Aanu Jide-Ojo and Abdulraheem Abdulqodir tell us how they take care of their mental health as therapists

Stories, whether we own them or not, have the power to haunt us. And when you spend hours as a therapist listening to traumatic and heartbreaking experiences that are extremely emotional, they become a part of you, following you like shadows, slowly erasing you.

Therapy is important to everyone, and therapists are heroes without capes. When we consult therapists, we hope that they have solutions to our mental, emotional and psychological problems. What we don’t know is that we also take something from them.

Being a therapist is a rewarding career; you gain people’s trust, help others out of their miseries, bring comfort and lift their spirits. You also save lives and quiet the voices in people’s heads. But what happens after each session? Are these stories leaving you? How do you treat them? Do you dismiss them and go on with your life? Or do they stick to your skin like ticks sucking your blood?

Abdulrahim Abdulkadir, a peer counselor to Mental Health Renovated Initiativea mental health initiative that aims to promote mental health awareness among young people – says he is troubled by emotional distress upon hearing the experiences of others.

Abdulraheem is not alone in feeling this. In a survey by NYTimes, mental health demands are rising and therapists can barely catch up. Therapists hear all kinds of unbearably sad, tragic, and traumatic stories that could wear someone down over time. You have to watch out for your own mental health.

Aanu Jide-Ojo – therapist and founder of UsTherapy, a therapy service that was created as a safe, non-judgmental space to help people understand their experiences and give them the tools to present themselves in a more adaptive way – says for her, practice healing staff before and after his sessions help.

“I also go through downtime. As therapists we are taught to keep space for clients and to go through difficult cases with them, but over time I have learned to take care of myself before and after my sessions.

The therapist’s job is to lighten the burden of his clients; this IThis is what they signed up for, a path they chose to follow. However, it is exhausting listening to other people’s problems all day long. To relieve the burden, Aanu sets up routines. “I try to take walks every day. Leaving my space and breathing in the fresh air helps me manage my day, there’s also the added benefit of endorphins and stress relief. I also have my therapist, where I become the client and also experience all the benefits of therapy. I also rely on my community inside and outside of the mental health space. I have to remember that I don’t am not just a therapist and engage in other interests that rejuvenate me, so just as I teach my clients different self-care practices, so do I.

The world is becoming a scarier and more difficult place to live. Inflation is on the rise, countries are experiencing economic downturns and recessions, there is insecurity, unemployment, intolerance towards each other is increasing and we are losing our sense of community. People all over the world are experiencing extreme fatigue and exhaustion and therapists are not immune to this. While offering comfort, they also struggle with their own personal issues. According to one study, “81% of the psychologists studied had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder (of which a large percent were mild) that ranged from substance abuse, mood, depression, anxiety, eating and other personality dysfunctions”. There are also stories of therapists committing suicide.

Abdulraheem explains that there is something called Vicarious Trauma – a professional challenge for people working and volunteering in victim services due to their ongoing exposure to victims of trauma and violence. He says: “Vicarious trauma is a huge problem in the lives of all healthcare workers, especially therapists. You are affected and disturbed by someone else’s misfortunes and traumatic experiences.

But Abdulraheem found a way around this: “I learned to understand my mood and feelings and came up with a list of therapeutic self-help activities I need for each one. Sometimes it’s sleep therapy or simply a moment of relaxation. Sometimes it can be taking a walk or observing nature. It could be a beautiful sound therapy. Above all, put a smile on someone’s face. another or helping ease his worry is always high on my list, it lifts my mood and gives me instant energy, I also have therapists who know how to listen and respond to my various ailments.

Therapists should never allow themselves to be drowned out by people’s stories and worries. In caring for others, they should never forget to put themselves first. Aanu and Abdulraheem relieve themselves by establishing routines that work for them and having their own therapists. Every therapist can adopt this too.

Aanu Jide-Ojo and Abdulraheem Abdulqodir tell us how they take care of their mental health as therapists

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