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Permission = Self-Compassion = Self-Care©

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‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style’ : Maya Angelou

How easy is it for you to give yourself permission as a Child Therapist to draw upon theoretical frameworks, tools, and techniques, and utilise them in a developmentally sensitive way within your clinical work?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘If someone gives permission to do something, they are allowed to do it (https://dictionary.cambridge.org).  Permission means learning to trust yourself and to let go of the need for approval.  This can be challenging when first qualified as there can be a need to seek approval from others as you transition to paid clinical work usually within an organisation or in private practice.

Often feeling grounded in one’s orientation and skills only evolves after qualification.  Fluidity of thinking can be difficult especially when trying to integrate all that you have learnt.  Sometimes the ground beneath you can feel shaky or strange often linked to fear and a feeling of not good enough.  It is at this point self-doubt or imposter syndrome can creep in and plague you regardless of your accomplishments and skills. 

There is an ambivalence to self-doubt, on the one hand it can be challenging and full of fear, on the other hand, it can be a time for introspection about self and others.  Key is not to become your own worst enemy as you listen to your inner critical voice which may ultimately hold you back when responding to clients.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what child therapy qualifications, skills, and experiences one has, we can all face new or unexpected moments in clinical practice or with organisations whom you may have trusted and had a long-term relationship with.  Sometimes you may feel that the ground feels strange, questions of ‘How will I know if what I am offering has a therapeutic value?’, What if my best is not good enough?’, What if I make the situation worse?’.  These are all important questions to examine as you develop your reflectivity and reflexivity.

Clear your mind and look over your professional horizon and make a commitment to yourself.  Recognise that you will know the good from the bad because your ethical stance and professional values will create safety for the good.  Be empowered to face your fear and to ‘Dream and give permission to envision a YOU that you choose to be’ (Joy Page) as you harness and utilise your vast knowledge and creativity for clients of all ages and stages of development.

As you reflect on 2021, continue to build a strong but playful foundation and get ready to make the deepest commitment to yourself in 2022, for when ‘we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect and experience empathy’ (Brene Brown), not only for our clients but more importantly towards one’s self.