Why is it Important for Therapists to Walk Their Talk?

What Is a Responsible Therapist to Do?

  • Recognize that self -preservation is not selfish. You can’t fill someone else’s cup when yours is empty.
  • Take an inventory of the stressors in your life.
  • Note the signs of compassion fatigue which include:

Physical and emotional exhaustion

Feeling a lack of job satisfaction and an ongoing desire to avoid work

Becoming socially isolated

Depersonalization (symptoms disconnected from real causes)

Physical exhaustion.

Anger and frustration toward clients

  • Theory and book knowledge only go so far. Practical application of all you have learned is as useful for you as for your clients.
  • If you have a spiritual practice, incorporate it to maintain equilibrium.
  • Engage in scrupulous self-care which could include: adequate sleep, healthy nutritional choices, exercise, massage, meditation, yoga and down time; in whatever way you define it.
  • Invest in yourself by time with those who nurture your wellbeing.
  • Listen to music.
  • Make music.
  • Attend fun activities.
  • Journal about your feelings.
  • Avoid ‘playing therapist’ when you are off duty, as the tendency is to maintain that role with people in your personal life.
  • Steer clear of substances that are self- medicating, to prevent feeling the effects of time with clients.
  • Seek support from colleagues or supervisors.
  • Take vacations to locales that refill your tank.
  • Get up from your desk and take stretch breaks in between clients.
  • Acknowledge the losses and trauma in your own life that may be reflected in the stories told by your clients.
  • Read books that focus on therapist’s needs for support, including Help for the Helper: The Psychophysiology of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma by Babette Rothschild, Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization and Trauma and the Therapist: Countertransference and Vicarious Traumatization in Psychotherapy with Incest Survivors by Karen W. Saakvitneand Laurie Anne Pearlman.
  • Take Continuing Education classes that offer skills to assist you in providing the best care for yourself, so you can better care for those you serve.
  • See a therapist yourself if need be.
  • Ask yourself about the suggestions you would offer a client who was facing work related stressors.
  • Know that even as a professional, you are not immune to the challenges that befall clients. You are human, after all.

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Why is it Important for Therapists to Walk Their Talk?

Edie Weinstein Moser, MSW, LSW

Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a journalist and interviewer, licensed social worker, interfaith minister, radio host and best-selling author. A free-lance journalist, her writing has been printed in publications and on sites such as The Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Beliefnet, Identity, Inner Child Magazine, New Visions, Holistic Living, Conversations, Bellesprit, The Whirling Blog, The Doylestown Intelligencer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, YogaLiving, Wisdom, Mystic Pop, In Your Prime, the “What The Bleep Do We Know?” website and The Bucks County Writer. She has been interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fox 29 news, CBS 3 news, WWDB 96.5 and National Public Radio as well as numerous blog talk stations. Check out her website at:


APA Reference
Weinstein Moser, E. (2016). Why is it Important for Therapists to Walk Their Talk?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 3 May 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 May 2016
Published on All rights reserved.