Therapy for Medical Professionals and Caregivers

“Surrender is deeply misunderstood as an act of weakness. Surrender is the bravest and most lucid thing a human ever does.” – Andrew Harvey

Are you a nurse, physician, or other medical worker?  Does your work involve providing physical or emotional care to people who are injured or suffering? Have you been feeling burned out, exhausted, or overwhelmed?

You deserve care, too.

My name is Rebecca Horner, LCSW, and I provide therapy for medical professionals and caregivers from all over Charlotte, North Carolina.  Providing care can be incredibly life giving, but it can also be physically, emotionally, and socially taxing. My treatment is designed to help the helpers because everyone deserves support – including you.

If you are interested and ready to sign up, contact me today. Read on to learn more about how your work affects you, as well as how therapy can help.

Do I need therapy?

Whether you are a doctor, a nurse, or other medical professional, you chose your work for a reason. You wanted to help others and ease their suffering. You wanted to use your talents to make a difference. You wanted to make the world a healthier, happier place.

And yet, when you chose to go into the medical field, you may not have had a total grasp of all that you were signing up for. The hardships of working in medicine can lead to unbearable exhaustion and frustration.  Hardships such as facing fear, anger, and confrontation. Hardships such as feeling unsure how to help or struggling with the system. Hardships such as losing patients or loved ones along the way.

Medical professionals like you are not typically provided with professional psychological support during their training or afterwards.  Although hospitals may care deeply for the wellbeing of their staff and offer them different supportive services; ultimately, their priority is to provide life saving medical care to patients. Unfortunately, the people providing that care oftentimes pay a high personal price for their work.

The expectations faced by professionals like you are relentless. There is a sometimes spoken, and often unspoken, expectation in many healthcare systems and communities that workers must know all the answers all the time, always exhibit clear and excellent clinical judgement, conduct every procedure perfectly, and to do it all with objectivity, unwavering emotional stability, AND compassion. All while they are also expected to work overtime, join multiple committees, conduct research studies—the list goes on.

As you face the hardships of being a caregiver, you might begin to feel burned out.  You might begin to experience emotional difficulties, such as depression or anxiety. You might lose your passion for the work, lose empathy and compassion for those you care for.

Some symptoms of compassion fatigue or “burnout” include:

  • Anger/resentment toward patients, other staff members, or “the system”
  • Apathy or “numbness”
  • Difficulties with sleep
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Difficulty grieving losses of patients or coworkers
  • Loss of meaning or purpose in your work
  • Daydreaming about changing careers
  • Sense of emptiness, exhaustion, or bitterness
  • Excessive fear of failure/incompetence
  • Abusing or misusing drugs or alcohol to cope

Despite these struggles, you keep pushing forward.  Author Henri Nouwen refers to this  as “the wounded healer,” the one who helps the hurt even while hurting.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you or a loved one are struggling, I hope you will consider reaching out to me.  You deserve a chance to feel productive and passionate about your work.  You deserve to be healthy and well. You deserve to have your own source of care and support.

And that’s where therapy comes in.

How can therapy help?

Therapy can help medical professionals and caregivers in three main ways.

First, therapy offers a safe, confidential, judgement-free space.  Caregivers like you often feel like they need to “be strong” for others and try to protect those around them from hearing about their stress.  You can share your thoughts and feelings with someone who is expertly trained to help you feel understood as you learn to understand yourself.

Second, therapy provides a chance to work through uncomfortable experiences of trauma, grief, and burnout. I am dedicated to helping you reach your goals and tap into your true potential.  As you share your experiences and gain insight, you can learn to reignite the spark that drove you to the work.

And third, therapy gives you the chance to discover optimal ways of coping with stress.  The work becomes easier as you learn to employ skills such as mindfulness, self-awareness, and self-compassion. I can walk you through personally-tailored stress management strategies to help you better bear the burden of care.

What does therapy look like with Rebecca?

I offer a collaborative, caring, and respectful space for medical professionals to explore how their work may be negatively affecting their lives. Together, we will explore your mind and body’s current experience along with what therapeutic strategies and techniques I believe will provide you with the most relief. I know you are highly trained and skilled in what you do. I also know that it may be time for you to benefit from someone else’s focused training—in this case, mine. In my office you do not need to take care of anyone, “keep it together,” figure anything out, or teach anyone anything.

My office is a place where you can come and be treated as a human being, not a healthcare professional.  If you are experiencing burnout, hopelessness, or stress, you should have a place where you can go and honestly share your fears and concerns, your insecurities and your doubts. Your willingness and vulnerability should be met by someone who has an understanding of your experience and appropriate training to be able to help. I can do that.

My only expectation of you is to come in and be real – we can handle the rest together.

Over the past 15 years of clinical practice, I have worked with hundreds of professionals in medical settings including outpatient, inpatient, and critical care areas. I understand what the hospital environment is like for healthcare workers and how little understanding there is around your struggles or how to adequately address them.  I know about Code Lavenders and Critical Incident Stress Debriefings and calls to the Chaplain—and how oftentimes they aren’t enough.  I have witnessed the work that you do—the grueling, risky, high pressure, exhausting work that you do.

You do so much for others, and I believe it is your turn to be cared for.

Let’s work together!

Want to learn more about my services?   Interested in signing up for your first session?  Contact me today to get started – I would love to hear from you.