Deanna Stringer

I don’t see any specific questions to respond to so I am going to give an overall impression of the article and powerpoint.

I was especially struck by the statement in Rick’s article about self-care. “Self-care is an ethical imperative not to be damaged by the work we do.” and the NASW Code of Ethics, “Impaired professionals should not continue to practice: duty to clients.” When a person gets to the point of “impairment” I don’t think that we see it as an ethical issue even though it really is an ethical issue. We are physically and emotionally done, ready to throw in the towel and will do whatever needs to be done to “get out.” The issue is about physical and emotional survival. If there is a reason that that professional can’t find a way out that is where it gets dangerous and we see either the person’s body collapse or serious emotional damage or suicide. As chaplains we have the responsibility to occasionally just take emotional temperature and gauge whether we or the people around us are being “damaged” by the work we do. I never have really given thought to that concept before of being damaged by the work. I was always pushed to do my best at all cost and didn’t consider that compassion is good but too much can not only cause damage to the boundaries between clients and ourselves but also to our own physical and emotional well-being.

I often work with grief as a hospice chaplain¬† and think of grief in the 4 quadrants mentioned of before death, during the process of death, right after death, and long term grief, but I have never thought of self care dealing with a traumatic situation of before, during, right after and later self-care. I think this will really help my own self-care when I go into a home that is dealing with death. thinking about not just taking emotional temperature occasionally but maybe taking my own emotional temperature several times and “checking in” with myself in those 4 quadrants will help me be aware of self care or the lack of it sooner.