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7 Types Of Therapy For Therapists To Consider

December 6, 2023


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Even as mental health professionals, therapists may experience their own challenges regarding mental and emotional health. In fact, those in the helping professions are often more susceptible to issues related to stress, emotional exhaustion, and compassion fatigue, making it all the more important to engage in regular mental health upkeep. 

In addition to receiving personal mental health support, however, therapists might also benefit professionally from attending psychotherapy, as it can offer invaluable insights into the therapeutic process from the client’s perspective. This can allow therapists to hone their clinical skills and deepen their understanding of client-therapist dynamics. Here, we’ll explore seven different types of therapy that therapists may want to consider participating in. 

Do Therapists Go To Therapy?

Therapists and counselors frequently have a therapist of their own. As mental health professionals, they often understand the importance of maintaining mental health and well-being—even when there may not be any specific mental disorder to treat. Furthermore, depending on the nature of their work, therapists may seek therapy to manage work-related stress, burnout, and emotional distress. 

Benefits Of Therapy For Therapists

For therapists, talk therapy can be beneficial for many of the same reasons others find it helpful: self-reflection, personal growth, advice and guidance, and treatment of stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. However, therapy can also offer unique benefits for mental health professionals, including:

  • Emotional Support: While you may spend much of your time providing a safe space for your clients, therapy can give you an opportunity to share your own thoughts, feelings, and frustrations without fear of judgment. Your therapist can be a source of moral support, compassion, and sympathy.
  • Perspective And Understanding: A therapist may be a source of support and perspective for navigating tricky ethical questions or client situations. They might understand your unique professional challenges and may even have experienced similar struggles. From this perspective, their advice and guidance might be even more useful.
  • Enhanced Self-Awareness: Therapy can offer a way to connect with yourself and gain a greater awareness of yourself, your thoughts, and your actions. This can be helpful not only for personal growth but also for a therapist, where a lack of self-awareness may lead to issues such as countertransference
  • Skills Development And Refinement: Many therapists find it worthwhile to attend therapy to gain experience on the client side of the therapeutic setting. Being on the receiving end of therapy can help you more effectively understand the intricacies of the therapeutic relationship, helping you improve your clinical skills and techniques.
  • Prevention Of Burnout: Mental health professionals frequently experience work-related stress and burnout, making stress management a critical component of mental health maintenance. Therapy can help you work toward a healthy work-life balance, set boundaries, and develop mindfulness and emotional resilience.
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7 Types Of Therapy For Therapists To Consider

Below are seven different forms of therapy that therapists may want to consider participating in for personal and professional development. 

  1. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR is a type of therapy designed to help you maintain focus on and awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness can be an effective way to manage stress and improve mental and physical health. MBSR could be beneficial for therapists who frequently deal with emotionally intense situations, such as trauma specialists.

Your therapist can teach you valuable mindfulness techniques, including meditation, body scanning, mindful breathing, and in-the-moment mindfulness techniques. These methods can help you learn to manage both acute and chronic stress, which may be crucial for improving well-being and preventing burnout. 

  1. Existential Therapy

For therapists, work stress and compassion fatigue may lead to anxiety about the meaning of one’s life and work. Existential therapy offers a way for mental health professionals to address these issues by working through existential questions. This type of therapy involves building a deep, productive therapeutic relationship with your therapist with the goal of building self-awareness, examining your relationships with others, managing anxiety, and encouraging self-growth and change.

Therapists may find existential therapy helpful for deepening empathy and coping with the emotional and philosophical elements of their career. It may be especially beneficial for those struggling to find purpose or direction in their role, or for those dealing with complex client situations that raise questions about one’s core values and beliefs.

  1. Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy uses self-reflection and examination to help individuals understand the origins of internal conflicts affecting their mental and emotional well-being. It emphasizes how unconscious conflicts, past experiences, and relationships may contribute to pain and adversity, and may give therapists valuable insights into their own inner workings.

Psychodynamic therapy may be beneficial for therapists who would like to explore the deeper, often unconscious, motivations and conflicts that might be influencing their practice or personal life. Individuals can gain a greater awareness of their emotional blind spots, which may be critical for managing countertransference and maintaining appropriate and healthy work-life boundaries.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Across a wide body of research, cognitive behavioral therapy has been found to be effective in managing a variety of mental health complaints. Through CBT, therapists may gain insights into their own cognitive biases, thought patterns, actions, and reactions, as well as learn to replace such thoughts with those that more appropriately align with their personal and professional goals.

CBT may assist mental health professionals with emotional regulation, stress management, and overall well-being, helping them achieve more stable mental, physical, and emotional health. Whether using CBT or other modalities, attending therapy with a cognitive behavioral therapist can offer mental health professionals an opportunity to examine their own approach to therapy.

  1. Group Therapy

For therapists, group therapy with other therapists can be a place of compassionate support and understanding. In group therapy, you can connect with other mental health professionals to share experiences, challenges, and insights with those who understand and sympathize. 

In addition to discussing day-to-day professional stresses, support groups can offer a place to explore deeper questions about the nature of your work. You and your peers may exchange constructive feedback, examine blind spots, and learn new coping mechanisms for managing the challenges of working in the mental health field. 

  1. Experiential Therapies

Experiential therapies are those that involve engaging in activities or experiences aimed at emotional healing and self-discovery. Art therapy, music therapy, and nature therapy are among the most popular forms of experiential therapy and may be an enjoyable, relaxing alternative to traditional talk therapy. 

Experiential therapies may be preferable for those who would like to process their thoughts and emotions in a less conventional or structured environment. The immersive, hands-on nature of these therapies may also be helpful for managing stress and preventing or healing from burnout.

  1. Career Counseling And Mentorship

In addition to psychotherapy, mental health professionals may benefit from connecting with a mentor or career counselor. Mentor relationships can be a source of valuable emotional support, business advice, and even professional opportunities gained through networking. Career counselors can offer structured guidance for therapists navigating early or transitional career stages. 

Consider connecting with other mental health professionals through local directories, professional social networking sites, or internet forums to start building a network of peers and mentors. To find a career counselor, you might browse local listings or connect with a specialized provider through an online therapy platform.

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Mental Health For Therapists: Self-Care Tips And Tricks

Mental health professionals can be just as prone to stress, burnout, and emotional exhaustion as anyone else, and may even be more susceptible in some cases. Therefore, self-care can be crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and achieving career success. The self-care practices below can help ensure therapists remain healthy, content, and productive.

  1. Set Healthy Boundaries: Because of the emotional investment required of therapists, it can be vital to establish and enforce clear boundaries with regard to work hours, client communication, and emotional availability. 
  2. Maintain Physical Health: With healthy sleep patterns, regular exercise, and a well-balanced diet, mental health professionals can benefit from greater emotional resilience and improved personal and professional well-being.
  3. Practice Mindfulness And Meditation: Mindfulness may help therapists manage stress and compassion fatigue more effectively. Through meditation and other targeted techniques, you may be able to cultivate greater mindfulness whether you’re working with clients or taking a day for yourself.  
  4. Cultivate A Wide Support Network: Your family, friends, and professional network can be a valuable source of emotional support and practical advice as you navigate the ups and downs of your career.
  5. Engage In Leisure And Recreation: Cultivating a rich life outside of work can be essential. You can help ensure you are getting enough personal time apart from your professional responsibilities by making it a priority to regularly engage in hobbies, passions, social engagements, or vacations.

Online Therapy For Therapists

For therapists with busy schedules, it may be worth considering online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp. With BetterHelp, therapists connect with users using video chats, phone calls, or in-app messaging from anywhere at anytime. This option may be useful for mental health professionals who prefer the convenience and cost-effectiveness of virtual sessions. What’s more, therapists may be able to attend therapy with clinicians across several different specializations, which can help them grow their repertoire of clinical modalities and techniques. Not only can they reap the personal benefits of online therapy, but they may also experience professional benefits as well. 

The Efficacy Of Online Therapy

There is a substantial body of research supporting the efficacy of online therapy. One comprehensive review of 17 different studies found that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) delivered electronically was equally as effective as face-to-face CBT in treating depressive disorders in adults. There were also no significant differences between the two interventions on measures of participant satisfaction and outcomes didn’t differ when participants were separated by age and geographical location. CBT is a form of therapy that teaches people how to replace their unhelpful thoughts with more positive ways of thinking, thereby promoting healthier feelings and behaviors.

Takeaway

Attending therapy as a client can be a valuable source of mental health support. Therapy may help strengthen emotional resilience, improve self-awareness and understanding, and allow individuals to work through personal issues that may be affecting their therapeutic practice. Mental health professionals may also find value in experiencing therapy from the client side, helping them gain a deeper and broader understanding of the therapeutic process. To get started, consider connecting with a fellow mental health professional online through BetterHelp

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