Caring For Yourself So You Can Care For Others

We live in a world of so much turmoil: September 11, Middle-East unrest and terrorism, nuclear worries, Katrina, Rita, and more. As therapists, we continually face clients dealing with their own challenges and their reactions to upheaval at home and beyond. For this month I had written a technical newsletter about some of the intricacies of the Initiator-Inquirer process. However, with the horror of Katrina and the New Orleans flood, I decided to put that newsletter on hold until next month. This month I am writing to encourage you to pay attention to self care as well as extending yourself to help others. This is a time to restore your own energy so that you can continue to help those around you with balance and enthusiasm. We can't continue to extend ourselves to others without replenishing ourselves. Plan something that will make you smile when you see it on your calendar. It could be as basic as a walk outdoors or a phone call to an old friend. Meditate, exercise, start a monthly hiking club or book group, or make a cup of tea and sit down with a good book. The important thing is making time for something you enjoy. Rejuvenate yourself and think about little ways or big ways you can help over the long haul. I sent emails to therapist friends in Baton Rouge and Houston. They appreciated the support and it only took a few minutes of my time. I gave money and clothes, but mostly I've been thinking a lot about the victims of Katrina and Rita. The implications of this hurricane season will be felt long after the short-term aid is over. I've been wishing I could somehow encourage every church and synagogue in the country to get involved in the long-term support of displaced families and children. If you are involved with any organization that could support a family emotionally, practically and somewhat financially for many years, please consider making that suggestion or organizing to make that possible. And if you're moved to do more to help with the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, here are a few good links: www.americares.org, www.redcross.org, www.salvationarmyusa.org. Also, many therapeutic organizations are requesting therapists offer 6 free sessions. This is another way to make a significant contribution. We occasionally use these newsletters to mention books or conferences that you might be interested in. Today I'd like to introduce “Explore the World Alone,” by Mary Goulding. Mary was one of my finest mentors and trainers. After September 11, 2001, Mary gave up her home and set out to explore the world alone -at the age of 76! This book is the story of her adventures. Mary is indeed an inspiration: she follows her passions. It is a wonderful choice for clients who are struggling with individuation issues. And it's motivating for people who would like to overcome being fearful and totally risk averse. I hope you have a good month and can enjoy the blessings of the rich and rewarding work you do.

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Dr. Ellyn Bader

Dr. Ellyn Bader is Co-Founder & Director of The Couples Institute and creator of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy. Ellyn is widely recognized as an expert in couples therapy, and since 2006 she has led innovative online training programs for therapists. Professionals from around the world connect with her through internet, conference calls and blog discussions to study couples therapy. Ellyn’s first book, "In Quest of the Mythical Mate," won the Clark Vincent Award by the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists for its outstanding contribution to the field of marital therapy and is now in its 18th printing. She has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including "The Today Show" and "CBS Early Morning News," and she has been quoted in many publications including "The New York Times," "The Oprah Magazine" and "Cosmopolitan."

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