I am very conscious of times when I encourage students, colleagues and supervisees to be creative with using therapeutic techniques for their own personal support.

I am also conscious of times when some respond by telling me that they don’t use those very techniques because they are “for those in therapy”.

If you are still in training, I have to state right now that self care is essential.  And it is right up there with client care at the top of the agenda within any area of therapeutic work.

I talked about this aspect of clinical work in another recent Blog “Lockdown Meltdown” and make no apologies here for returning to it.

I am also conscious of demonstrating that I practise what I preach.

So, today I lost a special friend.

One technique within gestalt therapy is that of writing a “no send” letter to express any remaining feelings and emotions.  So I have done just that in order to support my own process of loss and grief.

First, I made sure I had time and space.  And that meant I cleared my diary and held over the “To Do List” for another day.

Then I set to the task of writing to my friend.

As I wrote and remembered the laughs, trials and discussions we shared over 20+ years, of course the tears flowed.  And so did the smiles, and the precious memories.

Most of all, at the end of the process, I found a renewed recognition of the inspiration, courage, zest for and enjoyment of life that she had shared with me; the comfort of having had an opportunity of writing a brief note shortly before she died that was read out to her by a family member and which felt like my personal goodbye to her; and a deep sense of privilege for having known a beautiful soul.

And, importantly, I also made sure that I had time after the letter writing for a cup of tea.  I lit a candle.  And took some moments to breathe deeply in and out again, with the words “Goodbye.  Go well my wise and gentle friend.”  She would have enjoyed that ritual.

For me, it’s also worth noting that my friend’s passing was about as gentle and peaceful as it can be, and that it happened on Epiphany which biblically was when the Wise Men arrived at the stable to see the infant Christ – she would have appreciated that point absolutely.

And experiencing the depth and power of that technique, enables me to deepen my understanding of the process and the impact of that ritual, and supports my work with clients even more.

So how much are you committed to in your own self care within your therapeutic work?  Think about it.