Do you work in a helping profession? Are you over-worked, over-stressed, or do you feel under-valued? Whether you are on the front lines or you are in Management or HR, these are common problems that you are familiar with if you do any kind of Professional Support Work. I've worked in the field of Community Living in many different roles since 1999 and have experienced the sometimes extreme stressors of this work and I have seen the effects on myself and my co-workers.
I asked WCB to provide statistics on stress-related claims in BC and you can see the result of this in the chart to the right, where Health Care & Social Services outstrip any other sector. Over 10 years time almost 25% of all stress-related WCB claims in the Province came from Health Care & Social Assistance.
Individuals - who are usually in the career with the noblest of intentions - and their families pay the price, not to mention the agencies forced to deal with staff shortages, related stressors and expenses. We are, as a sector, in considerable need of solutions. This was my inspiration in making the Professional Support Worker a focus of my counselling practice, and it was the inspiration for the development of this highly acclaimed workshop:
"Self-Care & Stress Management for the Professional Support Worker"
This workshop is structured around the Wellness Wheel, a traditional First Nation teaching also known as the Medicine Wheel. It's a substantive 3 hours, full of well-researched information, large and small group sharing, breathing exercises, brain-storming and more.
- The 4 quadrants of Wellness - Body, Emotion, Mind & Spirit - are broken down into 12 stand-alone components.
- A set of online PDF's is included with attendance. (Each of these could later be used individually, with peers, or perhaps in a monthly staff meeting).
- Particular attention has been paid to the look of the handouts, with an eye to the importance of today's increasingly visual learning style.
- Each participant is given a Certificate of Completion at the end of the workshop - a unique and worthy addition to training hours.
This workshop has been presented around BC, with clients such as BCGEU, InclusionBC, and Home-Share Providers Network. Over 95% of the hundreds of workshop participants have said they would recommend this to a peer. (See more of what they had to say in the "Feedback...", to the right). For too long the accepted expectation for these workers has been that they simply should deal with their emotional wellness needs, even as they provide comfort and care to so many in uniquely challenging situations. I want VIDA Counselling to be on the forefront of the cultural shift - which is happening - in recognizing the complex support needs of the hard-working people providing our society's social safety net.
Your work is very likely a factor in any struggles you may be having. The work we do in helping professions is by its very nature emotion-centered, even as it may also be challenging to the mind, body and spirit. So it makes sense that if we are struggling emotionally, our work is going to be part of the equation. As someone who has worked in many different challenging positions, I do understand. I like to think of the individual counselling I do for Support Workers as Peer Counselling within a professional framework.
Other Services for the Caring Community
In addition to the "Self-Care & Stress Management..." workshop, I provide other support services as well, which may include the following:
- Grief Counselling Group - one agency I worked with hired me to help staff deal with the loss of a beloved Supported Person.
- Individual Counselling - I was approached by an agency to provide 1-1 counselling after violent behavioural incidents.
- Healing Arts Workshop - These are workshops with a lighter focus, using art therapy and mindfulness techniques, and topics such as "Stillness" or "Gratitude".
- 6-Week Support Group - Again using the Wellness Wheel, this group expands and gives space to each individuals specific needs for support.
- Consult with Me - I can tailor my services to any particular wellness needs you or your agency may be experiencing. Each situation is unique and we can work together to come up with the best solution for you or your agencies needs.