Episode 12 Live Consultation with Jaclyn Fortier

May 26, 2021

What can counselors do when they are feeling fatigued? Is there a way for counselors to find a balance between helping their patients and helping themselves? How do you know when to turn off the faucet?

MEET JACLYN FORTIER

Jaclyn has clinical experience working with anxiety, family conflict, and domestic violence recovery. She specializes in working with women, adolescents, and families.

She works with techniques that are evidence-based and proven to alleviate issues such as relationship conflict, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.

Jaclyn has extensive experience working in a clinical recovery setting with trauma, addictions, and domestic violence prevention.

Jaclyn is the practice owner of Carolina Counseling Wellness Associates, PLLC. Which offers outpatient mental health care and private practice office support for licensed counselors practicing at our Center. Jaclyn offers business consultation services to mental health counselors with coaching for private practice services.

Jaclyn also offers clinical supervision for North Carolina associate counselors working towards full licensure and is a qualified supervisor through the NC-BLCMHC.

Visit her website.

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • Finding balance between healing others while evading burnout
  • What can you do to break up your day a little more?
  • When do you turn the faucet off?

FINDING BALANCE BETWEEN HEALING OTHERS WHILE EVADING BURNOUT

I think that’s where it starts: looking at your day and structuring it … when I created my private practice many years ago, I created it around my self-care, so I don’t work Monday nights because that’s my yoga time, and I don’t work Wednesday and Friday because that is my other workout time. (Chris McDonald)

By working 12-hour days without a break, non-stop, you will run right into fatigue. That is why structuring your day is important, even if it is a delicate suggestion of when you will take a break and pencil in a cup of tea by yourself in the midst of the deadlines.

Through creating a structure, you can begin to place boundaries around your time. The work is to try to stick to them as much as possible because your rest is as important as your work.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BREAK UP YOUR DAY A LITTLE MORE?

Ask yourself how you can add breaks into your day. These could range from:

  • Eating your lunch away from your desk, or
  • Taking a walk around the block for 10-minutes, or
  • Having coffee with a friend in between clients.
  • Make time in between clients so that you have time to release energy and emotions from the first client before heading right into the next session with another.

What can you do in between your sessions, besides going to the bathroom? … do whatever you connect with to take those minutes [for yourself]. (Chris McDonald)

Think about your movement throughout the day. If you are sitting a lot or for most of the day, try taking moments to do some light physical activity such as walking around, doing quick yoga, or stretching at your desk.

If you work through telehealth, take eye breaks away from the screen as well to give your eyes a chance to refocus and rest because your eyes are also muscles.

WHEN DO YOU TURN THE FAUCET OFF?

People all have different signals that their body sends them for when they need to slow down and take some time to rest and recuperate.

For most people, this comes in the form of fatigue, both mental and physical.

  • Do you feel mental fog?
  • Do you feel the tension in the back, neck, or shoulders?
  • Are you feeling overly emotional or irritable?

You [have to] turn that awareness in to ask “what is my sign? How do I know?” because sometimes if you are not focused on that, you are not really going to pay attention and you are going to push yourself too far. (Chris McDonald)

It is important to have the awareness first, of your bodily sensations, because when you are aware of your fluctuations then you can act accordingly at the right time.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Chris McDonald – Self-Care for the Counselor: A Holistic Guide for Helping Professionals

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Transcript

[CHRIS McDONALD]

The Holistic Counseling Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Behind the Bite, Full of Shift and Impact Driven Leader, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast for you to discover diverse wellness modalities advice on growing your integrative practice and grow confidence and being your unique self. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I'm so glad you're here for the journey.

Welcome to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. Today I'm bringing you another live holistic counseling consultation, which is part of a series of episodes. This is not your typical podcast interview. In this episode, I answer one big question that a listener needs help with whether that's practice building, self-care or anything else related to holistic counseling. Jaclyn so excited to bring this to you. Today's guest is Jaclyn Fortier. She is a practice owner of Carolina Counseling Wellness Associates, which offers outpatient, mental health care and private practice office support for licensed counselors. Practicing at the center. Jaclyn has clinical experience working with anxiety, family conflict, and domestic violence recovery. She specializes working with women, adolescents, and families. She also offers business consultation services to mental health counselors with coaching for private practice services. Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, Jaclyn.

[JACLYN FORTIER]

Hi, good morning, Chris. How are you today?

[CHRIS]

I'm great. So glad you could come on.

[JACLYN]

Well, thank you for having me.

[CHRIS]

Okay. Can you tell my listeners more about yourself and your work before we get started?

[JACLYN]

health counselor since around:

[CHRIS]

Oh, that's great.

[JACLYN]

Of our practice. So that's where I've been. And that's what I've been doing and going on 12, 13 years now. So just learning as we go, I think, after the pandemic we'll figuring out what to do next.

[CHRIS]

Absolutely. For sure. So you have a small group practice?

[JACLYN]

I do. I also am a real estate consultant, so I rent spaces to private practice owners and do some practice coaching and really teaching mental health providers on how to be independent in their own practices as well.

[CHRIS]

Fantastic. So you have a wealth of knowledge as well.

[JACLYN]

I try. I really I'm trying to own that, but thank you. I I've been called the empowerment counselor ---

[CHRIS]

Oh, I like it.

[CHRIS]

So I know you mentioned you may be doing a podcast someday, so that could be your podcast, the empowerment counselor.

[JACLYN]

Awesome. Just learning from the best here.

[CHRIS]

Oh, of course. So let's get to it. So what is your big question, Jaclyn?

[JACLYN]

I think after last year, we're still kind of just, the fog is lifting and I know a lot of mental health counselors that I consult with and work with we're all just feeling this low grade fatigue.

[CHRIS]

Absolutely.

[JACLYN]

Somehow burnout, some feeling, the overwhelmed that, I know the medical providers are as well, that some I see in my own practice, but just feeling that, wow, there's a lot here. That we are holding a lot that we are feeling and where do we put that energy? Where do we learn the balance of the helping, the healing and recovering from the burnout?

[CHRIS]

So, and I think you mentioned too, before we hit record, is that fatigue, isn't it of all that we carry. I have felt that too and I think all of us have, going back to last year and how that was such a transition, wasn't it? And moving forward.

[JACLYN]

Absolutely.

[CHRIS]

Yes. Yes, exactly. But I think you got to go back to like, how do you structure your day now? What does a typical day look like for you?

[JACLYN]

I brought a black coffee and I have ---

[CHRIS]

As I sip my coffee listening to you.

[JACLYN]

Yes. You know, I have teenagers in the home, I'm a new step-mom. I had a lot going on at home and I know a lot of people are doing that and I come to work and I got my nugget black coffee, probably my second that I had and just running. And then that's really how I start my day, is lunches and sandwiches and online school and virtual school and asynchronous days. I think that's the ---.

[CHRIS]

That's been a big struggle, hasn't it for parents, especially? That's just been quite a juggle. So tell me more about how you're scheduling clients in your day.

[JACLYN]

I have recently, starting in January, I've really been working on this and seeing less people per day and really blocking that time for self-care. So I haven't filled in the self-care like I want to, but I've definitely created the space for it, which I think is ---

[CHRIS]

That's so important. Yes.

[JACLYN]

Like the first step that you'll assist me in figuring this out.

[CHRIS]

But I think that that's where it starts, is looking at your day and structuring it. And what I did just to let you know that when I created my private practice many years ago, I created it around my self-care. So I don't work Monday nights because that's my yoga time and I don't work in the morning early on Wednesday and Friday because that's my other workout time. So I specifically worked around my self-care. So that's why I asked about structure. And I think for all the listeners as well, how do you structure your day? So if you're running 12 hour days nonstop without a break, guess what? You're going to be exhausted. You're going to be fatigued. So I think like you did, you did the right thing to limit the number of clients.

Now you got to know what's best for you. I know some people that see nine clients a day. I physically can't, mentally can't do that. So you have to really structure it down what works for you and back to back is not always the best thing. I think we have to have some space to let go of the one client, release some of that energy and then get ourselves ready for the next client, just a little bit, even if it's 10 minutes that breathing space. Because if you're back to back and like you said on the go, on the go, on the go, you're going to be more exhausted, aren't you?

[JACLYN]

Yes. As you're saying this, I'm visualizing what the energy would feel like to, instead of be running, we'd be strolling.

[CHRIS]

Strolling? Yes. But if you are running, running all day and that's how it feels, and of course you're going to be more exhausted, but think about scheduling and breaks during the day, what would that look like for you? And some kind of disconnection from like, I know some people do eat their lunch at their desk, but can you go outside for a little while? You know, I used to walk around all the time, my parking lot when I was at the house. They're like, "Who's this crazy lady out here," but that just kind of disconnected me from everything. Pre-pandemic I would meet people out for coffee, other colleagues or lunch, and just getting out of the office and that started to come back now that I'm vaccinated and other people are. It just really breaks up the day. So I guess the question too, to think about, what can you do to break up your day a little more?

[JACLYN]

Right. I love that. I really do. I think that the one thing that I have been working on, which goes along with that is taking half days on Fridays. So researching, when do I have resentment and ---

[CHRIS]

Oh, okay, that's a good question.

[JACLYN]

It was coming Friday afternoons and I'm looking at my office and all the other counselors aren't there. And I'm taking notice of that and like, "Why am I here?"

[CHRIS]

Oh true. You're right. That was the other question I had for you was how are you scheduling your week? And Mondays I learned are, well now they're my podcasting day and catch up day for private practice. So whatever else I didn't get to the following week, I can just get any paperwork, phone calls, those kinds of things. And then Friday, guess what? I don't work past three.

[JACLYN]

Okay.

[CHRIS]

So I schedule it that way too and sometimes if I'm able, then I take part of the afternoon and I just watch a horror movie because that's what I love to do. That's one of my favorite things, which some people might find strange as a counselor, but that is part of my interests that I love. That's a total escape for me, finding those escapes that really you can connect with. Or I go outside, take some time outside and read.

[JACLYN]

That is so helpful to hear. I love that. Thank you.

[CHRIS]

are for the Counselor back in:

[JACLYN]

That is so amazing. I love that. I think every therapist in their own practice can relate. It's like, when can I go to the bathroom? How is this going to work? Can I have a snack and can I get [crosstalk]?

[CHRIS]

What can I do? But even just, you know sometimes because I love yoga, so I'll do a yoga pose or just sometimes just lay down and do Shavasana for a minute, or do child's pose, do some breathing, whatever you connect with to take those minutes. Sometimes when it's cold out, when it was raining this winter, I would walk around my house like I'm going for a while. My kinds look at me like, I'm crazy.

[JACLYN]

I love that.

[CHRIS]

So think about movement through the day, because the more you're sitting too, and you know that's the new smoking, that's just not good for you as well. And some people just don't, they get in that mode of work, work, work, got to keep going, focus. But I think just even finding friends you can text with or colleagues during the day too, just a quick, "Hey, how's it going? How was your day?" Or I call them the text buddies for support. Other colleagues, you can say, "You know what, I'm just having a hard day today. And five people canceled and just wanted to talk to someone." And I know all the mental health therapists know what I'm talking about with that.

[JACLYN]

Yes yes. I think that's helpful.

[CHRIS]

Yes. I guess you got to think of too Jaclyn, so what energizes you? That's the question too.

[JACLYN]

I love gardening. I think that's, one of the things that I integrated into my office space is house plants and just attending to them can be very grounding and very feeling of that brain break of just giving myself a little moment of rest.

[CHRIS]

Yes. Yes. And I think too, as far as the fatigue, if you're doing a lot of telehealth that you do have to take eye breaks. And I had an episode on the semi and Nothing Left to Give Podcasts about self-care for telehealth. It was preventing burnout, I think was the name, but looking away from your computer, they say to do that until 20 feet away for 20 seconds because your eyes are muscles too. So you do have to rest your eyes and close your eyes, even when you're, if you're a female, when you're sitting down to go bath, and when you take that break, closing your eyes when you can. Because you will get more tired if you're not resting your eyes, if you're on, especially at all the screen time, it's just exhausting.

[JACLYN]

It is. You know I'm thinking, as you're saying that, I think that's one of the things that as therapists, we did not get training on how to do this. I remember last April, we just got told, "Go home and teach your clients how to do telehealth and teach the insurance companies that they need to pay for telehealth." And then, and let's try to figure out how to get to this ---

[CHRIS]

No other guidance.

[JACLYN]

With no other guidance and we're all just coming out for, I know I am and my practice and my colleagues are just coming up for that first, feels like that first breath of air to say, "Whoa. Ah, okay, wow." But we do need to look away and rest our eyes. And I didn't even realize that until you said that and that's helpful.

[CHRIS]

Yes, and just kind of notice too, if you do that, take those eye breaks and notice what your fatigue level. But I guess the other part of this comes to sleep too, making sure that you're getting enough sleep and that's a big integral part of self-care, that you're going to bed early enough and getting enough rest and quality sleep too, that you're waking up refreshed. Because if you're not, then you may not be getting enough sleep or you're waking up a lot, which can cause a lot of fatigue during the day. And unfortunately too much coffee, it'd be a problem too with energy.

[JACLYN]

Oh, I knew you're going to say that.

[CHRIS]

I'm not saying don't drink coffee.

[JACLYN]

I can take my coffee. I know. I agree, it's the balance and not having it in the afternoon and all of those things that they recommend that that ritual is ---

[CHRIS]

And I guess are you setting up your schedule for what's good for you. Like for me, I would not be good at counseling at 7:00 AM or eight in the morning. So I don't start till 10, 30, 11, sometimes one. It depends on what's happening that day, but setting up your practice to what works for you.

[JACLYN]

That's a change I just started making in January. And that really brings me to this point of I'm in a transition phase right now in my energy work and just catching my breath after the pandemic and looking around and saying, "Okay, how can I have longevity to this caring for my patients and clients, but also caring for my own health and the colleagues around and being an example for balanced holistic self-care? Is something that's passionate for me.

[CHRIS]

Yes, it is definitely. And it is something, as we call it yoga intention. What is your intention? So if you really keep that as your goal in your mind that this is something I want to work on each day, and sometimes I ask myself during the day to like start of the day, what, how am I going to take care of myself today? What is my self-care that I need? And it's that intuition too. I like to use to say, what does my body need? And just be quiet and listen to something will come to you. And I know sometimes it is, I just need to put my head down for a second. And sometimes I've taken a nap, even if it's 15 minutes during the day, and I've done this in my office too. I was like, you know what? I have a couch here. I have to lay down. Oh my Lord. But yes, you got to do what you got to do. And I guess for you, is there any other up questions from what we talked about today?

[JACLYN]

I think it's just, I think you're answering it, but just like, when do what is your internal signals that either you have, or know of other people to have of when to turn the faucet off? You know, we just had that faucet on and I feel like that energy of just flowing out and wanting to help people and wanting to help ourselves and our families. And how do you know when just to turn that off?

[CHRIS]

So turning the faucet off meaning instead of keep, go, go, go.

[JACLYN]

Like, when do you just know that it's like, as far as like your body signals [crosstalk], in your body of just like, when do you turn that off and say, "All right, that's enough for today."

[CHRIS]

Yes. That's a good question. I think too, because a lot of people are still working at home and they say that people actually work more. And I've done that before. I've been guilty too, just like, "Oh, well I'm not driving so I could just continue working and just keep going." And that's exhausting too, and it makes you more tired. But I noticed for me, it's extreme fatigue that I just can't focus. I can't think straight anymore. I'm like, okay, I need to turn that faucet off and stop and disconnect and get away from this for a bit and get away from screens and take a breather, go out in nature or something. For me, it's more of a fatigue thing when I'm feeling, I hate, I don't know how to say this cloudy in my mind, I guess, is what it feels like for me.

[JACLYN]

Okay. That's what I was looking for. Like actual cues, like physical cues.

[CHRIS]

But I think too looking at do you feel tension too, if it's been a long day in your back or shoulders, just really tuning into those bodily sensations. And everybody's different too. You might be different too. I think you got to turn that awareness in to say, "What is my sign? How do I know?" Because sometimes if you're not focused on that, you're not going to really pay attention. Then you're going to push yourself too far until the sink is overflowing.

[JACLYN]

Yes I can. I'm getting the visual [crosstalk the energy is this coming out and out. And I'm a very energetic person. All my colleagues know that I can just get the stuff done, the GST energy of like, okay, what do I need to do now? And just the turning off is the part that I can notice is something to work towards, learning more about.

[CHRIS]

Because once we have awareness, then we can do something about it. So we have to have the awareness first or any bodily sensations. Does that make sense?

[JACLYN]

It does. Absolutely. I was thinking of when you say bodily sensation of irritability and I don't know if you can speak to that. It's like a symptom, a symptom of fatigue ---

[CHRIS]

Definitely. Because I know you mentioned, we talked before, too about burnout too and that definitely is a sign for a lot of people for burnout. Is that your ability just overwhelmed? And I know I've gotten that way too. My husband keeps talking to me and I'm doing 10 things at once. I'm like, "Get out of my office." Sometimes you just get to that point. It's just like, "Okay, that's my sign. I need to do something." But yes, because I'm feeling overwhelmed.

[JACLYN]

I think every person in a relationship of any kind has felt as they were the past year.

[CHRIS]

It's just been a long year.

[JACLYN]

Absolutely.

[CHRIS]

Does that answer that?

[JACLYN]

Absolutely. I think that that is very helpful and I'm taking notes as we speak. So I appreciate your insight about holistic self-care for the holistic counselor.

[CHRIS]

What's your plan of action based on what we talked about today? Is there anything that we've talked about that you think you could use?

[JACLYN]

Absolutely. I love the word intention and just sitting in the moment in the morning and setting an intention for the day and taking a note of what we may need as providers that day for our own care before we even start the day. And more preventive intention is what I'm taking note of.

[CHRIS]

True. If you just start your day, then it's done. You're on go. Yes, but thank you so much Jaclyn for coming on today.

[JACLYN]

You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

[CHRIS]

I hope it was helpful.

[JACLYN]

Absolutely.

[CHRIS]

Thank you so much for my listeners for tuning in today and remember to subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts. And again, this is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love. Until next time, take care.

If you're loving the show, will you rate review and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform? We just started this and that helps other people find this show. Also, if you're feeling uncertain about your modalities and you want to build your confidence to be your unique self, why don't you to join my free email course, Becoming a Holistic Counselor over holisticcounselingpodcast.com. In my Becoming a Holistic Counselor course, you'll get tips for adding integrative care into your practice, what training you need and don't, and the know-how to attract your ideal holistic clients. If this sounds like the direction you are headed, sign up at holisticcounselingpodcast.com.

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