Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Monday, December 14, 2020

The COVID-19 era: How therapists can diminish burnout symptoms through self-care

Rokach, A., & Boulazreg, S. (2020). 
Current psychology,1–18. 
Advance online publication. 


COVID-19 is a frightening, stress-inducing, and unchartered territory for all. It is suggested that stress, loneliness, and the emotional toll of the pandemic will result in increased numbers of those who will seek psychological intervention, need support, and guidance on how to cope with a time period that none of us were prepared for. Psychologists, in general, are trained in and know how to help others. They are less effective in taking care of themselves, so that they can be their best in helping others. The article, which aims to heighten clinicians’ awareness of the need for self-care, especially now in the post-pandemic era, describes the demanding nature of psychotherapy and the initial resistance by therapists to engage in self-care, and outlines the consequences of neglecting to care for themselves. We covered the demanding nature of psychotherapy and its grinding trajectory, the loneliness and isolation felt by clinicians in private practice, the professional hazards faced by those caring for others, and the creative and insightful ways that mental health practitioners can care for themselves for the good of their clients, their families, and obviously, themselves.

Here is an excerpt:

Navigating Ethical Dilemmas

An important impact of competence constellations is its aid to clinicians facing challenging dilemmas in the therapy room. While numerous guidelines and recommendations based on a code of ethics exist, real-life situations often blur the line between what the professional wishes to do, rather than what the recommended ethical action is most optimal to the sovereignty of the client. Simply put, “no code of ethics provides a blueprint for resolving all ethical issues, nor does the avoidance of violations always equate with ideal ethical practice, but codes represent the best judgment of one’s peers about common problems and shared professional values.” (Welfel, 2015, p. 10).

As the literature asserts—even in the face of colleagues acting unethically, or below thresholds of competence, psychologists don’t feel comfortable directly approaching their coworkers as they feel concerned about harming their colleagues’ reputation, concerned that the regulatory board may punish their colleague too harshly, or concerned that by reporting a colleague to the regulatory board they will be ostracized by their colleagues (Barnett, 2008; Bernard, Murphy, & Little, 1987; Johnson et al., 2012; Smith & Moss, 2009).

Thus, a constellation network allows a mental health professional to provide feedback without fear of these potential repercussions. Whether it is guised under friendly advice or outright anonymous, these peer networks would allow therapists to exchange information knowingly and allow for constructive criticism to be taken non-judgmentally.