Why Therapists Need Therapy
Welcome to Issue 310 of Institute Inbrief
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Issue 310 // Institute Inbrief
Dear Pedro,

Welcome to Edition 310 of Institute Inbrief. Have you ever sat in session, listening to your client explain why they were angsty over some issue, only to find that you experienced a rising panic and sense of helplessness - because you, too, were dealing with the same issue? This edition's featured article examines the importance of seeing a therapist while working as a mental health professional. 

Also in this edition:
  1. Bachelor & Master of Counselling [Intake Open]
  2. Counselling and the Gut Microbiome: An Overview
  3. Positive Psychology: The Underpinning Notions
  4. Digital Self-harm & Adolescents
  5. Quotations, Seminar Timetables & More!
Enjoy your reading!

AIPC Team. 
Diploma of Counselling
It's time to start loving what you do!

We’ve been training qualified Counsellors for over 27 years. Overwhelmingly, the number one reason people cite as why they became a Counsellor – to start loving what they do. They were stuck in a rut doing something they had no passion for, and it was dragging them down.

If you want a deeper understanding of yourself, and to use that knowledge to assist others overcome their challenges and start enjoying life again – then counselling is likely for you.

Too often we get drawn into a career that offers little personal satisfaction. Counsellors are passionate about the important work they do. They’re often someone that friends and family naturally come to for assistance. And they get immense personal reward helping others.

 
If that sounds like you, then it’s time to start pursuing your passion:
  1. Learn about yourself and help others lead better lives
  2. Be employed in one of the fastest industry growth sectors in the nation
  3. Self-paced training, so you can fit learning around your life
  4. Flexible and supported training with quality learning materials

LEARN MORE 
Community Services Courses
Helping You Help Your Community
 
By gaining a qualification within the Community Services sector, you will be contributing to an industry that serves a very important purpose: to assist those with personal or relationship challenges. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping others overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. And there’s no better time to do that than now!
 
Diploma of Financial Counsellinglearn more
Do you want to help others who are facing financial hardship?

Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)learn more
Join one of the fastest growing employment sectors in the country!
 
Diploma of Youth Worklearn more
Do you want to positively influence the next generation?


LEARN MORE 

 
Semester 2 Intake Bachelor & Master of Counselling
Our Semester 2, 2019 intake is now open for the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling. 


As places in our 2019 intake are strictly limited, we ask that you express your interest early. The programs are both government FEE-HELP approved, so you can learn now and pay later.
 
Some unique features of the programs include:
  1. Study externally from anywhere in Australia, even overseas
  2. Residential Schools in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth*
  3. [Master] Receive up to 6-months credit for prior Counselling studies
  4. [Bachelor] Affordable, high quality tertiary education
  5. Start with just 1 subject
  6. Learn in friendly, small groups.
You can learn more about the programs here:
 
Bachelor of Counselling: www.aipc.net.au/degree
Master of Counselling: www.aipc.net.au/master-of-counselling
 
As applications always exceed available places, we urge you to submit your obligation free expression of interest now.

*Perth - Bachelor of Counselling only.
Why Therapists Need Therapy
Have you ever sat in session, listening to your client explain why they were angsty over some issue, only to find that you experienced a rising panic and sense of helplessness - because you, too, were dealing with the same issue? 


Have you ever finished a session with a deeply depressed client, only to find that you then felt very down, even though you were ok before the session? Both of these examples constitute sound reasons to engage a consummately helpful yet infrequently discussed aspect of professional self-care: that of therapy for the therapist. Carl Jung suggested that “a good half of every treatment that probes at all deeply consists in the doctor’s examining himself, for only what he can put right in himself can he hope to put right in the patient” (Plata, 2018). 

Being the “wounded healer” is controversial

This question of acknowledging the “wounded healer” in ourselves is important, and does not come without controversy. There is first the question of whether therapists can even practice ethically if they do not do their own therapy, which is said to be “far more informative than any graduate class or textbook” (Latham, 2011). As therapists, of course we wish to be ethical, but there is the accompanying question of what it will cost us. Some writers have commented on the reality in our associated helping professions that, while there is an acknowledgement that we are human, it is also true that there is still a stigma associated with having psychological distress – especially as a mental health professional – and having “vulnerability” is not necessarily seen as a strength. 

Many counsellors fear professional repercussions if they acknowledge present or former psychological struggles (Plata, 2018). Certainly it is the case for some professionals that they must answer on their annual registration forms sent to the regulatory agency as to whether they have had any mental health issues. Some Australian doctors, for example, have expressed serious concern that they would be on the radar of AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) by making such an admission, and choose to leave it out (personal communication to author, 2019).

Other health writers note that, while some clients are comforted to know that their therapist has had therapy, others are disconcerted by it (Latham, 2011). Yet therapy is important. Let us examine why you are strongly recommended to engage in your own therapy as part of your helping work. 

Therapy: Why do it?

To prevent burnout 

Burnout and compassion fatigue are rife in the helping professions. A study of mental health professionals in Panama found that 36 percent of its community had suffered from burnout at one point or another in their careers (Plata, 2018). Personal support as found in counselling helps prevent the problem.

For greater empathy and understanding 

We can be more empathetic with clients if we’ve had experience in “the other chair”, as we can anticipate unstated feelings more readily than therapists without that firsthand knowledge. For example, can you recall a time when you told a client that you were going on holiday and they protested that they didn’t know how they would make it without you for three whole weeks, (or whatever length your holiday was)? If you have done therapy yourself, you personally know the sense of loss and disruption when your regular therapist is away. 

Concepts such as transference are more easily understood experientially than from textbooks. Even for those therapists who are non-psychodynamic, being able to recognise transference and other “real-time” emotional reactions (because they’ve had them themselves) gives therapists who have had therapy an advantage in terms of rapport, compliance, and other aspects (Reidbord, 2011). 

To process clients’ thoughts and feelings

Hearing about heavy-going issues such as abuse, addiction, trauma, and other mental health challenges can weigh on a therapist. We can preserve our own mental health better by processing through therapy our reactions to what we hear (Forte, 2018). In terms of the transference, we note that those practicing psychodynamic therapies use transference and countertransference as essential treatment tools; it takes self-knowledge – acquired by dint of hard work in our own sessions – to use these tools therapeutically, because without self-knowledge we cannot sort the client’s issues from our own (Reidbord, 2011). 

To deal with our own issues 

A recent Antioch University of Seattle study found that 81 percent of psychologists studied had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder (although a large percent of these were mild), including substance abuse, mood disorder, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other personality dysfunctions (Plata, 2018). In doing therapy, we are forced to look at our own base instincts, neuroses, and “blind spots”: not always easy. The same study found that 43 percent of psychologists struggled to see the mental illness and psychological distress within themselves (Latham, 2011). In therapy, we get to confront our issues, learn to accept feedback, and strengthen our professional identity, thus reducing the risk that we will act out in ways that harm our clients (Reidbord, 2011). 

To de-stigmatise therapy

When clients know that we, too, have had therapy, it normalises it. Apart from reducing the errors based on unexamined transference, our stint of therapy – acknowledged judiciously to clients – encourages humility and decreases hubris. It may very well strengthen the therapeutic alliance for the client to see that you, too, have human needs, challenges, and issues.

In the final analysis, ours is a profession which uses our own perceptions and reactions as sensitive instruments of therapeutic helping; thus it makes sense to take care of the equipment, by taking therapeutic care of ourselves. Besides, we are always there for others, listening with great attention and concentration to their woes. Isn’t it a nice thought that there can be a professional listener out there for us as well?

 

References

  1. Forte, S. (2018). Why therapists need therapy. Pyramid health care. Retrieved on 12 May, 2019, from: website.
  2. Latham, T. (2011). Why therapy is important for therapists. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 12 May, 2019, from: website.
  3. Plata, M. (2018). Therapists need therapy, too. Vice.com. Retrieved on 12 May, 2019, from: website.
  4. Reidbord, S. (2011). Therapy for therapists. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 12 May, 2019, from: website.
Counselling and the Gut Microbiome: An Overview
If you’ve been at the game of counselling for a while, you know the ropes – and the rules. The client comes and you listen to their presenting issues; often those are anxiety and/or depression or unbearable angst at some aspect of life. You work out if it is within your sphere of competence to work with the person, and outline a treatment plan – or at least a suggestion of a modality that would work well for them – and the client hopefully agrees. Most of the time the treatment plan of mental health practitioners involves some version of a “talking cure”: that is, a psychological healing effort for what appears to be psychological distress: equivalent and thus logical, right? But this way of thinking about what is “wrong” and thus what is needed to put things “right” may be about to change.

READ MORE 
Positive Psychology: The Underpinning Notions
Positive psychology, which has recently enjoyed a burgeoning base of research support, is “the scientific study of optimal functioning, performance, and wellbeing” (Langley & Francis, 2016). It asks not what is broken and needing to be fixed, but what is working, what is good in people and life. It wants to know what the positive experiences, characteristics, and practices are that enable individuals, institutions, and communities to live happy, productive, fulfilling lives. It is about flourishing and thriving, not merely surviving. Accordingly, it gives pride of place to the characteristics of abundance, a focus on virtues and strengths, embracing positive deviance, and flourishing rather than languishing (Langley & Francis, 2016). We look at these in more detail in this article.

READ MORE 

More articles: www.aipc.net.au/articles

 
Learn from Global Mental Health Experts
Mental Health Academy puts quality learning by global experts at your fingertips, 24/7. Accessing cutting-edge evidence and practice-based knowledge has never been more convenient.

Topics explored by MHA courses include: Evidence-based therapies, mindfulness, CBT, focussed psychological strategies, children & adolescents, relationship counselling, motivational interviewing, depression & anxiety, addictions, trauma, e-therapy, supervision, ethics, plus much more.

Join MHA now to enjoy:
  1. Access to on-demand, video learning (200+ hours)
  2. Access to self-paced, text courses (120+ courses)
  3. Invitations to select events and Masterclasses
  4. Earn professional development points/hours
  5. Online, 24/7 access to courses - from anywhere
  6. Personalised online classroom to facilitate learning
By learning with MHA, you'll also make a real, measurable contribution to some of the world's poorest communities (through MHA's local and global social impact initiatives).

LEARN MORE 
Have you visited Counselling Connection yet? Our official blog has over 500 posts counselling, psychology, self-growth, and more! Make sure you too get connected. Below is a link to a recent post.

Digital Self-harm & Adolescents
Digital self-harm (also called self-trolling, self-cyberbullying, and cyber self-harm: Winterman, 2013) can be defined as “the anonymous online posting, sending, or otherwise sharing of hurtful content about oneself” (Patchin, 2017). It gained global attention in August of 2013 when fourteen-year-old Hannah Smith from England hanged herself, having been reportedly harassed online for months prior to her death. Her bereaved father asked for an investigation of the cyberbullying that apparently drove her to suicide. The shocking finding of the investigators was that Hannah herself had posted the cruel messages on social media (Kheriaty, 2018).

READ MORE 

More posts: www.counsellingconnection.com
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

~ Tenzin Gyatso
Many students of the Diploma of Counselling attend seminars to complete the practical requirements of their course. Seminars provide an ideal opportunity to network with other students and liaise with qualified counselling professionals in conjunction with completing compulsory coursework.
 
Seminar topics include:
  1. The Counselling Process
  2. Communication Skills I
  3. Communication Skills II
  4. Counselling Therapies I
  5. Counselling Therapies II
  6. Legal & Ethical Frameworks
  7. Brief Interventions and Loss & Grief Support
  8. Individualised Support and Working with Mental Health
  9. Advanced Counselling Techniques
Click here to access all seminar timetables online.
 
To register for a seminar, please contact your Student Support Centre.
For more information, visit:
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RESOURCES
AIPC Article Library 
Counselling Connection Blog 
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