Balancing Professional and Personal Lives through Self-Care

Module Sections:

Challenges and Risks of Home-Based Therapy

In Macchi, O'Conner, and Petersen's (2008) review they identified some of the specific challenges associated with home-based family therapy.

The activity occurring within the home such as unexpected visitors, the phone ringing or the television volume can provide the therapist with information about the family's home life. These types of activities can easily become distractions for the therapist and create disruptions to the therapy process. The therapist is also able to use certain daily life activities as therapeutic moments to assist families with the alleviation of a current crisis and help them to develop skills and reinforce the empowerment necessary to address crises on their own with a different circumstance (Cherniss & Herzog, 1996).

The therapeutic relationship between the therapist and family members is an important part of the therapeutic process. The relationship within the office begins with the family accommodating to the therapist's familiarity with his/her domain of practice. In the family's home, however, that relationship begins with the therapist as the guest accommodating to the family's familiar environment. These experiences often create anxiety for the therapist. Issues of safety, perceived lack of control over the environment, and the distances traveled to get to the home produce a degree of anxiety and stress that the therapist must manage to effectively engage in the therapeutic process. Having an effective, personalized self-care plan can help the therapist manage some of the stress, and focus on the joys and rewards of practice.

However, there are challenges and risks associated with therapy in general that are also significant for Home therapy. We have identified a few of the potential hazards/challenges that the practice of therapy poses to you as well as your family. Please see Ofer Zur (2003) for more of the challenges.