Counseling is a great way to learn tools to deal with the inevitable situations that you will face as a health care practitioner.
Most of us realize that difficult circumstances go along with the territory of being an acupuncturist. Nevertheless some experiences, like the death of a patient, can be devastating. There is little in our acupuncture training that prepares us for such feelings of grief, confusion, and loss. Yet it is something that surely each and every one of us will go through at some point in our careers.
Talking to friends, family, or colleagues about your feelings of grief and loss can be helpful, but there are confidentiality issues that limit how much you can discuss. Sometimes you need to be able to "let it all out" so you can gain a sense of clarity and personal understanding.
Talking to a counselor, particularly one who specializes in the challenges of health care practitioners, is an invaluable resource. You can receive therapy on a regular ongoing basis to help clear unresolved feelings (just as you might recommend acupuncture for a chronic condition), or you might utilize it for a specific "acute" circumstance that is troubling you.
As an acupuncturist you will have to manage challenging situations and "difficult" patients. If you feel triggered by a patient or angry "for no reason", that is an indication that your perspective may be clouded by unresolved experiences, beliefs, or traumas. Remember the stories of the "wounded healer"? Just by doing what you do, your wounds will eventually show themselves. If you are actively looking for them, you have a wonderful opportunity to heal and release yourself from limiting beliefs, judgments, shame, guilt, and other things that prevent you from being who you really are.
The truth is, we all have our baggage in life regardless of our profession, but as an acupuncturist you have the opportunity to unload these burdens and in the process become a better (and happier) practitioner.
I recommend working with a counselor who really understands the challenges of being a health care practitioner. There are therapists who specialize in practitioner focused therapy.
In the modern era of the internet and cell phone, you no longer need to go to a counselor's office to receive supportive therapy. In fact, one of the best counselors specializing in the unique challenges of acupuncturists is available exclusively by phone and internet.
Karen Freeman, MS works with a variety of clients including acupuncturists, mental health therapists, intuitives, nurses, and others medical professionals. I have not only worked with Karen to clear some of my own issues, but I have referred many of my patients to her when acupuncture treatments have stirred up unresolved emotional turmoil and conflicts. I am not a counselor and I consider it part of my responsibility to help my patients receive proper therapy when needed and Karen is always my first choice. I have had many patients tell me, "Karen is the best referral I have ever received."
Karen has a unique knowledge of energetic medicine. Her ability to quickly identify “the real problem”, and apply a variety of professional skills makes her an ideal counselor for those seeking personal changes and healing. Whether it is for yourself or you are referring a patient, you will benefit from Karen's:
I could go on. And I usually do by reminding my patients that phone therapy with Karen can be easier and more beneficial than conventional face-to-face therapy because:
If you want to "get through your stuff" Karen Freeman, MS is definitely a resource you will want to check out.
If phone therapy feels awkward and you prefer face-to-face meetings, I suggest asking your school administration if they have counseling resources and recommendations. Ask colleagues and friends if they know of a good counselor. As in finding an acupuncturist it is always better to get a personal recommendation from a trusted source. If however you cannot get a referral, then search online and in the local yellow pages.
When you call to schedule ask if they offer a free 15-30 minute consultation to get to know each other. Ask if they work with health care practitioners and specifically acupuncturists. It is important to sense a good fit with a counselor, so if you have to "interview" a couple different ones, that's okay.
Acupuncturists can benefit from a trained therapist's objective perspective to help deal with challenging situations, difficult patients, and unresolved emotional issues. The "clearer" you are as a practitioner, the better you will be able to provide for your patients.
Once you experience and benefit from therapy you are better prepared to recognize when your patients need counseling services. Having been through therapy yourself, you can be confident in the referrals you provide.
Ultimately, keeping yourself strong and healthy mentally, emotionally, and spiritually will make you a happier acupuncturist.