A Favorite Metaphor

Posted on April 23,2013 by shansenmspp

There is an oft-heard metaphor in mental health work that I particularly like: providers should remember that they have to put on their own mask before assisting others. That is to say that professionals who work in mental health must make sure to care for themselves emotionally in order to be whole and well enough to support clients.

In the past few days, most in Boston have the felt the intense swing of emotions that emerged following the marathon; fear, relief, anxiety, compassion, furor, hope. At MSPP (and our practicum sites) we have received many emails urging us to express these feelings, to find time for soothing events, to turn off the news, and to seek opportunities for healing. The (as-of-yet-unresolved) problem is how to fit in this important self-care work as we study for final exams, return to our practicum sites in wounded communities, polish our portfolios, and reestablish a daily routine. For me, writing is one way for me to begin the process (see earlier post) – but there is a long way to go. I am still feeling raw. Where IS my oxygen mask??