From community mental health agencies to rehabilitation agencies, from schools to drug and alcohol recovery centers, practitioners work in many different settings. The very nature of our jobs is to provide care and therapy for others while receiving little care in return. This treatment of others is a one-way street known as one-way caring. Given the roles that we play in our profession, it is important to recognize that we need to find ways to have our own needs met also. If left unattended, this job pattern of one-way caring can leave us drained and lethargic.

Another issue related to our work with clients is that of vicarious trauma. Clinicians who work with very troubled individuals or groups can begin to take on some of the symptoms of those with whom they work. As committed professionals, it is our job to really work with our clients on the issues they bring to us. As a result, we oftentimes have to delve into past events that people have experienced. At times, we may be deeply affected by the traumatic events that others have experienced. When this happens, our stress levels can increase. Self-care strategies become increasingly important when we are affected in this way.