How do you belong to yourself? How do you belong in nature? How do you belong in community? As one? As many? Alone? United? Part of the collective? Enjoy this beautiful reflection from poet, teacher and storyteller, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.
Connection, community and collaboration are essential for best outcomes in healthcare work. Drawing inspiration from thought leaders and research that advocates for a collective, compassionate and courageous response to peer support, this blog conceptualises a unique approach to collective care. How can we develop and support each other through creative expression and networks that hold us with a strong back, soft front, wild heart and clear mind for the wellbeing of our clients and our own sustainability in the work?
The suffering in our country and in the world right now is so vast. Full and empty. Words seem trite. But in connecting with so many at this time, and in hearing the level of distress experienced, I'm wanting to offering acknowledgement of the depth of this pain. As healthcare workers, we hold our own responses, and sit with the pain of others. Sometimes it can be a double whammy. Art does not fix suffering but it can offer connection, acknowledgement and a moment of understanding. Action is required. And healing. I hope these words can offer something for you.
For too long there has been a focus on self care when we work in systems with groups of people, in community. We know that community, authentic connection and support are essential for our survival: the pandemic taught us just how vital we are for each other, and polyvagal theory confirms that the need to come together for safety and support is built into our neurobiology. So what is collective care? What does it mean? Why is it so important? Take a look below to find out more.
There is a worldwide shortage of healthcare workers. And many of the workers that are available are not travelling well. Whilst the web is awash with the latest self care tips and tricks, this individualistic focus fails to acknowledge the systemic and cultural issues at play. Although it is important for everyone to look after themselves, the push for self care alone is problematic as it lodges the problem in the individual, rather than addressing the social and systemic issues that need wider consideration.
In this NAIDOC Week I am taking inspiration from Indigenous Healers and their Healing Practices by unpacking some of the key features from the social and emotional wellbeing practices of First Nations people. Some of these features are familiar to me through a white lens. Others are not. Either way, I am aware that my lens is likely to miss important elements. However, being aware of the need to clarify these may help me to best support First Nations clients.
The late Robert Hall was an American psychiatrist and lay Buddhist priest who worked to integrate Gestalt theory with practices of embodiment and meditation. Hall was also an author and poet. Take your time to sit with these words to consider how they land with you. What emerges in your thoughts and body? What is your felt sense? What images are evoked?
In this National Reconciliation Week, Australians are being urged to 'use their power, their words and their actions' to create a better country; 'to be a voice for generations' (Reconciliation Australia). Here, I am exploring my own sense of shame, helplessness, hopelessness and complacency through a lens of the near and far enemies of fierce compassion. For me, it's a vulnerable and necessary place to start again; to re-find my voice and put my words and values into action.
The bulk of healthcare, education and the care and support sector is comprised of women. Despite the providing the backbone and sustenance of our society, these areas remain under-resourced and under enormous strain. In recent discussions in our Creative Embodied Supervision Groups here at Tempo, discussions have explored the frustrations of working within a patriarchal system: as women, how do we stand up for ourselves? how do we unlearn internalised misogyny? how do we back ourselves? There are many paths to these answers. These songs are offered in support of this quest - thank you to these strong songwriters and performers for your support and inspiration.
What causes burnout? Is it the person? The culture? The environment? Or a combination of all three? Informed by latest research, dive in to unpack the causes of burnout through a lens of workplace culture, community supports, values and individual, predisposing factors. Learn how understanding these contributing factors may help you to assess your own situation, and see what you might be able to change ... or not. Which aspects of work are supportive for you right now, and which may be leading you to burn out?
You may have an idea of how creative arts, music and the embodied approaches work in counselling or therapy, but in supervision?! What does this mean? And how might this sort of approach support you in your practice? In this piece, we look at a couple of short videos from Cathy Malchiodi and Joan Wilmot to understand these thoughts from the point of view of the 'Seven-Eyed Model of Supervision' and creative arts therapy approaches.
'R U OK Day' is a suicide prevention initiative that aims to reduce risk and harm by through staying connected and having difficult conversations when someone is struggling. Having these conversations is important, but so difficult for us; particularly when many of us do not know how to support ourselves, let alone sit in discomfort with others. This article looks at how we can take care of ourselves, each other and stay connected beyond 8 September - in compassion and in community.
For workers in a helping role, professional supervision is an essential component of the work: it supports positive outcomes for clients, maintenance of ethical standards, the development of skills and, importantly, the wellbeing of workers. Whilst most workplaces strive to offer regular supervision, the reality is often far from ideal. This blog explores how supervision groups outside of your workplace can offer a much needed space for reflection, connection and mutual support for teachers and healthcare workers.
Given the outward focus on the individual, it is ironic that many of us in this Western culture struggle to truly care for, and nurture ourselves with kindness. Regardless of the types of mothering experiences we have had, at some point we all need to find ways to nurture our inner child. See below for an infographic that summarises one approach to self-mothering in three simple steps.
From the first three parts of 'The Helping Professionals Interview Series' we've heard that teachers and health professionals struggle to reach out for support and care for themselves. Why is this? In this penultimate blog in the series, we hear through the voices of participants that the answer is tied up in societal messages that begin in childhood, and continue on through professional training and within workplace cultures.
In 2022, International Women's Day takes place amidst war in Ukraine, flooding in Queensland and New South Wales, and the third year into the COVID-19 pandemic. With women making over 70% of the education, health care and social assistance workforce, and undertaking 50% more than men of the unpaid household chores and caring responsibilities, the current and cumulative load on women at this time is enormous.
In this third piece of the five-part 'Helping Professionals Interview Series' , we explore the misnomer of ‘self care’ and its suggestion that individuals only hold responsibility for our wellbeing. In fact, the challenges are caused by modern Western society, its systems with ever-shifting policies and protocols, large workloads and insufficient support within our working environments. If you're exhausted and overwhelmed, it's not you: it's a set up.
The rich array of autumnal colours remind us of the cycles of life, the delight of colour, and the shift from the expansiveness of summer, to our inner world as we head closer into winter. With so much of our focus caught up in busy-ness and the 'doing' of life, this post invites reflection on presence, connection and transformation through creating the safety and space for our inner worlds, through music, art, embodiment and relaxed states.
Therapy groups are a fantastic way to find support and connect with others facing similar experiences. They bring people together, help you to see that you are not alone and can be a way to learn about yourself in relation to others. In joining with others in a group, you can develop skills in communication, see things from different perspectives, share learnings and develop some great networks of support.
When so many of our challenges are a result of pressures from work and (rather topically) society in general – reference to ‘self care’ can seem to be a dismissal at best. What of the larger systems and social mechanisms at play? How can we look after ourselves and each other? Social buffering and ideas about connection and empathy give us some clues.