Professionalism

This is a revised and expanded version of an essay I have written previously

One thing that I believe we as Spirit Workers need to be discussing in more depth is the nature of working with clients in a modern world. We are not the only form of spiritual or psychological healing out there, and this changes the nature of how we interact with our clients, how our clients interact with us, and how our clients find us. People who are troubled do not necessarily know who or what we are, what services we offer, and whether those services can work with their other options or are strictly antagonistic in nature. We are not the new kid on the block, but as more and more psychotherapists are drawn to shamanic techniques for their clients it is likely our skills are going to be in higher demand and our visibility is going to increase.

Further, as Spirit Workers, we struggle regularly with clients on issues of the Mind and Soul. We should be developing and discussing what our professional, ethical boundaries are with our clients and students and what our standards of care are when working with others. We are also going to be dealing with people who have serious problems–both psychological and physical–and we need to understand both where we can help and what our limits are.

Dealing with such issues, we are also going to start seeing the same issues in our group that psychotherapists deal with regularly: Burnout, Countertransference, Vicarious Traumatization, and Compassion Fatigue. We need to be having conversations about what these are and how we, as helpers, can deal with them in ourselves and others when they arise.

These are not an area to be treaded lightly into, because we are dealing with people’s very souls (both ourselves and that of others), but it is something that we need to be having a conversation about. Part of my purpose in this blog is to start that conversation, and my Boundaries series has been part of that. I am going extend the concept and start writing a series of Professionalism essays, and encourage others to do the same. Under this heading I will discuss issues with being a Spirit Worker in modern society and the issues that come up in the course of acting in a helping profession.

Some possible topics that I want to eventually address with this series:

  • Professional Ethics/Boundaries
  • Limitations of Practice
  • Advertising
  • Shamanic Countertransference
  • Burnout

Essentially all of the aspects of being a modern helping profession that we must deal with moving forward.

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