Balancing Professional and Personal Lives through Self-Care

Module Sections:

Strengths and Rewards of Home-Based Therapy

In recent review of literature, Macchi, O'Conner, & Petersen, (2008) discussed some of the specific strengths associated with practicing therapy within the home:

Home-based therapy is being recognized as a viable mode of therapy, specifically in instances when families are at risk for children being placed outside of the home (Jordan, Alvarado, Braley, & Williams, 2001). HBFT is a specialized therapeutic service delivery that utilizes the natural environment of a family's home and community, offers ways to overcome barriers to service provision, and creates opportunities for direct translation of therapeutic processes into a family's daily living. The therapeutic process within the home takes on a different tone and direction than the process occurring in the office. The therapist is able to observe natural interactions and use those interactions to create immediate interventions. The interactions can provide the therapist an opportunity to raise the family's awareness of an issue and engage the members in specific, change-making behaviors. The focus of home-based treatments expands to address the family as the client and the family system as the focus of intervention.

(Macchi, O'Conner, & Petersen, 2008)

However, there are also strengths and rewards in the practice of therapy in general which are significant for Home therapy. One rewarding quality of the work was documented by Radeke and Mahoney (2000) who found that therapists were enriched emotionally by their work. In addition, compared to the rapid obsolescence of technical knowledge, therapists have skills that can increase in value with age, a reality described by senior practitioners of average age 74 (Rønnestad & Skovholt, 2001).Skovholt (2001) explains some of the rewards of practicing therapy as hitting a bulls-eye of success with a client. Kramen-Kahn and Hansen (1998) identified some occupational rewards as:

  • 93% promoting growth in a client
  • 79% enjoyment of work
  • 76% opportunity to continue to learn
  • 73% challenging work
  • 71% professional autonomy—independence
  • 61% increased self-knowledge
  • 56% variety in work and cases
  • 56% personal growth
  • 51% sense of emotional intimacy
  • 39% being a role model and mentor

Focusing on the rewards of practice, and to your higher purpose, is a wonderful way of managing some of the hazards associated with being a Home therapist. People who cope well with stress have a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives (Nicely, 2004). It is therefore important to value what you may find important and purposeful in your life.

The quality of our life is influenced by the degree of purpose and engagement one feels at any given time. The process of increasing your sense of meaning and purpose in life involves defining "success" and making very hard choices in light of limitations to time and energy (Baker, 2003) and that include finding time for self care.