top of page

Effective Therapy Means Therapists Living Their Own Wellness Plan

Let’s start with – you and your felt sense that, as the therapist, you are the architect of the intervention rather than all the theories, models and clinical approaches you embrace. It is your presence, connection, attunement, and capacity to hold space where healing occurs. For many of our clients, trauma occurred by others. As a result, trauma causes fragmentation in memories which cannot be integrated subcortically. When this happens, attachment is implicated, with the nervous system and unintegrated memories below conscious awareness reading the inner and outer world from some form of a fear response state. Clients now read the present inside themselves, outside themselves and with others, from the past survival systems that unconsciously take over. For many of our clients, these have been well-developed early on in life. Looping back now, healing requires another person where the client’s inner and outer world can learn to develop safety, connection and a felt sense of attachment. At the same time, the client's nervous system is learning to remain present in the present, through the present and with the present, through another person, this healing begins. Holding space requires us to be well within our mind, body and spirit.

As therapists, our work can be demanding and emotionally draining. We are leaning into the depth of other profound human suffering and pain. This does have an impact on us and our humanity. Sustaining empathy in one’s deep human suffering does filter through our body and mind, impacting us. That's why we need to create a personal wellness plan to help us manage our stress levels and promote self-care. Taking the time to prioritize our mental and emotional health can help us be more productive, balanced, and successful in our roles. This blog post will explore the components of creating a personal wellness plan for therapists and counsellors.

Why therapist wellness is essential.

Therapist wellness is crucial not only for the mental and emotional well-being of the therapist but also for the effectiveness of the therapeutic process. Therapists must prioritize their self-care and well-being to provide the best possible care to their clients.

One of the critical reasons why therapist wellness is essential is that it increases focused mindfulness. When therapists take care of themselves, they are more present and engaged during therapy sessions, which enhances their ability to connect with their clients. By being fully present and mindful, therapists can better attune to their client's needs and create a safe and supportive therapeutic environment.

Moreover, therapist wellness supports the sustained attunement between the therapist and the client. Attunement refers to the therapist's ability to understand and respond empathetically to the client's emotions and experiences. When therapists are well-rested, emotionally regulated, and taking care of their own needs, they can better attune to their clients, leading to more meaningful therapeutic outcomes.

In addition, prioritizing therapist wellness also helps maintain a strong therapeutic alliance. The therapeutic alliance is the trusting and collaborative relationship between the therapist and the client. When therapists care for themselves, they can show up as their best selves in therapy sessions, creating a solid foundation for the therapeutic relationship to flourish.

Finally, therapist wellness is crucial for preventing countertransference reactions. Countertransference refers to the therapist's emotional reactions and projections on to the client. When therapists prioritize their self-care and engage in regular self-reflection, they can better manage their emotions and prevent them from interfering with the therapeutic process.

Pillars of a therapist wellness plan

To effectively serve our clients, therapists must prioritize their wellness. Creating a personal wellness plan can help therapists physically, mentally, and emotionally care for themselves.

The pillars of a therapist wellness plan are essential components that contribute to overall well-being.

One pillar is sleep; getting enough rest gives therapists the energy and mental clarity needed to engage with clients effectively. Another pillar is social connections outside of work. Building and nurturing relationships with friends, family, and colleagues can provide emotional support and a sense of community.

Exercise is another essential pillar of a therapist's wellness plan. Regular physical activity not only improves physical health but also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Healthy eating is also crucial, as proper nutrition fuels the body and mind, promoting overall well-being.

Consistent meditation practice is another pillar that can significantly benefit therapists. Mindfulness techniques can help therapists stay present and focused in their sessions, reducing burnout and enhancing therapeutic effectiveness.

Personal therapy is another pillar that therapists should prioritize. Engaging in therapy themselves allows therapists to address their issues and maintain a healthy emotional state, ultimately benefiting their clients.

Clinical supervision is also essential for therapist wellness. Regular supervision sessions allow therapists to receive support, guidance, and feedback, enhancing their professional growth and well-being.

Lastly, living a life of 'balance' is a pillar that should not be overlooked. Therapists need to engage in activities outside of work that bring joy and fulfillment. This could include hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing personal interests.

By incorporating these pillars into a therapist wellness plan, professionals can cultivate self-care, maintain focused mindfulness, and promote overall well-being. Prioritizing therapist wellness is crucial not only for the individual therapist but also for the clients they serve. When therapists take care of themselves, they are better equipped to provide their clients with the highest level of care, creating a win-win situation for all involved.

So, how motivated are you to your wellness plan?

Creating a Personal Wellness Plan for Therapists is crucial for maintaining mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Throughout this blog, we have explored the importance of therapist wellness and discussed the pillars of a therapist wellness plan. Now, it is time to reflect on your own motivation to implement and stick to a wellness plan.

Self-care is not a luxury but a necessity for therapists. It is easy to get caught up in the profession's demands, constantly prioritizing our client's needs over our own. However, remember you cannot withdraw from a bank account in ‘overdraft.’ By prioritizing self-care, we ensure we are in the best possible state to help others.

As you think about your motivation to implement a wellness plan, consider the benefits that come with it. By practicing self-care and incorporating wellness activities into your daily routine, you will enhance your overall well-being and become a more effective and mindfully present therapist.

Are you committed to structuring your life around wellness? Your commitment to your well-being will directly impact your ability to support and guide your clients. It is essential to be all in, not only for yourself but also for the clients who rely on you.

Living a life of balance is vital. When you prioritize your well-being, you model healthy behaviours and set an example for your clients. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup, but when your cup is full, you can significantly impact those around you.

So, take a moment to reflect on your motivation to implement and maintain a therapist wellness plan. Are you ready to prioritize self-care, commit to a structured wellness routine, and live a life of balance? The choice is yours, and the benefits are waiting. Remember, by taking care of yourself, you also take care of your clients, ultimately creating a positive ripple effect within the therapeutic community.

Be well and gentle peace to all in our field.


11 views0 comments
bottom of page