Susan M. Doak, LPC (October 19, 2023). “The Ethical Reasons to Build a Sustainable Career in Mental Health: Why Avoiding Burnout Isn’t Cutting It.” Presented at the Oregon Counseling Association Conference.
“If we want to prevent burnout and be here as mental health professionals for the long haul, we need a model for clinician health and longevity that gives clinicians tools to successfully navigate a career in mental health through a variety of job settings, life events, and industry changes.”
SUSTAINABLE PRACTICE is an emerging model for clinician health and career longevity developed by Susan Doak, LPC for the purpose of preventing burnout for mental health workers. The model is purposefully simple and meant to be applied in real life. The model is broad and meant to include mental health clinicians in all settings. This prevention model can be applied as a strategy for a clinician’s career longevity and satisfaction. The goal is to give clinicians tools to successfully navigate their career in mental health through a variety of job settings, life events, and industry changes.
The Tree Model
We use the parts of a tree to help us to remember the four components:
ROOTS: Thoughts, Beliefs and Values.
TRUNK AND BRANCHES: Self-knowledge, ongoing self-assessment in life and work.
LEAVES: Season of our career and life
FRUIT: What we do. Actions.
Rooted in Values: The Sustainable Practice Core Values
- We acknowledge and celebrate ourselves as a valuable human resource to a hurting world.
2. We acknowledge the peaks and valleys of being helping professionals who give from ourselves to support and sustain others.
3. We acknowledge that we are just one small piece of a larger system of support.
4. We acknowledge that our own health is just as important as the health of others.
5. We acknowledge that we are allowed to change, to age, and to mature over time.
6. We acknowledge our responsibility to know ourselves: our passions, motivations, limitations, warning signs.
7. We acknowledge the toll our work can take on us professionally and personally.
8. We acknowledge that we come to our work in bodies that need nourishment, activity, rest, and respect.
9. We acknowledge that we are complex humans outside of our work, worthy of value outside of what we can do for others.
10. We acknowledge our responsibility to do our part to support ourselves by attending to our own mental, physical, social, and spiritual health.
Want more information? Download the power point below!
Susan Melendez Doak is an LPC and has worked as a counselor for the last 18 years in both Massachusetts and Oregon in a variety of settings. She owns Newberg Counseling & Wellness, a group private practice in Yamhill County, Oregon, and has developed practices and policies that promote professional well-being, career planning, and clinician self-care.
Want to connect about Sustainable Practice? Email me email@example.com