Why Clinical Counselors Need to Care for Their Own Mental Health, Too
Throughout your life as a clinical counselor, you will experience many challenging situations that drain you physically and mentally. For this reason, taking care of your own mental health is crucial. It helps you to do your job better and longer, and it allows you to provide the best service you can. Aside from going to therapy, practicing self-care, and building up a support network, you should consider professional and general liability insurance to protect yourself from risk.
Being properly insured can allow you to focus on helping your clients without being constantly worried about the risks associated with your work. General liability protects you from third-party injury or damages, for example, if someone slips and falls while at your office. Professional liability covers you if you make a mistake, including through being overworked or tired. Even with insurance, though, you need to be looking out for your own mental health.
Why Does a Clinical Counselor Need to Take Care of their Mental Health?
There are many reasons why a counselor needs to keep a close eye on their own health and mental space. It’s hard to help other people when you’re feeling down, so cultivating great self-awareness is one of the primary ways you improve your counseling sessions. Working with your own therapist and taking great care of yourself can reduce your risk of burnout and minimize the negative impact of your job on your life.
What’s more, it can prevent you from ending up in a lawsuit, since you’ll be much less likely to make a mistake when you’re in great shape mentally. Getting therapy, taking care of your mind and body, leaning on your support network, and protecting your professional reputation can allow you to be the best counselor possible and avoid preventable errors.
Provide the Best Service Possible
No counselor can provide great advice and service if they have not examined and resolved most of their own issues. For this reason, getting therapy is a mandatory part of professional training in most areas. However, it can pay off to keep looking after yourself even once you’re qualified. Hiring a great therapist, protecting yourself against losses, and leading a healthy lifestyle will help you work more effectively with your patients.
In therapy, you will be able to examine your blind spots, your triggers, and your weaknesses, so you can recognize them while counseling others. That way, you are better able to examine your patients’ issues in a neutral way, and you can avoid over or under-reacting to certain issues. You will also benefit from more intimate knowledge about the therapy experience, and you’ll be able to empathize with your patients at every stage of the process.
Minimize the Impact Your Profession Has on Your Life
While many professionals in other jobs can go home and forget about their work, this is rarely possible with counseling. You are working with some of the most intimate and traumatic issues in people’s lives, which is bound to affect you mentally. Depending on the types of patients you work with, you might even experience secondary traumatization as you help them to work through tragic situations.
By making sure that you are in a healthy frame of mind and liability insurance, you can prevent other people’s issues from taking over your own life and negatively affecting your relationships. You will be able to switch off and enjoy your time with your loved ones more if you have taken care of yourself first.
Reduce the Risk of Burnout
As discussed, working as a counselor can have a significant toll on you mentally, and it can even lead to trauma in extreme cases. For this reason, the rate of burnout in this profession is higher than average. In fact, the American Psychological Association conducted a study on burnout, and they found that between 21% and 61% of practitioners experience some symptoms of the condition.
These figures can be scary, especially as being burned out will likely affect you for the rest of your life. You should therefore do all you can to ensure you practice your profession with peace of mind and you don’t put undue pressure on yourself. Protect yourself from losses and work with a qualified therapist, who can spot the warning signs and help you optimize your self-care routine.
Reduce the Risk of Becoming Involved in a Lawsuit
A clinical counselor can work in mental health for many decades. In fact, some people prefer older counselors, since they have more experience and can therefore advise their patients better. But unfortunately, many professionals are sued due to mistakes at work.
Aside from seeing a great therapist, purchasing professional and general liability insurance can take the pressure off and allow you to do your job without worrying about the risks. When you’re in great mental shape and you have the protection you need, you are much less likely to make a mistake that could put your career and your license at risk by being the target of a lawsuit.
How Can You Take Care of Yourself?
Now you know why it’s so important to take care of yourself when working as a counselor, you might wonder what the best strategies are. Since you are a busy professional, keeping it simple is best. Ideally, you should have regular appointments with a highly skilled therapist, practice self-care, build up a great support network among family and friends, and have a level of insurance cover that will give you peace of mind while you’re working.
Go to Therapy
Attending therapy is crucial for counselors since it allows them to stay on top of their game at all times. It can be difficult to squeeze in a session every week, especially at the beginning of your career when you’re trying to work with as many patients as possible. But early prevention can be the key to long-term success, and therapy works best when you don’t start after you already have significant trauma. Some therapist specialize in working with therapists and clinical counselors so you can find one that is the right fit.
A great therapist will help you work through your personal issues as well as the problems that come up during your workday. If you have a particularly difficult case, they can assist you as you untangle your feelings related to your patient and their problems. Over the years, this can make your work much easier and more successful.
Self-care is a buzz word these days and can come in many different forms. A key practice for counselors is setting strong boundaries with your patients and other work commitments, so you can find time for recharging. Other self-care practices include listening to your body to know when you need to make adjustments to your sleep, exercise and food habits. Staying in tune with your body and mind can help give your body all it needs to remain healthy.
Many people thrive when they have a fun activity outside of work. Making time for hobbies can enrich your life and help you improve your mental health.
Build Up a Network
As a clinical counselor, you are working with people on a daily basis. Sometimes, you will go through weeks or months that are extremely difficult, and you will need to lean on your friends and family. Make sure you have a strong support network for these times, as this can prevent burnout or depression when things get tough.
Get Insurance and Protect Yourself
Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your health, having a great insurance policy can be the key to reducing your stress levels. Counselors know that they are putting themselves at risk every day. What you discuss with your patients alters their life significantly, and if you make a bad decision, or they perceive some of your advice differently than you intended it, they could get hurt. What’s more, the people that visit your office could accidentally get injured, or their personal items might get damaged.
It can be very stressful to know that you might face a lawsuit if you make a mistake. That’s why you should get the best general and professional liability insurance available.
NOW Insurance provides insurance that is simple, fast and affordable. You’ll be surprised at how little you have to pay for peace of mind. Get a quick online quote from our application.
Get Peace of Mind
Taking care of yourself might take on many forms, and it could start with going to therapy and practicing regular self-care. You should also have a strong support network around you since your friends and family will contribute to your health in important ways. And while you take care of your mental health, remember that having good professional and general liability insurance will ensure peace of mind as you work.
Contact us today to learn more about insurance for mental health professionals.