Reflective Compassion in Times of Crisis
Many therapists & coaches are experiencing burnout from crisis after crisis. Here's my personal story about learning to sustain myself & thrive through difficult times.
As summer turns to Fall, I often feel refreshed and renewed after having enjoyed summer activities and more family time. I look forward to the new season – fall colors, crisp air, treats like apple cider - and to new beginnings as my children head back to school.
But this year I am also feeling a heaviness and I know I’m not alone.
I have been leading various groups for clinicians over the summer, to support them as they navigate crisis after crisis – shootings, political and government decisions, heat waves, concern for the planet and the ongoing pandemic. In these groups, feelings of helplessness, uncertainty, and overwhelm are common.
One clinician said that they feel like they are being “constantly triggered and re-triggered’ by both the challenging experiences and trying to help clients process it all.
“It’s feels like we’re supposed to just ‘carry on’ but how do we sustain ourselves?”
This is such an important question and one that I’ve put a lot of thought and work into over the years. I took many trainings and tried different methods designed to help me feel ‘better’ or ‘relax’, which usually meant only a temporary escape. So many methods emphasized ‘self care’, but it usually involves something that was hard for me to do in the moments I needed it most, and that didn’t seem to really address the core issues I was facing.
I finally turned to my own deep experience with attachment theory and combined it with what I’d learned about neuroscience, Mindful Self Compassion, and Inner Relationship Focusing and I developed something that has truly helped me and my clients.
The key for me was to find ways to regulate our nervous system so we can turn inward and acknowledge and validate challenging experiences in ways that help us feel more resourced from within. When I did that, I noticed that I showed up differently for my clients, and then I was able to teach them to regulate and show up differently for themselves.
It’s not only that, but it changed the whole way I work with clients.
It showed me that when we regulate, we can access something I like to call our own inner caregiver.
I found that regulation doesn’t only take the pressure off me…my clients are able to have the experience of being there for themselves. It brings up natural compassion and curiosity that helps them accept and understand themselves in ways that lead to deep healing.
My colleague, Teresa Keller and I have combined our expertise and developed a full model that we call:
Reflective Compassion gives clinicians a way to be there for their clients, but for the sake of guiding them to learn to Regulate their own nervous system and then Reflect and Respond to their challenging emotions and experiences in ways that help them Resource themselves over the long term.
In short, it helps clients develop their own inner caregiver & inner compass,
which are invaluable for true emotional resiliency.
For the past year, we’ve been teaching Reflective Compassion to others. It’s been so gratifying to see some of my most-respected colleagues discover that this method not only helps them deal with their own challenges, but brings more ease and joy to their work again. At the same time, their clients are having new breakthroughs and a greater sense of being able to be there for themselves.
I’m ready to share this method on a broader level and I would love to have you join us!
I’m inviting a select group of supportive, caring, and talented clinicians [just like you!] to experience Reflective Compassion first hand, to support each other, bring this method to your work.
We’ll be meeting this fall on Fridays from 11am-1pm ET
Oct 14th - Dec 16th
(Skip Nov 25th)