Therapy for People in Helping Professions
If you are working as a person who helps others, you have probably had some experiences that have shown you how incredibly rewarding it can be to see others grow, learn, and heal. You have also probably had some experiences that have shown you how hard it is to show up for other people day after day, and the degree to which you need your own care system in place to sustain that level of giving.
In helping professions, we see it all - the beauty, the heartbreak, the breakthroughs, the loss. It can take a huge emotional toll if you aren't practicing enough self care and receiving enough care from others, as well as having reasonable boundaries with your work. Often times what brings someone to the place of wanting to be in a helping profession is personal experiences and wounds. You may have a desire to give back, to help others heal as you have, or to give people the support that you didn't receive in the past and know is necessary. And you may find that your own material is evoked by your work. It can get messy, you can get triggered, and you may even experience vicarious trauma symptoms (also known as compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress). At its worse, you may find yourself in a state of burn out - feeling cynical, easily irritated, hopeless, and completely out of touch with why you chose this path in the first place. Healers are typically people who give A LOT and often have a hard time making boundaries. You know how the airplane safety instructions say: Put your own mask on first before assisting others? Yeah... words to live by if you are making this your life-long path.
You could be a front-line social worker, in healthcare as an acupuncturist, nurse, doctor, or midwife, a tarot reader, an intuitive, a teacher, a lawyer, a first responder, doing in home care, an EMT, or practicing any kind of helping work on a regular basis. If you are feeling burnt out or overwhelmed, know that you deserve and need a care system to hold you and the powerful work you are doing, just like your clients, patients, or students need the same.
In our therapy together, we can focus on issues that arise from the kind of life path you are walking, or you may just want to see a therapist who understands the intricacies of your work as you focus your therapy on other aspects of your life.
Laura Northrup, LMFT // (510) 229-4429 // 445 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA