Challenges to Therapist Self-Care with In-Home Work

Module Sections:

Building Personal Awareness

The following three self-assessments are available for you to build greater awareness of your current well-being and the level of distress that you may be experiencing as a result of your work. The first self-assessment asks basic questions to screen for advancing to the subsequent assessments. If you answer yes to these initial questions, then we suggest that you use the following assessments to explore your experience in more detail.

Brief Screening

Please take some time now to briefly ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How do you know if you are approaching burnout?
    • Are you experiencing any of the following therapeutic warning signs of burnout:
    • Are you feeling numb?
    • Do you find yourself irritated by certain clients who were not previously annoying?
  2. Are you battling depression or dysthymia that is exacerbated by or influencing your clinical work?
  3. How do you remedy your own stress and possible burnout?

Self-Assessment Questionnaires (Barnett, Johnson, & Hillard, 2005)

This is another brief screening tool Self-Assessment Questionnaire that can enable you to examine possible signs and symptoms of distress, burnout and impairment. Additional questions help the clinician to identify positive and negative coping behaviors he or she is using to address those issues.

Professional Quality of Life (Pro-QOL) (Stamm, 2002)

This is a more extensive therapist self-assessment measuring the following domains of experience:

  • Compassion satisfaction – questions in this domain measure your level of satisfaction and fulfillment associated with providing assistance and support to others.
  • Burnout– questions in this domain measure the degree of work-related burnout.
  • Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma – questions in this domain measure the degree to which your exposure and work with those reporting their traumatic stories has had a traumatic effect upon you.


Reexamine the assessment results and determine levels of stress and the types of self-care you use.

The purpose of this module is to assist you in moving further to the left along the continuum. The role of self-care is designed to manage levels of stress along the continuum. Notice that increasing utilization of preventative self-care measures will move you to the left toward the experience of managed stress. Sustainable, preventative measures suggest that self-care goals, strategies, and techniques are focused on the development and implementation of a program of self-care. A program of self-care differs from a self-care activity in that a program suggests engagement in ongoing, intentional, planned, and prioritized efforts that are integrated throughout your daily schedule. When a clinician makes decisions, self-care considerations are integrated throughout the initial considerations and schedule adaptations. If something comes up conflicting with the plan, self-care takes priority rather than being dropped from the schedule.

Audio Companion: Challenges to Therapist Self-Care