Today’s book, The Resilient Practitioner by Thomas Skovholt and Michelle Mathison is focused on the needs of individuals in caring professions such as healthcare and teaching. The central question posed by the book is “How does one balance self-care and other-care?” and how to establish resiliency as a practitioner. Skovholt and Mathison provide a detailed outline of the key ingredients necessary to prevent burnout as a therapist, physician or teacher.
We’ll take a look at a few tips below:
1. Caring For Others Versus Self-Care
When looking at the role of a therapist, the primary job description can be summarized as one dedicated to healing, teaching and advising others. Therapists are continually nurturing the needs of others by the giving of oneself. However, it is against human nature to put others before yourself, as primal instincts are dedicated to ensuring your survival and not the survival of others. So, what are some things you can do to avoid burnout and surviving in the workforce? According to Skovholt, one option is to continually focus on the positive effects of your work as a physiotherapist. Reminisce on times where you have made a positive change in patients’ lives, whether it be returning them to meaningful activities or helping to increase their daily function. These happy memories of your past experiences can help to restore the joy in your occupation and lead to a positive anticipation of the future.
2. Have a Personal Identity
Therapists tend to incorporate their professional careers together with their self-identity which can result in quicker burnout. If you spend your entire day caring about patients then go home and care for family, you tend to associate your role as that of a “giver.” However, the book stresses the importance of making time for yourself. Nurture your relationships with family and friends and ensure that you have hobbies and activities that keep you busy outside of work. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the signs of burnout and reach out to mentors or friends as the early identification can prevent full-blown burnout and apathy.
Overall this book provides a thorough insight into the joys and hazards of a therapist’s job, from which both students and practitioners can learn. The authors provide more tips on how to maintain professional and personal self-care as well as a self-care action plan to get the ball rolling. We, at PT Business Corner, definitely found this book to be a valuable resource and hope you’ll find the book to be a motivating and engaging read!