Personal and Professional Self-Care
The term "self-care" may mean something different for each practitioner. What may constitute self-care for one clinician may not be helpful to another. However, it is important to remember that self-care is one of the five virtues (beneficence, nonmalfeasance, fidelity, justice and self-care) underlying mental health professionals codes of ethics. For this reason, we will explore the many forms and types of self-care, as outlined in the literature. You will have the opportunity to reflect upon various aspects of self-care, including how you have personally and professionally been able to exercise and implement specific strategies. In addition, you will have the opportunity to discuss your thoughts and strategies surrounding self-care with other clinicians around the state of Kansas. With this opportunity you may discover new ways to use and implement self-care regimens in your daily life. This is the start of developing a program of self-care.
Kramen-Kahn & Downing Hansen, (1998) citing information from Coster & Schwebel (1997) state: "on any given day, (practitioners) try to serve client needs, maintain an ethical practice, manage increasing paperwork and bureaucracy, stay informed about new interventions and specialties, foresee how emerging changes in the health care environment will affect them, market their services, and defend the efficacy of their interventions." (p. 130 ) These demands may lead the clinician to consider how to cope with the job responsibilities that effectively maintains a healthy personal life. It is with this in mind that the following outline of the forms of professional and personal self-care is provided. As Norcross & Guy (2007) have emphasized, the premise of self-care involves valuing the person of the therapist. As the various forms of self-care are outlined, it will be important to reflect upon how you integrate each of these into your developing program of self-care.