Wednesday, March 19, 2008
One of the difficulties of working in the trauma field, and I suppose in the general counseling field is personal burnout. I'm experiencing that myself these days. I can honestly say that it does not come from the actual client work in which I am constantly engaged. Naturally, there are many challenging situations that get me thinking and studying in order to meet individual needs; but that does not wear me down. It is other aspects of working on the "front line." It seems that working with children in this realm puts one in a position of scrutiny and question. A disgruntled client will subpoena me to court, or make accusations against therapeutic choices or consultations. It is these outside sources that leave me with a sense of vulnerability--as if my very character is being questioned. This is an obvious issue that needs to be dealt with as it can lead to unethical choices and compromising situations. That is definitely not my intention as a professional! However, despite my educated and consulted choices, it seems that there will always be someone to scrutinize, point a finger, sling mud, and blame when working on the front lines. There will always be ethical guidelines meant to protect, but that can be interpreted in several ways. And though some may say, when scrutiny is present, "oh don't worry, it'll pass...use this as a learning experience...just weather the storm..." there is still the gnawing voice in the recesses saying, "what would you do differently if faced with it again?...do you really want to work on the front lines anymore?... are you really an effective professional?..." It's those final two that bother me. It seems that my own perfectionistic qualities and errors lead me to BURN myself, which is not healthy, but alas, only human.