Expert Counseling for Helping Professionals in Austin, Texas
At Relationships Matter Therapy- Austin, our licensed clinicians provide a confidential and compassionate environment for professionals on the front lines.
We are dedicated to providing support and counseling to those on the front lines who have dedicated their careers to helping others: teachers, mental health counselors, doctors, hair stylists, attorneys, social workers, psychologists, nurses, advocates, police officers, massage therapists, personal trainers, and many more (and yes, we recognize that those in the service industry are helping professionals as well!)
Helping professionals face unique challenges and stressors, as your daily work helping others is often emotionally and physically taxing. You face a lot of challenges, many unique to your profession. These are some of the most typical problems that you as a helping professional may face:
Relationship stress, problems with kids, and work burdens are all just as likely for you as for everyone else. You are not immune to anger, grief, or worry, and you carry no special protection against tragedy.
The stress of handling potential conflicts with your patients and clients (dual relationships or duty to report child abuse, for example) is a huge weight that you carry. Sometimes you are put in the position of having to choose between two unpleasant outcomes, or sometimes between your clients’ feelings and the law’s requirements.
Other People’s Emotional Burdens
Because your work is confidential, you can’t share too many specifics to unload the stuff you hear each day. You might be able to tell your partner you’ve had a rough day, give a vague comment, maybe state you’re helping someone with a terrible trauma, but that’s it. Clinical supervision can help, but not all everyone receives such supervision. Simply put, you can’t confide in your spouse or friends the way people in many other jobs can, so the heaviness of the day lingers even after you go home.
Because of these confidentiality restrictions, you must frequently keep work-related stress to yourself. You can feel increasingly isolated with troubling thoughts or worries. Many times our family members just don’t get what we do and the mental and emotional toll it can take on us. In addition, some helping professionals work alone in private practices, so they don’t even have the benefit of a brief water-cooler check-in with a coworker. Or maybe you are a supervisor overseeing other staff. It can be a lonely job.
Separation of Personal Life from Work
Just as you can’t share your clients or patients’ confidential information, you also cannot share your own personal lives with clients. This means you can’t tell clients if you’re having an off day, suffering a headache, or feeling grumpy. Most jobs require such professionalism, of course, but helping professionals have to be on guard constantly. You must remain neutral throughout your day. This neutrality is unnatural in most other relationships, and understandably leads to strain.
Some clients have challenges that cause severe interpersonal difficulties, but unlike other jobs, such as customer service, therapists can’t just refuse to serve someone whose behavior seems out of line. Especially once the relationship is established, there are strict guidelines to prevent clients being abandoned. This means stressful relationships with difficult people can go on for a long time, sometimes years, before they meet criteria for ethical termination or transfer.
If self care has been hard to find time for, you may be experiencing “burn out” or compassion fatigue. We are here to support you and help you manage the stressors of your job.
Some of the symptoms of “burn out” or compassion fatigue may include: poor self-care, lack of motivation, mental and physical exhaustion, bottling up emotions, feeling disconnected, sleep difficulties, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, depression, and an overall feeling of frustration or lack of connection to your clients and your work. As a helping professional, you may also find that some of your own unresolved traumas or issues may come up.
We can help you have more understanding and insight into your feelings of overwhelm, process your experience, and develop healthy coping skills for you to practice daily.
You can start to feel relief and create new coping strategies today!