101897: Surviving or Thriving: Promoting a Culture of Therapist Self-Care

IAEDP Symposium 2011

About the Course:

Webinar from the 2011 International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Symposium.

Therapist self-care may seem like an unaffordable luxury or another time-consuming chore. When ignored, self-neglect may lead to burn-out, negligence, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and more. Self-care practices are imperative to compliance with ethics codes and to the provision of state-of-the-art services. The demands of our profession (e.g., vicarious trauma, long hours, maintenance of confidentiality, ongoing liability, etc.) call for therapists to address areas of self-neglect. Explore the ethics of self-care, uncover barriers to self-care practices, develop a realistic individualized self-care plan, and take part in the paradigm shift toward therapist well-being in psychological services settings.

1. Introduction 1. Presenters 2. From Surviving to Thriving 2. Ethics and Imperatives of Self Care 1. Multidisciplinary Professional Guidelines 2. Damage to Clients, Therapists, and Our Profession 3. Roadblocks and Thoroughfares 1. Personal Life 2. Professional Practice 3. Clients 4. Community 5. Multicultural Considerations 4. Real Life Resolutions 1. What Is Well-Being? 2. Caring Cultures in The Workplace 3. Wellness Regimen 5. Next Steps

Proposal Abstract: The Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association (2003) requires that psychologists do not engage in professional activities when personal problems might interfere with competence. Further, the ethics code requires that psychologists take actions to address these problems or consider termination of duties. The impact of neglect on clinicians is significant long before it may reach the notice of ethical boards: loss of enthusiasm, exhaustion, anxiety, clinical depression, addictions, stress-related illnesses, and suicide are some of the documented outcomes of therapist self-neglect. The impact on clients is wide-ranging including ethical and boundary violations, irritability with clients, making mistakes, and dehumanizing vulnerable clients. Yet barriers to self-care exist even within a profession promoting wellness. Shame often prevents novice and seasoned therapists from seeking the help of supervisors, therapists, and peers. With a focus on others’ mental health problems, subsequent healing, and maintenance of well-being, therapists often develop a blind spot hiding one’s own needs and relative weaknesses. Stigma within the profession has polarized the categories of client and therapist, defining who may ask for help. Surprisingly, most clinicians report that self-care was not taught in graduate programs.

Treatment of eating disorders is particularly challenging. Clients often present with serious psychopathology including suicidality and personality disorders; the threat of litigation is ever-present; and, while the positives of a cohesive treatment community are many, one negative aspect is that it may be difficult to express problems to colleagues due to confidentiality concerns. Tools, resources, support, and reframing of the self-care problem are essential to moving the profession toward the ever-evolving wellness ideal.

Following this presentation participants will be able to explore and explain the ethics of the self-care imperative; identify difficulties impacting professional well-being; and will emerge from the workshop with a written plan of specific, personal and practical wellness initiatives to increase the ability to thrive as an eating disorder professional.
Questions:

1. The APA has specific guidelines regarding professional self care expections. * True * False 2. Eating disorder therapists regularly encounter medical and psychological complications beyond their knowledge. * True * False 3. Mindful awareness of ones’ body can decrease stress. * True * False 4. It is possible to improve brain functioning by training the mind. * True * false 5. Relaxation is all that is required to recover from burnout. * true * false 6. Therapist do not experince stress reactions to client experience * true * false 7. Singing is a method of sensory regulation * true * false 8. Many therapists report the following form of financial distress * too much money coming in * Insurance companies encouraging longer treatment times * interoffice politics * the conflict of service and the need for financial compensation 9. An important function for for eating disorder therapists is: * bookkeeping * helping clients to learn to read * role modelling consistent self care * explain why insurance companies won’t pay for treatment 10. Stress managment is necessary to * achieve full eating disorder recovery * to be a therapist treating eating disorders * to optimize immune system performance * all of the above 11. Alexithymia can impair ones ability to provide effective self care due to * emotional over involvement * diffuculites accurately asssessing emotional experience * a rich fantasy life * intimate relationships 12. A culture of self care provides * adequate time and resources to attend to self care * emphasizes the importance of ongoing self care * encouragment for personal and professional growth * all of the above 13. A plan of self care must include * regular movement * frequent doctors visits * a team of professional and personal supports * both 1 and 3 14. Therapists report being significantly afraid of: * a client commiting suicide * a client would need unavailable resources * a colleauge being critical of their work with a client * all of the above

Note: For this course there is a small additional fee to obtain the webinar. Please see the “Get Course Materials” link in the right sidebar for details.

Authors

Jonna M. Fries (presenter); Nancy Anderson Dolan (presenter)

About the Authors:

Dr. Jonna Fries has been an enthusiastic member of IAEDP for five years. A postdoctoral intern at University Counseling Services at California State University, Northridge, Dr. Fries provides counseling services to students and consulting services to a peer education program, Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating. Dr. Fries presented this summer at the American Psychological Association with a video illustrating her work with Integrative Body Psychotherapy. Dr. Fries is also an adjunct faculty member of the Chicago School of Psychology. She has developed a group therapy treatment manual with a multicultural perspective for those with BED, obesity, and body image distress.

Nancy Anderson Dolan began supporting people in therapy in 1979, volunteering while she studied for her Psychology degree. 30 years later, Anderson Dolan has worked with diverse populations, all the while addressing issues of trama, addiction and disordered eating within other programs and eating disorder treatment centers. An obsessive learner, she has trained in a wide variety of areas including trauma, addiction, brain chemistry opimization with Robertson Wellness Institute, as well as extensive speaker training. She also brings her personal 20+ of recovery from compulsive eating. Currently, the Alberta Provincal Health Services has contracted Anderson Dolan to provide the only food addiction information offering in the province.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, therapists, and counselors who seek to update their research knowledge and competency in treating patients with eating disorders, increase and acquire new skills, learn new intervention strategies, and obtain continuing education credits. It is appropriate for professionals at all levels of knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to explore and explain the ethics of the self-care imperative and the mechanics of creating a culture of self-care.

  2. Following this presentation participants will be able to identify difficulties impacting professional well-being.

  3. Each participant will emerge from the workshop with a written plan of specific, personal, and practical wellness initiatives to increase their ability to thrive as an eating disorder professional.

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