Self Care Tips for Mental Health Professionals

Stop Emotional Overload Stress

How to deal with MENTAL HEALTH WORKER'S Emotional 0verload Stress

Practice Self Care for yourself and for others!


As a professional mental health worker we often tend to be empathetic and sensitive to others. This is what makes us good at therapy, school counseling, social work, etc.

Many of us can go beyond empathy and actually feel what other people are feeling. This is what makes us an empath.

However, when we go into overload with being empathetic and become consumed with other people’s feelings we actually cause harm to ourselves.

Mental health graduate schools need to do a better job teaching the newbies how to set boundaries to better protect and ease emotional overload stress.

I have found that it takes several years in this profession to grow a “tougher skin” with setting boundaries. 

Empaths are at more risk for emotional overload stress because they take on the care, nurturing, listening, and the actual feelings and pain of the person who is needing help. Empaths also feel the energy of another person and often allow this energy to drain them. 

It is very important that mental health workers, especially empaths, learn to set proper boundaries with others. We need to apply the same care and concern to ourselves that we freely share and give to others.

Being able to use the word “No” is a great place to start. Boundaries are needed to protect our own sensitivity. It is not selfish to establish and use boundaries. 

When empaths learn to set boundaries it creates a sense of “healthy detachment”. When we cannot set proper boundaries we become too involved.

This can be a time when we make mistakes as a mental health professional because we have kicked in emotional overload that clouds our thinking and judgement.

As mental health professionals and empaths we need to take proactive steps to preserve our own mental health and model self care for our clients. Exercise is a tremendous benefit to our well being.

Get outside and just walk in the sunshine each day for some melatonin. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage, dry and wet saunas, as well as acupuncture are creative adjuncts to exercise.

Be open to trying new forms of self care from cryptotherapy to flotation therapy. The evidence of research is vast in these areas.

Make sure you are taking care of yourself and you will be better able to help others through their emotional distress.

Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed  mental health professional immediately.

"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.

For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.

Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.

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