Saybrook doctoral student on prescribing self-care to clients and providers

By Saybrook University
Robin Dickey - Saybrook University Doctoral Student
Robin Dickey

Robin Dickey, a doctoral student in the College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, provided a presentation for social workers, therapists, and nurses on the importance of self-care on April 6, 2016.  This event, which qualified attendees for CEU credit, was called The Knowledge Cafe and was held at the Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth, Texas. The title of the presentation was, “Permission to Bresthe! Prescribing Self-Care to Clients AND Providers.”  Robin has provided a brief synopsis of the presentation:

Have you ever heard that, “An architect’s house is always crooked”?  This is a phrase to indicate how some professionals do not apply their skills to their own worlds.  People in the helping professions are compassionate, kind, and caring by trade.  However, they are among the least likely to be SELF-compassionate, kind or caring to themselves.

This interactive presentation engaged the audience in breathing and relaxation exercises in addition to providing information about the importance of self-care for professionals.  Before diving into the presentation, participants were asked to participate in a grounding exercise to be as fully present as possible.  They were asked to consider what “self-care” means to them.  Not surprisingly, all 54 participants were able to define self-care as a therapeutic term, but were not actually able to identify what self-care means to them as a person.  In other words, no participants answered the question with examples of what they do for their own self-care.  The question was presented as “Self-Care means____”.  Although the responses could have included “alone time” or “going for a run,” everyone responded as if they were being asked for a formal definition.  One such example was “identifying activities that are personally satisfying and choosing to implement that activity.”  Once this awareness was brought to the attendees attention, the presentation began.

Topics that were covered included personal stress awareness, identifying self-care opportunities for mental, emotional, and physical health, self-care activities to complete with clients in session as well as individually, and burnout prevention techniques.  Additionally, integrative approaches to health were discussed, along with the role helping professionals play in this continuously evolving field.  Attendees openly discussed their opinions as to why it is easier for helping professionals to develop and implement self-care techniques with clients than themselves.  After brainstorming on reasons why, attendees were asked how they might each invite self-care into their world now that the necessity had been identified and discussed.

The presentation is available to the public at the following link: