Episode 162 Redefining Self-Care For Female Mental Health Clinicians With The 4 C’s Approach: Interview With Dr. Melissa Tiessen & Dr. Karen Dyck

Jan 3, 2024

This episode is sponsored by Alma. Alma is on a mission to simplify access to high-quality, affordable mental health care by giving providers the tools they need to build thriving in-network private practices. When providers join Alma, they gain access to insurance support, teletherapy software, client referrals, automated billing and scheduling tools, and a vibrant community of clinicians who come together for education, training, and events.

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What is the 4 C’s model? How can it help female mental health clinicians redefine self-care and begin to recognize the unique challenges and needs they may face in their profession?

MEET Dr. Melissa Tiessen & Dr. Karen Dyck

Dr. Karen Dyck and Dr. Melissa Tiessen are clinical psychologists currently working in private practice in Manitoba, Canada, with many years of combined experience also working in publicly funded positions and non-profit organizations.  In 2019 Karen and Melissa co-founded Intentional Therapist, designed to help mental health clinicians (especially females) redefine their approach to self-care.  Their mission is to help female mental health clinicians move from simply surviving to thriving in both their work and personal roles and to put more of themselves into their schedules.  Their hope is that through Intentional Therapist they can normalize self-care in all its forms (because it’s not just bubble baths and massages), foster a dialogue about its foundational importance, and create a thriving community of like-minded female mental health clinicians. 

Find out more at Intentional Therapist and connect with Dr. Melissa Tiessen & Dr. Karen Dyck on LinkedIn

Thrivival 101: A Fresh Take on Self-Care for Female Mental Health Clinicians Podcast


  • What are the unique aspects of being a female mental health professional 4:20
  • What Is The 4 C’s Approach? 12:48
  • How to build your intuitive skills 18:35

What Are The Unique Aspects Of Being A Female Mental Health Professional?

  • How are we socialized as women?
  • What are unique ways that we can practice self-care?

What Is The 4 C’s Approach?

  • The importance of “connection” and ways to connect with others
  • How to extend “compassion” to others but also to ourselves
  • How can we redefine what “courage” means?
  • The importance of finding ways to be “creative” 
  • Integrating all 4 c’s into your self-care routine
  • Finding time for self-care

Connect With Me

Instagram @holisticcounselingpodcast


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Sign up for my free email course: www.holisticcounselingpodcast.com

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The Art of Breath: How to Integrate Breathwork Techniques for Effective Therapy Sessions with Chris McDonald, LCMHCS

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Intentional Therapist and connect with Dr. Melissa Tiessen & Dr. Karen Dyck on LinkedIn

Thrivival 101: A Fresh Take on Self-Care for Female Mental Health Clinicians Podcast


Chris McDonald: Hey there, Holistic Counseling Podcast listeners, get ready for an episode that hits close to home, especially for the female mental health clinicians out there, or maybe you're close to some. In today's episode, we're diving into the pressing need to redefine our approach to self care. Yes, it's time to prioritize you, the healer.

I've got two special guests for you who are bringing the wisdom of their exclusive 4Cs model of connection, compassion, courage, and creativity. Why are these four pillars essential for your wellbeing? Tune in to today's episode and find out. This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice with confidence.

I'm your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist. I am so glad you're here for the journey.

Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast. Do you find that you're always putting the needs of others before your own? Do you feel guilt when you finally do take some time for yourself? You are not alone. This is very common in our field, especially for female mental health clinicians. In this field, you give so much of yourself.

The demands of our profession can sometimes overshadow our own needs. It's time to reclaim the narrative around self care and recognize its profound impact on our ability to support others effectively. Our guests today will shed light on why redefining our approach to self care is not just a luxury But a necessity.

I'm joined today with Dr. Karen Dick and Dr. Melissa Thiessen. Their mission is to help female mental health clinicians move from simply surviving to thriving in both their work and personal roles and to put more of themselves into their schedules. Their hope is that through intentional therapists, they can normalize self care in all its forms, foster a dialogue about its foundational importance, And create a thriving community of female mental health clinicians.

Today, they'll guide us through a transformative model designed specifically for you. The four C's model connection, compassion, courage, and creativity offers a holistic framework to nurture. and sustained our wellbeing. Welcome to the holistic counseling podcast, Karen and Melissa.

Karen Dyck: Thanks so much

Chris McDonald: for having us, Chris.

Thank you. Yeah. I'm so excited to have two people. I haven't had two people on here at once in a long time. So I'm looking forward to this conversation, but I wanted to start with what brought you to the space of focusing on self care for female clinicians.

Karen Dyck: Yeah. I guess I can start that. Yeah. Go ahead.

Yeah. So Melissa and I have had the pleasure of working in a number of settings, both kind of publicly funded community mental health, and now we both moved into private practice. And I think during the course of our careers and our training, we've had the pleasure of working with a number of different disciplines in the mental health field.

And I think something that just struck us through our work is. really the lack of training and, uh, information that's out there and even permission that's given to clinicians in acknowledging that the work we do is hard and that there's certain aspects of our work that really dictate that we take care of ourselves in some ways that might be a bit more unique compared to other professions, perhaps.

And, uh, at one point Melissa and I, we were just looking for, I guess, a different way to use our degrees. And, uh, we just started talking about different ideas and the value of providing support specifically to female clinicians really resonated with both of us, recognizing, of course, that all mental health clinicians deserve and, and need to have access to good self care resources, but that for female clinicians, there might be some unique aspects that go along with our socialization as women and some of the messaging we've received that perhaps needed a bit specific attention, which is what we hope our resources do.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Cause what is the differences do you think for women? Well, I can,

Melissa Tiessen: I can start jumping and Karen, feel free to add anything else, but definitely there's a couple of key things that we think are different for female clinicians. And the first thing really relates to how we're socialized as women, just gender socialization to identify with being female.

And there's, uh, two authors, uh, actually sisters, Emily and Amelia Nagoski, who a couple years ago wrote a book called Burnout. I think the full title is Burnout, The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. And we really love some ideas that they shared, one of which was that women tend to be socialized as human givers.

So doing for others, pleasing other people, putting other people's needs before our own, right? All of these very stereotypical notions of what it means to be a female. And, you know, even if we don't maybe consciously register those messages, so many of us have received those messages in our upbringing, in our families of origin, even to a certain extent in our training programs.

And these things are really going to have a huge influence on the permission that Karen mentioned earlier, the permission that we're going to even be willing to give ourselves, as well as the permission that we're going to be willing to give our colleagues to, to truly attend to what is actually going to make a meaningful difference in how we're taking care of ourselves in this work.

And especially because being a mental health clinician means. The definition of our work is caring for others, right? And so when we pair the definition of our work with how women are socialized, it's, we say it's sort of like this double whammy. And so, right, it's no wonder that women often struggle and mental health clinicians in general, but we found women in particular really, really can struggle.

With putting themselves first with giving themselves permission to make time for themselves with giving themselves permission to say no to a client's request and to take vacation time, all of these kinds of things to charge appropriate fees, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And 1 of the things that we're really trying to emphasize is that because we, we found too, that so many clinicians will often default to feeling as though it's some sort of personal feeling of their own that they're struggling with these things when.

It's not at all personal failing, right? Especially if this is coming from our socialization as female. Yeah,

Chris McDonald: that's what I wonder. Is that part of the socialization? It's just weird you're saying that because I just talked to a client about that. She's not a therapist, but it's the same thing that women get that I should be able to do this on my own and figure everything out.

And but then on the side of that, too, with guilt. Well, if I reach out for help, because to me, that's a coping skill and self care skill to reach out for help. So having difficulty reaching out for help because you feel guilty, like I should be able to handle it all. Right? Yeah. And

Karen Dyck: I think what happens sadly and what has happened is we have clinicians kind of suffering in silence.

We, we don't even want to bring up these topics, you know, I think so often what we're hearing women say is, you know, they look at their colleagues and it seems like they're managing just fine. They're seeing 7, 8, 9 clients a day and seem to have no problems with it and then kind of really judging themselves harshly for perhaps.

Realizing that a different kind of caseload works better for them, per se. And I think, you know, I think it's important to acknowledge that even when we see colleagues doing that on the surface, yes, they may look like they're doing fine, but do we really know how they're doing underneath the surface?

Yeah, exactly. They could also be suffering in silence and just believing that this is, this is what a mental health clinician looks like. Looks like someone seeing X number of people a day. And so they just kind of put on that facade and keep doing it, uh, perhaps to their own detriment in the long run.


Chris McDonald: what's wrong with me? Why can't I do as everyone else, but, but it's kind of like social media. What we see is only the highlight and often we don't see the truth. We see what people want to share and the vacations and good times are. good things in their practice.

Karen Dyck: Absolutely. Which is, you know, I think why we're really hoping that the work we're doing is going to give clinicians the permission to speak up about these things and, and try and change the culture, the work culture for

Chris McDonald: you.

Yeah, that's hard. That is really difficult, I think. But what I love about you guys is it sounds like you talk about. Discovering what are unique ways to use self care. Can you talk more about that?

Karen Dyck: Yeah, I guess I can, I can start. So this has kind of been a process that's been going on for several years, but in kind of reflecting on our own experiences and speaking with other female clinicians.

We've developed a framework that we feel is quite helpful to guide people in determining what self care practices are going to be most beneficial for them. And it's around a four pillar model. So our pillars include connection, compassion, courage, and creativity. And the framework really allows. Uh, clinicians to use the pillars to determine the self care practices that are going to be most useful to them.

So rather than being kind of prescriptive and, uh, encouraging people to exercise, eat healthy, you know, all of those things, we really hope that this framework allows people to identify a range of self care activities that are well suited for. Their unique personalities, their unique characteristics, their unique circumstances, et cetera.

And it's certainly not by accident that our first pillar is connection. Within that pillar, we include connection to ourselves. So that might mean getting a better understanding of what our values are, some of the beliefs that might be shaping our lack of self care practices, some of the emotions that come out, uh, how they show up in our body.

As well, so can I kind of connecting to ourselves, but also connecting to new information. So, some of the very real hazards of our profession and information like that, but also connecting to other people. That have similar ideas and values, and that can kind of support us in our self care journey. So we view connection to ourselves and others.

That's just a central component.

Chris McDonald: Can I ask you one question about the connection piece? Absolutely. So what are your thoughts with therapists as far as reaching out to other therapists? Do you think that that can be a part of self care too for them? Absolutely.

Karen Dyck: Because I imagine, Chris, you're referring specifically for therapy, therapists looking for Absolutely.

And, you know, Melissa and I have shared in previous conversations, I mean, both of us have accessed assistance through therapists as well. And I think, unfortunately, again, it Sometimes the guilt or shame that people experience, it's almost like, you know, I should know how to do this for myself. But if you think about it, right, physicians have physicians that they go to for their physical wellness.

Yeah. So, you know, why, why do we think that? For some reason, mental health clinicians should just be able to manage all of this on their own. So, absolutely, that is, uh, an important connection and one that I think can be really hard for folks to make. It

Chris McDonald: really is. Yeah. And I think connections with socially, too, is so important to be able to do things that are not counseling related, therapy related, having different activities.

Like, I love to dance. I love to read. You know, historical fixes, finding those things that are just nothing to do with field can can take you out of things. I think it's good self care,

Karen Dyck: you know, absolutely. And that kind of connects with our value to our connection to our values. Right? Often, if we think about our values and do some reflection, it will guide us towards other activities that are not at all related to our counseling.

And one of the reasons actually, our, our fourth pillar is creativity. And we include a range of things within that pillar, uh, humor and play, creativity, a number of things that I think are so important for therapists to engage in activities that are very different than our day to day work.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. So tell us about compassion.

What does that mean for your.

Melissa Tiessen: Yeah. So compassion, of course, is referring to both compassion for others. And I think as therapists, we're pretty well versed in extending compassion towards others. But of course, it's also about self compassion and a lot of ways, even more so about self compassion. And unfortunately, I think sometimes as therapists, we're not always so great at the self compassion piece.

I think sometimes we are. But if. We're really honest with ourselves. I think there's a lot of times where that is a real struggle because of, again, the gender socialization, the guilt, the shoulds, training programs, right? Striving for achievement and excellence. And, you know, there's. It's one or two perfectionists in our midst.

And so it's really, really normal, I think, for us to be hardworking, to be trying so hard to provide good services for our clients. And so as a result, it can also be really easy to being perhaps sometimes overly critical with ourselves when we feel like maybe things aren't going as well as we would like them to with a given client, or we feel like we're not.

On top of our paperwork or things like this, right? I mean, oh, my goodness, the topic of documentation and the shame that can come up around that, of course, is episode. Um, or we make a mistake, right? Yeah, just yeah, be human and make a mistake, right? Oh, my goodness. And that's exactly it. I think a big piece of our compassion pillar is really tapping into right?

Remembering that we're humans before we're therapists and we are allowed to take off our therapist hats and just being able to connect with really like the rights that we have as humans, as women, as therapists, and that it is okay for us to say no to requests. It is okay for us to put ourselves into our own schedule.

Actually, one definition of self care that we came across is That we really love and really kind of have adopted as our own definition is it's really about creating a life from which we don't need to escape. And I think it's beautiful. Yeah. And we, again, we cannot take credit for coming up with that, but we are taking credit for spreading it because it's so important, I think, and.

You know, and the other thing I think that we think about too, is creating the kind of life that our clients think we have, right? Because I think most clients are probably looking at us as therapists and thinking, Oh, well, you've got it all together, right? Why can't I be more like you? And then, right. And then back to the potential shame inside of us as a therapist.

Oh my God, if my clients only knew what, what was actually going through my head, right? So. Compassion just so incredibly foundational for being able to weather again that the real difficulties and in particular the uncertainty that comes with our work as therapists, right? There's never any guarantees of success.

Our work can be incredibly rewarding and it can be incredibly challenging because of dealing with other human beings and their emotions and our own emotions as well. As much as we might try to be blank slate, sometimes we have our own emotions too. So, so the compassion is really about, again, first and foremost, compassion for ourselves.

But then also we, we really do like to highlight compassion for our fellow colleagues. Because, again, sometimes it can be very tempting to either compare ourselves to others unfavorably or judge our colleagues in negative ways, right? To assume that, oh, well, this person's not taking good care of themselves.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Have you been on any Facebook groups for there? Yeah. I see a lot

Melissa Tiessen: of judgment. Yes, exactly. Right. Yeah. So I was just going to add that. We also think that compassion is really. It's important for our next killer, um, be encouraged because they really do kind of need each other for us to access the most out of both compassion and grief.

Karen Dyck: I was just reflecting on your Facebook comment and I was just thinking, you know, it's, it is so sad, isn't it? It is. When we come across that and, uh, as Melissa said, I think that's one of the reasons we really, Encourage people to think about how we perceive our colleague and to not make judgments about how they are or aren't taking care of themselves and recognizing that it's such an individual process that we need to just remind ourselves of that.

And, you know, the other thing we think about compassion is when, when we're able to be more compassionate with ourselves. With our colleagues, it can also open up a bigger window for gratitude. Because if we're in a state where we're very judgmental, critical of ourselves, of others, it doesn't leave much space.

in our day to notice the things that are going on in our lives that we really are grateful for. And so we hope that by incorporating more compassion into our days, that also makes some room for gratitude for some of the things that we really are grateful

Chris McDonald: for. Yeah. And what's coming up for me is compassion.

It's like we have to have space for ourselves for that self compassion, because I think some people run themselves so ragged with this job that they don't leave any time or space for themselves. Absolutely.

Karen Dyck: And often I think again, right, if we're not connected to ourselves, we may not even notice that until we're getting to, you know, we're getting too far away from self care and we really start having some very significant impacts and burnout becomes.

More of a reality. So kind of going back to the connection, again, trying to be aware of ourselves, our bodies, know what our signs are when, when we need to do something different.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Cause sometimes I think just in this field, we, we take on so much with clients and if we don't have ways to release that or take care of ourselves, it's just, you're setting yourself up for burnout and for compassion fatigue and even physical illness, if you don't, don't grab it, right.

And start to take care of yourself.

Karen Dyck: Yeah, absolutely. But Melissa, I interrupted you. You were starting to talk about courage.

Melissa Tiessen: Yeah, I was actually passing. I was trying to pass it over.

Karen Dyck: Well, I'm happy to take on the courage filler. It is actually one of our favorites because, you know, certainly when people think of taking care of themselves, the word courage probably doesn't come to mind for most people.

And yet, you know, again, because of some of the things we've been talking about already. We really believe that leaning into self care requires leaning into discomfort because it will involve us doing things that our gender socialization, maybe even our training has kind of suggested are things we, like a good mental health clinician wouldn't do perhaps, right?

Such as a client calls, they want an appointment. You look at your schedule. Yeah, you've got a couple of white spaces there and making the decision about whether or not to offer that, right? Depending on the severity of the client's situation, making that decision to protect some white space in our schedules can be really uncomfortable for clinicians.

And really uncomfortable for women when we're socialized to really keep giving and think about other people's needs first. So, you know, setting boundaries, making space in our schedules for ourselves for a lot of reasons is going to just naturally create discomfort. And so trying to be aware of why we're experiencing that discomfort, we hope is going to help people.

Give themselves permission to lean into that discomfort and not to assume that that discomfort means we're doing something wrong per se. And that

Chris McDonald: makes a lot of sense. And I'm glad you said the discomfort because I think with self care, most people don't talk about that, that there are parts that are uncomfortable.

And I just had this intuition, um, actually it was yesterday, so I'm a clinical supervisor and I just. Finished some supervision. I was like, I can't take any more people. But again, I had somebody reach out and I was like, Ooh, but, but I really love supervision. I don't got room in my shelter. So it was just like this voice in my head, like, okay, you got to get used to saying

Karen Dyck: no.

Absolutely. And it's, you know, I think your point about also that it can be really hard to say no to things we really

Chris McDonald: love and you're passionate about

Karen Dyck: it and absolutely. And yet, really, I think we need to get better at saying no, give ourselves permission to take a moment to think about things before providing an answer.

Uh, cause I think that's the other thing that can cause us a lot of problems, right? I know it has for me in my past and, and also partly just because I'm interested in lots of different things. I get enthusiastic about things and I think that can lead us down a road of, of burnout.

Chris McDonald: I think it's, it's, I always say it's like a window that sometimes our window gets open right?

When we let people in when we shouldn't with a boundary and say, oh, I can fit one more client. Oh, I can fit one more supervisee. Let me see. How can I rearrange my schedule? Like Tetris? There's always room. And then that's when, then I've done this before. I'm like, why did I do that?

Karen Dyck: Yes. And then, and then we keep the pattern going though, right?

I mean, I, I know that's happened to me. I, same thing. So I think so many of us can relate to that. Yeah,

Chris McDonald: no, for sure. So it is that courage to face discomfort, but isn't it too, as far as our emotions to face our uncomfortable emotions too, and not avoid just like we tell our clients, right? To be able to face our

Melissa Tiessen: fears.

I also wanted to add, I think it's. It's courage as well, not only to say no, but then maybe to go back after we have said yes and realize we shouldn't have said yes to something to go back and, and say, you know, what, I was rethinking this and I really appreciate the request or offer or whatever, but I, I need to say no now.

Right. And to know again, that. We have permission to do that just because we said yes at one point or said no at one point, we can change our answer and but that is so uncomfortable. Absolutely. And so it's tolerating the discomfort. I mean, really, that that's what courage is, of course, right? The other piece, though, that I think kind of relates.

to, to compassion too, but also really relates to our definition of putting more of yourself into your schedule is the courage as well to just like claim who you are, right? To whether it's claim expertise in a certain area or claim a certain therapy style, or just. Claim passions outside of work right to be to, to feel willing to do that regardless of what other people might think of us.

Right. But again, connections as well. Exactly. Own it. Mic drop. Like just

Karen Dyck: that's what it's

Melissa Tiessen: going to be. Yep. I like drop. And yeah, but, and really, again, there's going to probably be some discomfort that's going to come along with that. But knowing that we are going to be so much better off and that as a result, the people we work with are going to be so much better off as well.

It reminds me

Chris McDonald: of the authenticity, right? That can be so important, especially on this podcast, because a lot of clinicians who listen really love holistic things, but many, I call it coming out of the holistic closet are afraid to. Bring integrate these or to get training and to expand their horizons. But once you own that, it is a freedom too, for yourself.

Absolutely. So the next one was creativity. I'll just, I'll

Melissa Tiessen: jump in as Karen's having some water. So as Karen mentioned already, creativity, probably not what most people are going to be thinking about when they think of self care, we really see this as. foundational and also really linking with all three of the other pillars.

And so again, creativity, yes, this can be artistic pursuits. What we would traditionally think of as being creative, but so much more importantly, we're viewing this as play, humor, kind of just thinking outside the box. And most importantly, the willingness to get messy. So the willingness to do things that maybe we're not experts at just yet, the willingness to do something not perfectly, the willingness to try something out and see how it goes without having any guarantee of what the outcome is going to be.

And of course, especially for so many of us that are high achieving, perfectionist types. That can be super uncomfortable, right? We don't really want to do stuff if we know, if we don't know for certain that it's going to go well. Uh, and so it's going to take courage to be willing to do that. It's going to take compassion to be able to respond kindly to ourselves if things don't go exactly how we would like them to.

But it's also about connecting back with, as we were saying earlier, Well, what's actually valuable to me and what is really going to allow me to connect back to who I am, what I care about. And often it is things that we really loved doing when we were younger, when we weren't quite as concerned with doing things perfectly and the evaluations of others.

And so that willingness to get messy again can actually be getting paint on our fingers and our clothes, getting, you know, putting our hands in soil and baking things, but it can also be just trying something new, right? A new. Something new at work or something new outside of work, like a athletic pursuit or just even like a, a new genre of, of reading.

Again, not something we would normally think of perhaps as creativity, but it is, it is actually a willingness to step outside our comfort zone

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Karen Dyck: well, one of the things I really enjoy doing, and again, perhaps not what people think of when they think of creativity, I really enjoy doing things where I'm producing something very tangible.

And we found like a lot of therapists really seem to appreciate those activities as well. And I think partly because the work we do, right, it doesn't produce this product that we can show people. And it's a very different kind of satisfaction that we get from work. So for me, I love doing things like staining my deck in the summer.

It combines me being outside in nature and being at peace with that, but also a very tangible way. Uh, seeing the effort of my hard work, trying new recipes. I love cooking. I love doing gardening. I've taken carving classes. So a lot of, that sounds fun. It really is. And I, I love doing all of those things that just.

It's interesting how much joy it brings me and it reminds me again, how you can bring mindfulness into these activities. Because when I'm involved in those activities, I am in the present moment. I am immersed in what I'm doing. Everything else fades. And it's just, it's valuable for so many reasons.

Chris McDonald: Love that.

What about you, Melissa?

Melissa Tiessen: Yeah, like Karen, I also like, well, maybe I don't hate cooking, but I especially love baking, I should say. So baking is definitely something that feels like a very creative pursuit for me. Uh, also like doing that with my son and then just honestly allowing myself. Kind of partly through my son, cause he's still relatively little, to do a lot of creative, more traditional creative things, like we often do drawing videos together.

I recently bought a little fashion designer clipboard of Dolorima. This is exactly the kind of thing that I would have been so excited about when I was seven years old. So I honestly saw it the other day and I thought, I'm just going to buy this for myself. In fact, it's, it's here by my desk because it's the perfect example of something that I could just spend two, three minutes like between clients doing this sort of doodling, right?

And again, kind of like Karen said, that opportunity to be practicing mindfulness, to just be present with the sensations, the colors of the markers and just doing something that's very different than my usual work routine is. So I have a number of little, and as I know Karen does as well, little kind of playful doodads and things around my desk that are really there to be these visual reminders of connecting with that basically like younger side of myself that is just bursting to engage in creative pursuits.

But, you know, the, the person who spent many years at university has said.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. So it's making that intention, isn't it, to, to be more playful and I'm in another yoga training. I have, I'm a registered yoga teacher, but I just love yoga so much. So I'm in another training and one of the things we've learned is how to bring more playfulness with movement. And I had a yoga class this past weekend.

I did some belly dance move, it's called a figure eight where you move your hips, but I'm telling you, people loved it. They just felt like it's, it's just, it's the unexpected too, isn't it? That kind of gives us a little, Ooh, that was really fun.

Karen Dyck: I love that, Chris. Oh my gosh.

Chris McDonald: I used to belly dance many moons ago, but, but yeah, just, just that creative energy with movement too, when you can combine that, I think that it's so powerful and for clients

Karen Dyck: too.

Absolutely. Yeah. And I'm, I'm glad to hear that the people in the class loved that because I think, I think it can really be hard to let ourselves be a bit playful and silly. So, so nice that the other people in the yoga class were able to appreciate that. Yeah,

Chris McDonald: absolutely. So a lot, I've done a lot on self care for clinicians as well, but I have found the number one thing that comes up is people tell me they don't have time.

They don't have the energy for this. It's just not, they just don't have it. So, what do you say when clinicians tell you that?

Karen Dyck: Well, you know, one of the things that we've come across, and Melissa is always so much better than I am at remembering the names of books and authors. So, Melissa, I'm thinking about the psychologist that did the subtraction exercise.

Oh, Yale. Yale Schomburg. Yale Schomburg. And so it's interesting, you know, she has a book out and in it she talks about kind of the evolutionary perspective and how in pre modern times scarcity was kind of associated with threat, right, in terms of our survival. And because of that, our instinct is still to add things when we're dealing with stress.

And she cites some studies in there that suggest that. The humans will do that even when it's to their detriment. And, you know, it doesn't seem to matter what kind of task it is. So, one of the, one of the free webinars we had done for Psychology Munch month, which is in February in Canada, was actually kind of encourage people to do a subtraction exercise and to really look at their schedules.

Because it's, Right. How often do we think about taking things off our schedule? I think our immediate reaction is, well, I can't, can't take anything off my schedule. Resistance. Right. Yeah. Right. And so, you know, presenting it in a way that talks about the evolutionary perspective and helps people understand why as humans, this is a really normal tendency and yet one that can create some challenges for us, I think can be helpful.

One, one way of helping people look at their time. a bit differently. There's also a book finding, um, see, Melissa, you're going to have to help me out again. Eve Rodsky. Eve Rodsky. Um. Unicorn Space. Yes. The Unicorn Space. And, uh, she talks about how women have historically kind of treated our. Time like sand, so, you know, kind of this endless supply, not very valuable and we treat other people's time like diamonds and so precious.

And so there's, you know, there's things that we do where we're more likely to jump in and offer to do things because of that mindset. And so sometimes even just. Taking a step back and thinking about what you do during your day, even outside of work. And how often are we willing to jump in and offer to do something?

Because we're really not valuing our time. So, you know, those kinds of things. And also looking at energy, what. What kinds of activities are energy training versus replenishing? Cause also, I think some of the things we're prone to do after a hard day's work, that they make sense in the moment to sit on the couch and zone out at TV or just scroll social media, something that seems really effortless, but what does that really do for our energy?

And is it really more of a drain? Then a replenisher. So also just looking at the different activities were involved in and how many of them are energy training versus energy fueling. I think there's a few ways. And Melissa, I wonder if you have anything to add with respect to this as well. I

Melissa Tiessen: definitely agree with everything you mentioned, Karen.

And the 1 other thing I will add is. I also think sometimes we, and all of us do this for sure, but we kind of trap ourselves into thinking that self care is about something we need to be doing, right? Whether it's preparing healthy meals or exercising or getting eight hours of sleep. And of course those things are very important, but really what we're trying to emphasize is it's not just about the things that we do, but it's also about.

How we approach our days, how we approach our scheduling, how we approach our work, just how we are thinking about our approach to how we're taking care of ourselves in general. And so the good news there is that that's not about adding something else to our already over full schedule and to do list.

It's a really about though, again, back to having the courage to maybe pause. And like Karen said, doing a subtraction exercise or, uh, the courage to pause and ask ourselves, why did I say yes to that thing that I really don't want to do, right? Or the courage to pause and tell a colleague that we're struggling with something, right?

All of those things are ultimately probably going to help us to take much better care of ourselves in the long run than, you know, getting an extra couple of hours of sleep this week. And again, sleep hazard. Or another hour Netflix. But yes, exactly. Right? Right. So, yeah, we, we'd also very much say that it's a mindset.

Karen Dyck: Yeah. And, and one thing we don't, we really discourage is, you know, there are some approaches where they, they, I think often will say, well, just get up an hour earlier so that you can exercise or what have you. And, you know, that's not something that we really encourage people to do. It is about more, as Melissa said, taking a step back, looking at the way we're organizing our day.

Not about. Right. Because in some ways I feel like if you're, if the message is you need to get up an hour earlier, in some ways it's, I just, I'm not sure that's a helpful message in some ways. I think it feels like the message we're sending is they're just not managing their time well enough, or this isn't important enough.

If it was, they'd get up an hour earlier or, and I'm not sure that's a message that we really want to give women when they're already putting so much pressure on themselves to do it all. And. I think we need to take a step back from that.

Chris McDonald: Oh, I agree. And I think it's so helpful to, to figure out what works for you and your schedule.

Cause everybody's so different, what they can do. And some people aren't mourning people just period, you know,

Karen Dyck: it's just not going to work. Absolutely. Yeah. So important. And, and I think, you know, even just recognizing neurodiversity and women who identify as being part of another marginalized population, self care, you know, that.

also create some unique factors for, for women in their self care

Chris McDonald: practices. What are the benefits of integrating the 4Cs?

Karen Dyck: I think from my perspective, it's a framework that if you almost think about a house and you're framing the two by fours, you're putting all the two by fours up. Most houses are going to be framed the same way, but when you come into the interior and you're decorating, they're going to look very different.

And again, I think the 4Cs framework really allows for a very individualized approach where people can work on different pillars, although we see them as so intertwined, but I really feel that it's not prescriptive in terms of telling people what they need to do to take care of themselves. It's intended to help female clinicians reflect on their own circumstances, their own beliefs, and find a path that really works for them.

Chris McDonald: I think that makes sense, and I appreciate how it's all intertwined, too, because that's more of a holistic perspective, too, which is what we're all about here on the Holistic Counseling Podcast.

Karen Dyck: Absolutely, absolutely.

Chris McDonald: So what's the best way for listeners to find you to learn more about you and what you offer?

So our website

Melissa Tiessen: is intentionaltherapist. ca, and we also have a podcast, Revival 101, and I can find that on any podcast player. And I will just mention to a couple of times a year, we also run a online course for female mental health clinicians that we now are able to offer continuing education credits for as well.

So that's really exciting. And yeah. And I think some like along the lines of some of your offerings as well, Chris, uh, it's just so exciting to have the CE approval for it because I think it just really further emphasizes that this stuff is. part of our job. It's not separate from our jobs. We can't keep doing our jobs if we're not taking care of ourselves because we're our best

Chris McDonald: tools.

That's right. Good way to end it. I love it. And all, all that will be in the show notes for listeners. So yeah, take a look at that course. I think that could be so beneficial, but I want to thank you both for coming on the podcast today.

Karen Dyck: Thanks so much for having us, Chris. It was a real pleasure.

Chris McDonald: And listeners, thank you for tuning in to another episode.

Be sure to tune in next Wednesday when another episode drops. Are you ready to take your journey as a holistic therapist to the next level? I'd like to personally invite you to be part of our growing community of like minded individuals who share a passion for holistic therapy and the importance of investing in self care.

Just like we talked about today. So come on over and join my Facebook group, the holistic counseling and self care group. It's a welcoming space to connect with other therapists, ask questions, share experiences, and exchange ideas. Don't miss out and go to hcpodcast. org forward slash holistic group.

That's hcpodcast. org forward slash holistic group. And once again, this is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love. Till next time, take care. Thanks for listening. The information in this podcast is for general educational purposes only, and it is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are giving legal, financial counseling, or any other kind of professional advice.

If you need a professional, please find the right one for you. The Holistic Counseling Podcast is proudly part of the Site Craft network.

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