In the latest episode of The Healthy Practice podcast from WriteUpp, we focus on the topic of building support networks in therapy by speaking to Bibi Jamieson, a leading expert in integrative psychotherapeutic counselling and coaching.
Bibi brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, having worked extensively in the field of mental health and wellbeing. With a background in integrative psychotherapeutic counselling and mother-daughter coaching, Bibi deeply understands the importance of support networks in the therapeutic process. She believes building strong support networks is vital in helping therapists navigate their mental health challenges and achieve sustainable positive change.
You can watch the whole episode here:
The Importance of Support Networks for Therapists
I define a support network as a space that is safe for you to be yourself in, just to take off that hat of being a therapist.Bibi Jamieson on The Healthy Practice podcast.
Therapists need supportive relationships for several reasons. First, the nature of the work can be emotionally taxing, and having a support network can provide validation and understanding of the challenges therapists face. Second, therapists often work in isolation, particularly those in private practice, and having a supportive network can provide a sense of community and connection.
Therapists in private practice face unique challenges, such as managing the business side of their practice, marketing themselves, and dealing with the financial aspects of running a business. These challenges can be overwhelming without a supportive network for guidance and assistance.
A support network for therapists is a group of like-minded professionals who provide emotional support, mentorship, and practical advice. This network can include colleagues, mentors, supervisors, and professional organisations. The significance of a support network is crucial in helping you to navigate the challenges of your work, prevent burnout, and continue your professional growth and development.
Overcoming Barriers in Networking
I think this work is like you are a lone ranger… even asking for support, sometimes you can be limited because of privacy, confidentiality.Bibi Jamieson on The Healthy Practice podcast.
Many therapists feel discomfort towards networking due to various limiting beliefs and the ‘lone ranger’ mindset. These beliefs can include feeling like they are bothering others, fear of rejection, or the belief that they should be able to handle everything independently. However, overcoming these barriers is crucial for building a strong support network and expanding opportunities for growth and collaboration.
One strategy to overcome these limiting beliefs is to challenge them with evidence of successful networking experiences or seek support from colleagues or mentors. Therapists can also work on reframing their mindset, recognising that networking is a valuable way to learn from others, gain new perspectives, and foster collaboration.
Emphasising the need for self-care and external support is essential in overcoming discomfort towards networking. Therapists should prioritise their own well-being, setting boundaries and taking time for self-care to avoid burnout. Seeking external support from trusted colleagues and professional networks or even seeking therapy themselves can provide the encouragement and validation needed to step out of their comfort zone and engage in networking activities.
Benefits of Professional and Personal Support Networks
I can honestly say that professional networking has blown up my world… I work with people I would never meet if I just sat in Richmond.Bibi Jamieson on The Healthy Practice podcast.
Professional support networks offer several benefits, including continuous professional development (CPD), access to international connections, and growth opportunities. CPD allows therapists to stay updated with the latest trends and developments in their field, enhancing their knowledge and skills. International connections provide access to a global network, promoting collaboration and diversity of perspectives. Professional networks can also open up growth opportunities, such as career advancements, mentorship, and access to new job opportunities.
On the other hand, personal support networks are vital for maintaining relationships and achieving a balance between work and personal life. Bibi’s experience shows that nurturing personal connections helps her find emotional support, maintain mental well-being, and create a sense of belonging outside the workplace.
By effectively managing both types of networks, you can strike a healthy balance between professional and personal life. Bibi advises prioritising and scheduling time for both types of networks, setting boundaries between the two, and being open and communicative about your needs and limitations.
Setting Up Professional Support Networks
With every CPD you take, it’s always good to reach out to someone in the training with you and get some kind of support after the training is done.Bibi Jamieson on The Healthy Practice podcast.
Establishing professional relationships and supervision groups is crucial for personal and professional growth. Professional organisations and CPD events offer great opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and potential mentors. Joining these organisations and attending events provides access to valuable resources and expertise and opens doors to networking and collaboration.
Leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and professional online forums can also be beneficial for expanding your professional network. Actively participating in industry-related discussions and connecting with professionals in your field can lead to valuable relationships and knowledge exchange.
Another effective way to build professional support networks is by forming or joining supervision groups. These groups can provide a safe space for sharing experiences, seeking feedback, and gaining support from others in similar roles or industries.
Nurturing Personal Support Networks
Let your people, whoever they are, know what you need without assuming they will know what you need.Bibi Jamieson on The Healthy Practice podcast.
The role of family and friends in a therapist’s life is crucial for providing personal support and understanding the unique challenges of the profession. It is important for therapists to communicate their needs to their loved ones and to schedule personal time for self-care. By doing so, they can prevent burnout and maintain healthy boundaries in their personal and professional lives.
Therapists often face challenges in personal relationships due to the emotional demands of their role. They must openly communicate these challenges with their family and friends while seeking understanding and support. These obstacles can be overcome through open and honest conversations and setting realistic expectations and boundaries for the therapist and their loved ones.
Embracing Vulnerability and Seeking Help
I see therapy as part of my self-care. It’s a space where you just go to be held and just to be. There’s nothing wrong with that.Bibi Jamieson on The Healthy Practice podcast.
Therapists play a critical role in helping others navigate their own vulnerabilities, but it’s equally important for therapists to acknowledge their own needs and embrace discomfort when seeking help and therapy for themselves. All too often, therapists may feel that they should have all the answers and be resistant to seeking help for their own struggles. However, embracing vulnerability and seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a testament to their commitment to their well-being and growth.
Self-compassion and self-care are crucial components of a therapist’s life. By prioritising their mental and emotional health, therapists can model the behaviours and attitudes they hope to instil in their clients. It’s essential for therapists to recognise that they are not immune to their client’s challenges and that seeking help is a brave and necessary step towards their own healing.
By embracing vulnerability, acknowledging their needs, and seeking help when necessary, therapists can develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their clients. This self-awareness can ultimately enhance their ability to provide compassionate and effective care to those they serve.
Maintaining Boundaries in Personal and Professional Life
Balancing professional responsibilities with personal life can be challenging but essential for overall well-being. One of the key strategies for achieving this balance is maintaining boundaries. This involves setting clear limits on work hours, not bringing work home, and making time for personal interests and relaxation.
Recognise that personal time is just as important as professional time, and maintaining boundaries is crucial for preventing burnout and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Boundaries also help avoid the blurring of lines between work and personal life, leading to increased stress and decreased satisfaction in both areas.
Bibi’s approach to ensuring a healthy work-life balance includes setting specific work hours, implementing technology-free zones in the home, and making time for regular exercise and family activities. Bibi prioritises her professional responsibilities and personal well-being by setting and maintaining boundaries.
Maintaining boundaries between personal and professional life is essential for achieving balance and avoiding burnout. It requires a conscious effort to prioritise personal time and set limits on work-related activities, but the benefits to overall well-being make it well worth the effort.
To learn more about Bibi and her work, head to her website: https://www.restoretolove.co.uk/.