30 Apr

Follow Your Passion: Discovery is the first step

We have all heard the phrase, “just follow your passion.”  That sounds like a way to inspire our lives but is it good advice and how do we know what our passion is?  Finding out what you are truly passionate about takes a little detective work.

If we look more closely at this trend there seems to be two streams of thought.  One is just to jump right into whatever makes your heart sing without consideration for the practicalities of life.  So let’s say I am passionate about chocolate, do I leave my career to work in a chocolate shop?  Considering a few practicalities might be in order.  Am I passionate about chocolate or perhaps I’m really passionate about food.

Expand your ideas and see where it takes you.  Once we go down this rabbit hole the possibilities become endless.  This could involve opening a restaurant, creating a home based business, taking a chocolate course or traveling somewhere and exploring new food that we might love as much as chocolate.

We can find passion in our everyday if we look hard enough and are willing to try something a bit different.  Volunteer to take on a new project or do something for co workers that makes you happy and shares your passion.  Spread that feeling of happiness and watch it grow.

Don’t discount ideas that seem unrealistic.  Work with them and think about how you could make them fit.  Think to the future and explore possibilities.  To explore this idea further The Muse looks at 6 Fresh Ways to Find Your Passion.

Being passionate can test our comfort zone and tolerance for change.  As humans we are often filled with excuses for why we can’t do things.  What is the barrier standing in your way?  Fear, financial security, what people might think?

Oprah magazine is always there to help us in these times of uncertainty with articles like How To Find Your Passion and The Secret to Finding Your Passion. The authors lead us to ask ourselves questions and find themes in our life that help us find out what keeps us interested and what makes us happy.  No expensive tests needed, just explore your soul, find your passion and you’re on your way to a new adventure!


22 Apr

When Caregivers Experience Grief and Loss

There are people who help others everyday as professional caregivers.  These people may be social workers, support workers, teachers, counsellors or acting in any role where they provide care and support for others.  In these roles we may find ourselves supporting clients through death and loss but what happens when the loss experienced is a client?

If we have worked in the field long enough we have all lost someone we have worked with.  We work with a vulnerable population, sometimes we are supporting them through a terminal illness or other times their death is sudden and unexpected, possibly a suicide.  We are professionals who establish therapeutic boundaries, but that does not mean we are devoid of human emotion.

The loss of a client can be painful, causing us to think about what we could have done differently, wondering if we did enough or simply mourning the loss of someone who touched our life. Feeling grief is a normal, healthy reaction to loss but it is very different losing a client than losing a friend or family member. With these boundaries firmly in place we may grieve alone and without the support of others.  Here are some thoughts and reflections that can help.

Don’t Let Grief Go Unprocessed

Of course we have to consider confidentiality but there are options. If it’s available to you utilize clinical supervision to talk about how you’re feeling.  The loss may bring up feelings about another client we are working with or concerns about our own competency.  Talk about it in a safe place and make connections to how you’re feeling and the thoughts you may be having that aren’t evidence based.  Utilize your Employee Assistance Plan and contact a counsellor where you can process your feelings in a confidential and  non judgmental environment.

Accept That Grief Is Messy

Grief is not linear and yes, it is messy, as the above graphic might suggest.  Shortly after the death of a client I found myself unexpectedly having to leave a staff meeting after becoming tearful.  Emotions can sneak up on you at the most inconvenient times. Speaking to colleagues who have experienced a similar loss can be really helpful.

Reflect and Respond

Clinical reflection can assist us in our practice whether it is creating a professional network or thinking about the client and our positive interactions.  Consider what you learned from the experience and how this impacts your role as a helping professional.

Be self aware

Be aware of the impact this is having on you and take care of yourself.  You had a unique relationship with your client and your feelings about this loss will also be unique. Buy that bouquet of flowers, go for that walk, have a cry and above all be kind to you because that is exactly what you need right now.

References and Resources

Coping with a client’s suicide,  American Psychological Association, November 2008 gradPSYCH

Coping with the emotional aspects of a client’s death, The New Social Worker, Sharon Martin, LCSW

A Therapist’s Grief: When a Client Suddenly Dies, Paula J. Siegel, MFT

When Therapists Mourn: Coping With a Client’s Death, Zur Institute


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