Who's Your Counselor's Counselor? |

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17 November 2015
Comments: 6

Who's Your Counselor's Counselor

As I near the end of collecting my state LPC-Intern hours, I have realized the importance of the question: Who’s your counselor’s counselor?  At first, I found it easy to compartmentalized the traumas that I was hearing on a daily basis from my clients and not allowing their stories to effect me.  However, after two plus years (not including when I was in school gaining my internship hours) of stories upon stories, I found myself becoming anxious and depressed.

Becoming a counselor is not the easiest career, since you allow yourself to absorb some one else’s traumatic events and keep their story confidential.  I am a secret of vaults that not even truth serum could penetrate.  With all of the traumatic events that I took in, I began to obtain somewhat a cynical view of the world.  I started to believe that things are horrible and would not change.  I began a routine of working long hours and coming home to “zombie out” in front of the TV.  I gave up reading an enjoyable book, walking the dogs around the neighborhood and enjoying “me time” at a local restaurant.  As days turned into weeks into months on end with this routine and lack of hobbies, I became depressed.  There were times when I would go without a shower for two days, be too tired to brush my teeth at night and oversleeping on the weekend.

As my depression grew, I realized my anxiety was increasing too.  I began to question my capabilities as a counselor, had paranoid thoughts and became more susceptible to illnesses.  Just in three months, I was sick twice!  I was living in fear and wanted to find excuses to not attend work or anything for that matter.  As a counselor, I know a multitude of coping skills, yet I chose not to participate in them.  I felt hollow and yet, somehow, I was still functioning as a counselor to my clients.  I began to notice that my clients were doing better than me!

Enough was enough – I knew something had to change: me.  How was I ever to promote self-care to my clients without taking care of myself?  I began take slow steps towards recovery… started with journaling my thoughts and emotions.  I found that I was able to sleep a little bit better after emptying my mind.  I started openly discussing my struggle with supportive colleagues, where they provided a sound board for me.  I asked for a two-week hiatus from facilitating night groups to reduce my over-worked work load – which was granted.  I began reading the book The Four Agreements that a colleague provided for me and I’m taking it to heart.  I even received some of my creativity spark back from doing all of these self-care acts.

But of course, the largest step that I took in recovery was this: contacting a counselor!  I am currently waiting for the counselor to contact me back to schedule my first session, but I am feeling a multitude of feelings – scared, nervousness, relief and excitement.  Out of all those emotions, excitement is the greatest.  I am excited to rediscover who I am.  And that in a nutshell is why even I as a counselor requires a counselor!  So, who’s your counselor’s counselor?

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6 responses on “Who’s Your Counselor’s Counselor?

  1. Yay…Congrats Kristy…..We often do not take the time to care for ourselves….kind of going on auto pilot. Excellent post we are all in need at one point or another…..kudos to you for taking the first step!!!

  2. Yvette Malone says:

    I’m glad you brought this up. I though it was just me. I have been so focused on acquiring my hours that my personal life has lagged.. I can not tell you the last time I enjoyed a good book and reading is one of my favorite hobbies. It is very important that counselors keep up there self-care in order
    to stay sane.

  3. Tamika Lockett says:

    Great Post!worked so hard to get where you are to just fall back and let this happen to you. So like you I’m taking control of me again. With the help of my close village, which will keep me strong when I feel that I have fallen weak!

  4. Tamika Lockett says:

    Great Post! Great job of you looking within to fix the problem at hand. I’m currently feel myself slipping into that mode. I’m now telling myself, Tamika you worked so hard to get where you are to just fall back and let this happen to you. So like you I’m taking control of me again. With the help of my close village, which will keep me strong when I feel that I have fallen weak!

  5. Annette Kerr says:

    A hard lesson for every counselor to learn and accept that we are not exempt to need therapy just because we are counselors! I have been “on the other side of the couch” several times. For an on-going basis I have many friends that are therapists that I can go to when I need help.

  6. Veronica Swink says:

    Cheers to You! Self-care is #1. People (myself included) in the helping professions (nurses, teachers, pastors, mothers, fathers etc) are excellent caretakers of others, but often fail to care for ourselves. Blessings on this journey…

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