From Breakdown to Breakthrough. Professional Counselors Deserve Healing Too!

As mental health providers, we are often shocked when life hits us hard. Somehow many have grown to think they’re immune to the challenges of life. When we do face them, we question our effectiveness with our clients. How could we possibly help someone else when we’re having a breakdown ourselves?

You can and you will. I’m sure you do it all the time with up to 20+ clients a week. Your clients don’t know the difference because it’s their therapy so they’re totally focused on themselves. Breakthroughs may be few and far in between but one thing’s for sure; If you don’t have good self-care, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually have a breakdown. Often times this manifests as a mental breakdown and sometimes our bodies start giving out too. That’s when the physical symptoms you’re complaining to your doctor about come into play. Has she been able to diagnose you yet? If your doctor is like mine during my burnout days, you’re probably being encouraged to take a look at whether or not your job is a good fit and then comes the suggestion you meet with…you guessed it, a therapist! lol

You may have walked away from that expensive appointment asking “Why is this happening to me?” or “I help so many people. Why do I deserve this?” We ask this question even though we know good darn and well that it was inevitable for it to happen to us. Our workload as therapists is often unsustainable. Breaks are few and far in between and self-care goes out the window when you can barely make it to the grocery store after your shift due to fatigue. Since you likely can’t do much about the “system” or anything to reduce your caseload, you have to think outside the box. This is where some good mindset work comes in.

With a growth mindset, one would answer it by saying “This is happening to me because there’s a lesson I need to learn. How can I grow and heal from this?” If you’re prone to more of a limited mindset, you might think “Whoa is me. It’s happening again. Such is my life!” This is where the comparison game starts to take over. Maybe you envy your coworker who’s up for a raise. She’s also the one that answers all the questions in those clinical meetings with textbook answers as if her brain stored all the information from the NCC exam. You can roll your eyes now…I won’t tell anyone! 🙂

Comparison steals joy…

It’s not that she’s any better than you, love. In fact, she too might be having multiple breakdowns a year. She’s just better at hiding it or maybe she’s doing the internal work and really doesn’t feel as burned out as you do. It’s not that you’re less deserving of healing. It’s likely that you’ve chosen to sit in that sunken place for so long that you’ve joined with it. Now you’re married with burnout and in your mind, there’s no option for a divorce. That’s when you challenge what your mind says about how stuck you are, examine it and discard all the ideas that don’t serve you. Then, you embrace the breakdown head on.

The positive side of breakdowns…

Here’s the thing about breakdowns. They often proceed something great. They’re a sign you’re alive and can still feel. Give yourself a pat on the back-you’re human! 

I get it-they’re inconvenient but here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t fret if you’re experiencing a breakdown over let’s say…thoughts about what to do with your career as a Professional Counselor

1. Breakdowns are an opportunity to learn. Out with the old and in with the new. Expect a rebirth when you’re done if you’re willing to do the internal work.

2. It’s a sign you’ve been suppressing something and it’s time to let it out. You’ve helped everyone else but yourself. When’s your turn? Here’s where you analyze all the things you’ve missed out on due to your symptoms. It’s worth it to press forward.

3. This is where major growth happens for many people because they’re to the breaking point and are no longer willing to live with all the pain. It’s time to heal and being ready is not a requirement. This is necessary for you to move forward.

Would you like help with the healing process? For many people, even acknowledging the positive side of a breakdown is too overwhelming because they don’t know where to start. That’s when you need someone to guide you through the process, point out the things you can’t see and hold you accountable for taking action on the things you want to change.

If that’s you, I invite you to book a complimentary Discovery Call so that we can discuss where you are currently and what you think is blocking you from getting to the next step. In the meantime, I encourage you to do some journaling about what life looks like if you don’t make a change. Sometimes that’s the push counselors need.

As always, I truly hope this blog post is helpful for you. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section and don’t forget to book your Discovery Call HERE.

Until next time,

Marquita

The Counselor’s Mindset Coach

Marquita Myrick helps passionate Professional Counselors heal from burnout, transform their mindset and deal with their money blocks in a safe space so they can pursue the life they deserve

I Quit!!

What happens when excitement trades places with career burnout.

Burnout, a term described as a special type of work-related stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, it involves a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. This is something I’ve experienced personally in the field as a Professional Counselor and have also witnessed my colleagues suffer from it as well. It’s tough going through it yourself and sometimes knowing your co-workers are also burned out is a relief–it validates you as not going crazy! It’s also a warning sign that something’s not right about the organization you’re working for. So what happens when that initial excitement for your career fades?

 You might can relate to the anxiety as you drive in to work or enter a meeting. Maybe you spend your lunch breaks crying in your car or dreading that drive to the next client’s home. It can get hard to hold your head up while eating dinner with your spouse when you’re fighting back tears. I get you…I’ve been there and it wasn’t pretty!

So what can you do about it? “I quit!!” are the words that ran through my head often when I was in the field. Some days I meant it and other days it just felt good to let it out and feel like I had some sense of control. Ultimately, there are steps you can take to get a handle on burnout.

Steps to Burnout Freedom:

Step 1: Evaluate your options. Can you choose the type of clients you work with? Do you have flex time? Have you checked out other jobs you might be a good fit for? You don’t have to remain in a work situation that stresses you out to the max. We all have choices.

Step 2: Focus on healing. What would it look like for you to heal from burnout? Write it down. Visualize what the new you looks like. Does she take on less “extra” workload? Maybe she attends more professional development activities to get a break. Does the healed version of you actually take vacation instead of saying to herself “I can’t take off. My clients need me!”

Step 3: Seek support from a qualified professional. Now here’s where you can get creative. You’re a counselor so I imagine you already believe in the benefit of therapy. If you feel that would be the best option, find someone who’s a good fit. Some counselors have a hard time going to therapy because they don’t feel they have a mental illness. If that’s you, getting a coach to help you walk over the burnout bride to healing is also a great idea. (Shameless plug…I’m here for ya when you need me. 😉 You can always incorporate some healing strategies on your own as well. Exercise, better sleep hygiene, mindfulness and relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation can do wonders for you.

These steps aren’t meant to be overwhelming. It’s important that you realize how much control you have and increase your energy so you’re able to take an active role in your healing. If you want a safe place to vent and get support from other professionals who are also healing, visit my Facebook group “Mindset Healing for Counselors” at http://bit.ly/2GpI6mE . Until next time, love.

Marquita-The Counselor’s Mindset Coach

The Time is Now…


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Three Things Stopping Professional Counselors From Taking a Leap Into Entrepreneurship.

Have you ever set back and wondered why your 24 hours in a day doesn’t seem to stretch as far as others? You get up early for work, survive a long shift, get off and try to squeeze in the grocery run, attending to personal matters, running the kids back and forth to activities and finish your night routine only to realize you’ve made no progress. Is that just life for you or is it what you’ve accepted?

I get it. This is what it looks like for many working professionals and not just counselors. You might occasionally just accept that this is your life and the silver lining is that you at least get to help people improve their mental health in the process. But what about your mental health? Has it suffered while you push through and give your job your all with little in return?

So what’s stopping you from making a change? Could it be one of these 3 things?

  1. Fear often keeps counselors from embracing change. You spent years in school to get that degree and an additional 2+ years to get licensed. Some think “If I change careers now, people will think I’m crazy!”
  2. Low energy plagues many in the mental health field. Your work might not be labor intensive but your brain is getting a full blown workout dealing with all the issues you face at your job. Has it been hard to shift gears and allow yourself space to brainstorm how you’ll make a career change because you’re just too darn tired when you clock out?
  3. Lack of insight is another issue especially since it’s hard to see just how bad your situation is while you’re in it. I get it, you’re focused on surviving each day. At some point though, if you want to move forward, you’ll need more insight so you choose a new path that serves you better.

Do either of those ring a bell? This is the case for many counselors and that’s why I’ve dedicated my coaching business to helping counselors just like you. People that desire more out of life but aren’t just quite sure what that looks like or where to start. The truth is you CAN have a career that meets all your sweet spots. One usually thinks of candy but think about the parts of your life that could be better…sweeter. Maybe you want more money, time freedom or you might want to have control over the type of impact you have on others. It’s all possible but it starts with identifying the roadblocks. Lucky for you, I created The Counselor’s Block; 5 Burnout Traits Counselors MUST Heal From Before Embracing Career Transition. This pdf download is jam packed with information to help you identify where you’re stuck and get started on your path to healing. Interested? Just visit this LINK to download your free copy today! Until next time.

Marquita