VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Creative Counselor Self-Care
Denis’ A. Thomas and Melanie H. Morris
While most counselors have knowledge about self-care and the ability to articulate its importance to clients and others, a disconnect between knowledge and counselor self-care action remains. Expressive arts therapy techniques and creativity in counseling may provide answers to this problem. The same types of techniques used with clients could be useful for counselors in managing their own career stress and for creating more balance in their lives. Creative self-care helps the counselor by providing therapeutic value in the process of creation, increasing self-awareness, externalizing the problem, and symbolically containing the problem. The authors offer a seven-part model for creative selfcare: 1) create a consistent plan to engage in mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually nourishing activities; 2) schedule restorative rejuvenation when anticipating stress; 3) prepare a list of emergency strategies for unanticipated stress; 4) meet regularly with peers or colleagues for support; 5) evaluate counselor-specific professional, perceptual, and personal challenges to self-care; 6) record and review successes; and 7) include self-compassion as an essential element of healthy self-care.
Keywords: counselor, self-care, wellness, self-compassion, creative counseling, expressive arts, creative self-care