Good therapy cannot occur without empathy. Empathy, however, can jeopardize a therapist’s well-being and eventually compromise the therapeutic process itself. Here Babette Rothschild draws on the powerful mind-body perspective put forward in her highly successful The Body Remembers in order to help therapists help themselves through an understanding of the role the body plays in mental health and overall well-being.
Therapist burnout is a pressing issue. Self-care and risk-avoidance are possible only when therapists actively help themselves.
Self-care, however, needs to be grounded in neurophysiological theory and must be practiced correctly and consistently in one’s mental health work. The difference in the new awareness that Rothschild recommends will be felt not just in the life and well-being of the therapist, but also in the therapy hour as this attentiveness has its affect on the exchange between therapist and client. Help for the Helper offers readers a comprehensive approach to somatic empathy and therapist self-care.
Based on the scientific foundation of the phenomenon of somatic empathy, Rothschild offers clinicians practical skill-building advice to manage burnout and stress inside and outside the consulting room. --- from the publisher
Preface: Using Common Sense
Chapter 1 Psychotherapists at Risk: Therapist Assets and Deficits
Chapter 2 Managing the Ties That Bind: Theory-The Neurophysiology of Empathy
Mirroring and Mimicry
Skill Building—Facial and Postural Awareness
Conscious Postural Mirroring
Chapter 3 Keeping Calm: Theory—The Neurophysiology of Arousal
Skill Building—Arousal Awareness
The Therapist’s Brakes
How Close is Too Close?
Controlling Empathic Imagery
Chapter 4 Thinking Clearly: Theory—The Neurophysiology of Clear Thinking
Skill Building—Know Thyself
Strengthening the Observer
Nurturing Your Work Space
Chapter 5 Concluding Reflections: Revisiting Projective Identification
To Each Her Own Chair
"Babette Rothschild has done a masterful job in laying out important principles and strategies to avoid compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout. She integrates several core psychological concepts-countertransference projective identification, and empathy-with recent research on mirror neurons, emotional contagion, and neurobiology. Help for the Helper, so clearly written and well organized, will benefit any practitioner who wants to avoid the fatigue that interferes with treatment of the people who are most in need of our help. Reading this book, and following the exercises Rothschild provides will be of value for both new and experienced therapists."
–Marion F. Solomon, Ph.D., is founder of the Lifespan Learning Institute in Los Angeles and is author of Narcissism and Intimacy and Lean on Me"