Self-Care for Therapists


Recently in class a student asked how as therapists we can best take care of ourselves in order to have a long career. Nutrition, from our own view, was one of the points I touched on. Our ancestors observed the diets of animals such as the gorillas and chimps, but they also used instinct to determine which plants were safe and which were toxic. Hence their instinctual food choices produced sustainable healthy outcomes. But we have advanced as a species, and this advancement comes with fast food commercials, government propaganda, pharmaceutical drugs, surgeries, etc. which all influence our food choices so significantly that our original instinct on such is dull.

MDocWe are encouraged as seekers of better health to be more observant about the popular views presented on nutrition and step out beyond the acceptable boundaries of what is considered doctor recommended so that we can then look back onto the closely held beliefs about what is best for us, or how what we feel is best for us is actually affecting our lives. Those who market to us have their own lenses and it facilitates the advancement of their businesses to distract us from our own view and buy into theirs. Hence we need to clean and adjust our lenses so that we have a better view to determine whether what they say is best for us is actually best for us.

MHamsIt is like we are that hamster on a treadmill, but we cannot see our condition because there appears to be options available. When we go to the supermarket we can fill our carts with produce from various sections: there’s the dairy case, meat freezer, canned goods aisle, etc. We can buy from local farmers or large factory farms in a different country. We also have a range of fast food restaurants or our own kitchen to choose from. And after we have inundated ourselves with food and gotten to be the most overweight version of ourselves, there remains more options at our whim, e.g. the many diet plans to help us remove the unacceptable amount of weight we put on. With the weight gone, we can get right back to eating, and overeating.

MThinkWe need to think of nutrition as being a personal matter. The other person’s testimony is encouraging, but we need to understand the relationship between the nutrients we ingest and our body’s responses. Consider that nutrients do not follow a single predictable path after they enter the cells in our bodies. The potential route they can take branches out into multiple pathways with each possibly branching out further, creating metabolic mazes within us. If we are able to reasonably appreciate the complexity of metabolism within ourselves, we will come to also appreciate that no propaganda can truly educate us on our relationship with health; for it is a relationship that brings us into self-contemplation…one which devoid us of reactionary responses to propaganda.