Mental health professionals provide better care to their clients when they care for themselves. This acclaimed highly practical guide—now revised and expanded with even more self-care strategies—helps busy psychotherapists balance their personal and professional lives. The book presents 13 research-informed self-care strategies and offers concrete methods for integrating them into daily life. Featuring examples and insights from master therapists, every chapter concludes with a self-care checklist. Infused with a positive message of self-renewal and growth, the book shows clinicians how to leave distress at the office and tend actively to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
New to This Edition:
• Chapter on mindfulness and self-compassion.
• Increased emphasis on simple, real-time self-care activities.
• New examples from additional master therapists and hundreds of workshop participants.
• Up-to-date research findings on therapist stress and resilience.
• Discussions of competence constellations, building on self-care strengths, moral stress, deliberate practice, presession preparation, journaling, and multiculturalism.
“True confessions: I needed to read this book. Let me be more inclusive: as psychotherapists, whether seasoned or neophyte, we all need to read this book, or at the very least attend to its vital messages....In addition to finding this book informative and engaging, it was just plain fun to read.”
—Psychotherapy (on the first edition)
“The authors seek to make therapist self-care as important and integrated an aspect of the work as writing notes or training, rather than an add-on or reactive piece of crisis management....Most of what is said in this book transcends difference in national custom or local practice. Much of it serves to remind us of what we already know but too easily ignore. And all of it provides sensible advice to help us maintain a professional and personal duty of care.”
—Therapy Today (on the first edition)
“A comprehensive, practical, and absorbing guide to therapist self-care....The book itself is an interesting and well-balanced mix of clinical wisdom and clinical research. Importantly, the text is easily accessible and is replete with interesting anecdotes and practical tips to improve one's clinical practice....I recommend it for therapists of any persuasion who are looking to improve the way they practice, for those closer to burnout, or those just starting their training....The book will stimulate reflection on your own clinical practice, challenging you to do things you have been neglecting and give you the confidence to try new techniques.”
—Drug and Alcohol Review (on the first edition)
“This self-care book is a delightfully down-to-earth, honest, inspirational, and aspirational guide for psychotherapists' well-being in their professional and personal lives....Self-care is not selfish, but a means to ensure that we are in the best condition to meet our professional duties and sustain healthy personal lives.”
—Journal of Trauma and Dissociation (on the first edition)
“This book is a remarkable achievement in therapist self-renewal. It promotes self-care through an impressive synthesis of research literature, clinical wisdom, therapist experience, and personal disclosures. The second edition includes innovative information on mindfulness, self-compassion, and multiculturalism. Additionally, it offers new self-care examples from hundreds of practitioners, including eight master therapists. As a full-time psychotherapist and a clinical professor, I strongly recommend this book to current and future clinicians.”
—Lillian Comas-Díaz, PhD, private practice, Washington, DC; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, George Washington University
“Even better than the already excellent first edition, this second edition offers more specific self-care activities and additional experience-near narratives from master therapists. Few in our field can write as well and integrate theory, research, and practice as seamlessly as John Norcross, now joined in this second edition by the equally prolific Gary VandenBos. Their collaboration has yielded a wonderful, down-to-earth blend of erudition, practical information and strategies, humor, and compassion. This book issues a heartfelt plea to both beginning and experienced therapists to prioritize themselves in order to better care for their patients. We would all do well to listen to these authors' wise words.”
—Barry A. Farber, PhD, Clinical Psychology Program, Teachers College, Columbia University
“This real-world book is a superb contribution for all of us who wish to flourish personally in order to ensure ethical and successful psychotherapy. Enriching narratives, empirical research, survey data, and theoretical literature are woven together, at times humorously. Chapters focus on 13 strategies to inspire, acquire, validate, and maintain personal and professional satisfaction. Each chapter ends with a meaningful checklist and resources for further exploration. Norcross and VandenBos combine their vast knowledge and experience to provide illuminating self-care suggestions based on the premise that the person is the locus of effective psychotherapy. Hazards and challenges are described, but the emphasis is on positive strategies not only to survive, but also to thrive.”
—Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD, ABPP, private practice, Austin, Texas; past president, American Psychological Association
“A refreshing read for anyone who is or wants to be a mental health clinician. The authors are master psychotherapists who value relationships. Their sensitivity and sense of humor comes through on each page, whether they are telling you how to take care of yourself or how to say ‘no’ when you cannot do something. Just as good clinicians do for their clients, Norcross and VandenBos don't just talk about therapist self-care, but actually provide tools for doing it. This book is a 'must read' at any stage of your career. I especially recommend it to beginners, even before they put one foot into the psychotherapy room.”
—Lenore E. Walker, EdD, ABPP, College of Psychology (Emeritus), Nova Southeastern University
Table of Contents:
1. Valuing the Person of the Psychotherapist
2. Refocusing on the Rewards
3. Recognizing the Hazards
4. Minding the Body
5. Nurturing Relationships
6. Setting Boundaries
7. Restructuring Cognitions
8. Sustaining Healthy Escapes
9. Maintaining Mindfulness
10. Creating a Flourishing Environment
11. Profiting from Personal Therapy
12. Cultivating Spirituality and Mission, with James D. Guy, Jr.
13. Fostering Creativity and Growth
About the Authors:
John C. Norcross, PhD, ABPP, is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, and a board-certified clinical psychologist. He has been elected president of the International Society of Clinical Psychology, the American Psychological Association (APA) Division of Psychotherapy, and the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration. With more than 400 scholarly publications, Dr. Norcross has authored or edited numerous books, including Leaving It at the Office, Second Edition: A Guide to Psychotherapist Self-Care and Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology: 2018/2019 Edition. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Career Contribution to Education and Training Award from the APA, the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation, and the Rosalee Weiss Award from the American Psychological Foundation, and is an elected member of the National Academies of Practice. Dr. Norcross has given lectures and workshops in 30 countries.
Gary R. VandenBos, PhD, ABPP, is Emeritus Professor II of Clinical Psychology at the University of Bergen, Norway, and a board-certified clinical psychologist in part-time practice in the Washington, D.C., area. He is also former Publisher of the American Psychological Association (APA), a position he held for 30 years. Dr. VandenBos has written or edited 35 books and numerous journal articles, many in his two primary areas of expertise, schizophrenia and violent individuals. He has served as president of APA Division 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology) and served on the Council of Representatives for Division 26 (Society for the History of Psychology). He is a past editor of American Psychologist, Professional Psychology, Psychological Services, and several other journals. Dr. VandenBos is a recipient of both the Early Career Award and the Distinguished Psychologist Award for Contributions to Psychology and Psychotherapy from APA Division 29 (Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy).