When most people go through a crisis or a challenging time in their lives, they call someone for help – a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, interventionist, chaplain, etc. But whom do the helpers call? Where do the we helpers go for help? We’re people first and helpers second, but in a world where we have to be “together” all the time and help everyone else, where is it safe to let down our façade and just lean into the work we need to do to maintain our emotional, physical and spiritual balance? Where do we go for “role relief?”
In addition, if we are working with clients with traumatic histories, such as sexual abuse, day in and day out, that vicarious traumatization takes its toll. It can also trigger our own unresolved trauma histories, making it more difficult to stay grounded and focused in our own lives. Often we can’t see the build up of that energy but our minds, bodies and spirits suffer. But where do we take that our trauma to release it?
If we are in recovery, we can’t go to 12-Step meetings and share openly, because of the potential risk of violating our ethical boundaries if there are clients in the room. Not to mention, it can potentially threaten our businesses – what if word got out that after losing his father to cancer, the counselor is, for the first time in over a decade, thinking about drinking? What if the therapist who counsels people on their marriages is found out to be struggling in her own marriage?
Unlike “normal” people who can find safe places to work through the issues at hand, we have to contend with additional concerns, such as, “What about my reputation?” “Will people still refer clients to me?” Moreover, because of the work we do, there can be grave consequences if our physical emotional or spiritual sickness is bleeding into our work and affecting our clients.
For the benefit of all helpers, there needs to be a place where we can go and allow ourselves to fully unplug and be “human” for a time – to experience role relief, be around other people who understand us from the inside out, and the therapeutic burden that we carry. We need a place where we can go to be rigorously honest about our thoughts, feelings and experiences, and do the necessary inner work to heal and get back to a more centered place in our lives – personally and professionally. As helpers, we need to have a safe space – amongst other helpers – where we’re not going to run into our clients or potential clients, or their family members, so that we can safely drop into our own core healing work.
At Action Institute of California, our personal growth workshops provide just that. Together we create a safe, confidential and supportive environment where professional helpers can come to do their own personal healing work. Without the distraction of clients and through the use of methods such as psychodrama, art making and music, and a strong focus on the body, our focus is on you – not the helper, but the person.
Don’t you owe it to yourself? We think you do!