Reviewed by Michael Fiorini, New York University
The primary concern of Simple Self-Care for Therapists is to break down effective methods to combat burnout and work-related stresses specific to practicing psychotherapists. In addressing this, Bush outlines myriad common scenarios coupled with personal anecdotes to illustrate what the scenarios might look like. After taking into consideration the background of a specific problem encountered by a therapist, Bush then discusses one or more approaches, which are broken down simply to ameliorate negative affect. The scope of potential issues that the book discusses, despite the impossibility of capturing every potential avenue of stress, makes it highly effective in addressing common problems experienced by therapists, especially those emotionally grounded. Incorporating mindfulness, meditative practices, reframing, and even basic beneficial physical health practices like maintaining a proper sleep schedule are discussed at length and broken down in detail. The goal here is for therapists to find how best to help themselves through outlined techniques.
The end result of these practices, ideally, is to restore an emotionally healthy, productive, and reinvigorated outlook to psychotherapeutic work. Drawing upon over sixty different restorative practices, Bush presents tools for grounding, energizing, and relaxing in reaction to or in preparation for various clinical situations. Vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout are central to this guide, but much more tangential experiences are additionally discussed to increase the tools’ scope of application. Focusing squarely on practicing clinicians, the language and structure are tailored to fit a model of self-care that will translate easily for therapists, additionally drawing upon eastern philosophic concepts and humanistic theory to frame goals and refocus existential conception.
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Ashley Davis Bush works as a psychotherapist and grief counselor in a private practice. She conducts workshops and trainings on a variety of professional and self-help topics around the country as well. She has appeared on a number of national TV and radio programs, and has published six books, including Shortcuts to Inner Peace and Transcending Loss.
Her website offers more information at: http://www.ashleydavisbush.com/
Bush, A. (2015). Simple Self-Care For Therapists: Restorative Practices To Weave Through Your Workday. New York, NY: W. W. Norton. ISBN: 978-0-393-70837-0. Hardover. 273 pages. Includes index and references.