Relaxed Therapists make better therapists

Relaxation improves our performance, benefitting us and our clients. We promote relaxation in our clients but we rarely apply our approaches and techniques to ourselves.

Both physical and psychological therapists promote relaxation as a way of decreasing disease and distress. Relaxation improves balance, coordination, digestion & sleep. Relaxation also improves concentration, memory, decision making & self control.

Sports coaches and life coaches recommend relaxation as a way of improving performance. A colleague once said that he knew his clients were getting better when their golf game improved. I know my clients are recovering when they don’t need me to repeat the date of their next appointment.

Physiotherapists are usually fit and speech therapists enunciate clearly, but relaxed therapists are rare. Therapists are typically pressured by excessive demand, inadequate resources, wide responsibilities and the need to balance personal & professional life. Not only do we need to practice what we preach, any gains will be experienced both by us and by our clients.

The pressures on novice therapists are primarily related to competence: the fear that this client will be the one who uncovers your inadequacies.

The pressures on experienced therapists are related more to the burden of success: the demands that follow from from having demonstrated your competence and being sought for it.

The pressures on senior therapists are usually related to being pulled away from therapy by the responsibilities of seniority: consultation, supervision, management & service development.

At each stage of our career, we evolve strategies to support us, sometimes effective and sometimes not. These strategies are mostly personal and rarely passed on to anyone other than our trainees and closest associates. This site is an attempt to promote sharing of such strategies across disciplines, across professions and across the world.

We know how to help others relax. By making our own relaxation an explicit goal, we can improve our performance and our services.

One thought on “Relaxed Therapists make better therapists

  1. Great site …. thank you so much for puting this together….. I totally agree with what you are saying here, it is my experience that self-care amongst the helping professions, including applied psychology and counselling, is rarely given any serious and in-depth consideration on training courses, and is more likely to receive a cursory nod that therapists need to look after themselves, but little space is devoted to ways of caring for one’s self. Whilst it is good to encourage individual reflection, in what is after all a fairly idiographic scenario, I think there could be a greater balance between helping therapists think for themselves and sharing ideas and strategies as to what might help to protect their own well being, reduce burn-out and thereby increase their effectiveness – and in all probability their ability to offer sustained quality of care to their clients.

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