New Year's Resolutions for Therapists
Clinical Update January 2014
By Zur Institute
View a complete list of Clinical Updates.
We therapists are extremely lucky to be in our profession. Like our practices, our New Year's resolutions give us the opportunity to grow personally while improving the lives of our clients and making our communities and society a better place. I invite you to make resolutions in the same spirit with which we help our clients, using our integrity, creativity, bravery, and compassion.
Similar to the way we have done in prior years, as we begin 2014, I'd like to propose the following resolutions to my fellow therapists:
I resolve that when I differ with colleagues' ways of doing therapy I will learn to respectfully say, "I disagree," rather than being confrontational right from the start:
I resolve not to use pathologizing or labeling clients ('she is just a borderline') as a therapy shortcut or as a way to ease my own countertransference, doubts, anxieties or fears.
I resolve to place clinical and ethical integrity above my fear of attorneys, licensing boards and lawsuits. To do this, I am committed to identifying the difference between rigid or fear-based risk management practices and ethical risk management that is based on client care and clinical integrity. That may mean, when ethically and clinically appropriate:
I resolve to educate myself about neurodiversity, and to view neurological differences as valuable and interesting rather than as problems to be cured. I will not shame or pathologize people with atypical neurological makeups:
I resolve not to pathologize transpeople or gay people:
- I will use correct pronouns (if a person identifies as male, him/he/his).
- I will speak out against bullying of gay and transpeople, just like I speak out against bullying based on race, gender, or any other axis.
- When gay and transpeople enter my practice, I will treat the presenting issues, not attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- I will work with family members to help them become accepting, welcoming, and respectful of their gay and trans children.
I resolve to support healthy lifestyle interventions, such as proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, and mindfulness:
- I will educate myself on the effects of nutrition and supplements on mental health.
- I will engage my clients, where appropriate, in conversations about their sleep, food, exercise, and spiritual life.
- I will educate my community about non-medical ways to treat anxiety, depression and many other mental health conditions.
I resolve to object to the excessive medication of children, whose brains are developing and vulnerable:
- I will stand up in protest against psychiatrists, pediatricians and mental health professionals who diagnose one and two year-olds with ADHD or Bipolar and then medicate them.
- I will do what I can to protect helpless children by providing parents, clinicians and the public with information regarding the potential harm that some medications may cause as well as whether or not such medications have been approved by the FDA to be used with children.
I resolve to educate myself on which parts of DSM-5 are in place so that pharmacological companies can make more profit, and which parts can be clinically helpful.
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I resolve to develop a fee-for-service private practice and market it actively:
I resolve to let go of the myths or delusion of the "power differential" that implies that all therapists are powerful and all clients are vulnerable, dependent and helpless:
I resolve to stop being part of the "Victim Industry":
- I will focus on helping clients overcome trauma by viewing it as an opportunity to grow and become stronger, rather than stay in a victim mode in therapy for years.
- Many well-intentioned but misguided therapists and attorneys have been at the forefront of those who promote, via therapy and lawsuits, victimization rather than healing and responsibility.
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