My journey began over 17 years ago with a passion to support others undergoing challenging times, taking me down the path to qualifying as a Counsellor. Experiencing and witnessing the connections between emotional distress and physical ailment, ignited a passion in me for holistic and natural ways to nourish and nurture the whole person.
As a Counsellor, an important and essential aspect of safe practice for all is ‘Clinical Supervision’. It’s an invaluable space to explore own emotions, responses, triggers, and ensures best practice for both practitioner and the client. Having a confidential space to share own thoughts and feelings has allowed me to grow as an individual. I developed my practice and qualified as a Clinical Supervisor, allowing me to provide a safe and confidential space for others.
As a Reflexologist and Wellbeing Practitioner I have found myself identifying with the need for the same safe space, to support my own emotional and mental health, and continue to provide the best service that I can.
Having a broad range of Reflexology CPD courses on offer allows therapists to specialise their practice and support a specific area of need. There are fertility courses, pain relief, cancer support and many more that allow some of the most vulnerable clients to access and benefit from this nurturing approach to wellness.
Over time I developed my practice to focus predominantly on Women’s Reproductive Health and Fertility Support incorporating Reproductive Reflexology and more recently the Fertile Body Method (FBM). Supporting clients on their journey to motherhood is very rewarding and equally unsettling. I have the honour of sharing the optimism, excitement, joy and hope and I also witness the pain, vulnerability, shame, anger and fear that so many clients experience along the way. As I developed my skill set I found myself connecting on a deeper level with clients. The frequency and nature of the appointments offers the opportunity for a softer professional connection.
Balancing this softer connection with professional boundaries can feel conflicting on times. There are times where I’ve found myself feeling sad, worried, or continuously thinking of my clients. I have had times whereby I have felt low in energy, slightly less tolerant and mentally consumed. I now recognise that for me these can be indicators that I need space to off load, to release some of that which I am carrying, and ensure that I am looking after myself along the way. As with most therapists I know that I will always ensure that my client’s welfare and needs are at the heart of the service that I provide, however, of equal importance I remain focused of my needs and be in the best position to provide that invaluable service.
Many of us are drawn to specialise in areas of work due to a personal connection to that area of need. This positively enhances the level of empathy and understanding for the client. I believe that this can allow the practitioner to heal through their work and to share their experiences with those who can benefit from it. In my opinion, the personal connection to the specialised area of work can also be the vulnerability within, that pushes therapists to blur the boundaries within their work and lose sight of their own needs.
Incorporating the following steps can help create and strengthen healthy working boundries:
Spending time at the end of each appointment to reflect on the session and update notes ensures that information is up to date, it allows the practitioner to reflect on what worked well during the session, is the client making progress towards their goals, are the original treatment plans still valid? As a practitioner this can feel very empowering and build confidence going into each appointment.
For many therapists working from home, the boundary of where home stops and work begins and vice versa can quickly become blurred. At the end of a working day, allocate the last 20-30 minutes of the day to a dedicated routine that signals the end of work. Part of this routine could include the therapist sitting for approx. 5 min and disconnecting emotionally and mentally with their clients. Visualising a box in the mind that stores their work thoughts, open the box and see all of the days work being stored away and then lock the box. Taking a few deep breaths allowing stress and negative feelings or thoughts to leave the mind and body. These simple steps can make a difference as to how the rest of the day will feel.
Allow yourself to feel fluid in your practice. Feeling prepared when working with a client offers a valuable sense of security and structure, and allowing yourself to integrate a flexible approach enhances the opportunity for you to work in a way that is responding to the clients needs within the moment. Having confidence and faith in your own skill and knowledge brings a calm, natural and intuitive quality that reassures and induces a feeling of safety for the client.
I have created the Practitioner Safe Space Service because of my passion for enhancing mind body therapist wellbeing. I provide a safe space where vulnerability is accepted, and self-evaluation and reflection are welcomed. I adopt an integrative perspective, exploring thoughts, feelings, body sensations, behaviours and theoretical ideas offering a renewed insight on how to best support clients, ensuring ethical, creative and meaningful practice.
Bethan Parfitt MBACP MAR MARR
MBACP MAR MARR