved ones, and even resentment (Barnett, 2015).
In addition to burnout, addictions counsellors also need to be aware of secondary trauma and compassion fatigue; both can arise when self-care is not made a priority. Secondary trauma is the lasting emotional effect that can occur when a client confides in you about a trauma that is similar to one you experienced in your past, and compassion fatigue is the emotional weight you feel when you can’t effectively release your clients’ challenges and issues (NADTA, 2017). After earning your diploma in addiction counselling, you can avoid suffering from burnout, secondary trauma, and compassion fatigue by practicing good self-care.
Be Attentive to Your Physical and Mental Health After Addictions Counsellor Courses
One of the first steps in practicing good self-care after addictions counsellor training is ensuring you’re in good health. Making time to exercise and move your body, whether it’s by hiking, taking a yoga class, or going for a bike ride, will help your body produce mood-boosting endorphins. Eating well is also important, as not fueling your body correctly can lead to having low energy, which may make you feel tired and uninspired at work. Addictions clients pose an added degree of difficulty, as they are prone to relapse. An inexperienced counsellor may begin to believe they are ineffective when clients relapse.
Mental health therefore is also important. It’s not uncommon for counsellors to themselves seek counselling sessions on a regular basis. So, if you find yourself struggling to manage your work and personal life, counselling is an excellent idea (Barnett, 2015). In addition, activities like journaling or self-reflection exercises can help you decompress and clear your mind after a long day.
Create Appropriate Boundaries Between Your Personal and Professional Life
Practicing self-care should always include establishing healthy boundaries between your personal and professional life. Because many addictions clients have a variety of challenging problems, many addictions counsellors take their work home with them by taking calls from clients during off-time, thinking about work when with loved ones, or scheduling appointments when they aren’t supposed to be available (Barnett, 2015).
While you may believe crossing the threshold between your personal and professional time allows you to provide better support to your clients, it could actually take away from the quality of the counselling you provide. By making sure your personal time is completely free of work, you’ll be able to show up for your sessions focussed, refreshed, and ready to give your clients your full attention (Barnett, 2015).
Overall, good self-care stems from dedicating time to your own needs and interests, so that you can stay refreshed and energized throughout your career.
Do you want to help individuals struggling with addiction recover and live empowered and fulfilling lives?
Contact Rhodes Wellness College to learn more about taking addictions counsellor training in Vancouver!
Barnett, J. E. (2015). Distress, Therapist Burnout, Self-care, and the Promotion of Wellness for Psychotherapists and Trainees: Issues, Implications, and Recommendations. Retrieved from http://societyforpsychotherapy.org/distress-therapist-burnout-self-care-promotion-wellness-psychotherapists-trainees-issues-implications-recommendations/
NADTA. (2017). Self-Care for Therapists. Retrieved from http://www.nadta.org/membership/selfcare-for-therapists.html