1. First, can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
I am a licensed mental health counselor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who has been practicing psychotherapy for over 20 years. I have created program for caring professionals, who want to prevent and treat compassion fatigue. I have taught various classes online and in person, in addition to being a national public speaker.
I am the Best selling Amazon Author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and Setting Ethical Limits For Caring and Competent Professionals. I also am published in 3 Chicken Soup for the Soul books and international magazine publications. Currently, I am an expert writer for CounselingSchools.com and a CEU faculty member writer for NetCE.
After multiple publications, I further expanded my business to include writing coaching and teaching, to help others tell their stories and connect to the creative-therapeutic aspects of writing.
I have worked in various community outpatient mental health clinics, serving clients with substance abuse/addictions, depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns. In addition, I worked four years in an elder partial hospitalization program. One of the many groups I led was expressive therapy, in which I loved teaching creative writing. My lifelong connection to spirituality became a part of my professional business in 2014, when I started my own business offering angel card readings and later spiritual coaching sessions. You can find my spiritual readings on my You Tube Channel, Lisa Hutchison LMHC.
2. Compassion fatigue (aka secondary trauma, aka burnout) is such a huge issue for helpers right now! When did you start writing about/working with compassion fatigue?
I started to notice my own compassion fatigue when I worked as a counselor for counseling agencies. Even though I did a good amount of self-care, I would come home feeling exhausted.
Deep down, I knew something was missing. I was good with setting boundaries, I began instituting boundaries more and more. Despite this, I still felt fatigued.
In 2014, I had a spiritual experience, which lead me to leave my traditional job and start my own business, incorporating my psychological expertise with my spiritual channeling abilities. I wanted to help others who are empathic find their own answers and feel better through counseling and angel card readings. Later on, I offered spiritual coaching sessions.
I knew I wanted writing to be a big part of what I offered. I began by writing a blog, putting out a newsletter and submitting articles. I tuned into my feelings and gut knowingness, which brought me to one publishing experience to another.
3. Tell me about your books and resources on compassion fatigue.
I will go through the main three publications I have.
I wrote and published, I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers. I wanted to give my clients and other helpers who may not be into therapy, a tool to manage their personal energy. I filled it with helpful suggestions, writing prompts and space for the helper to journal their inner thoughts, feelings and observations. I wrote and NetCE published, Setting Ethical Limits for Caring and Competent Professionals. This is a continuing education course for counselors, although many other professions could find benefit in the information presented as well. I wanted to educate helping professionals on how to provide compassionate care ethically to those they serve without causing burnout.
On my web site, I offer a free 10 page e-book called, Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It. In it, I discuss compassion fatigue, burnout and vicarious traumatization. This is a small introduction to these topics. Also, helpers can receive my free monthly newsletter when they receive this which is filled with tips for empathic helpers. You can find this here at http://www.lisahutchison.net at the top of the page.
4. What can we, the helpers, do to take care of ourselves when it seems like “difficult times” are never-ending?
The most important thing helpers can do for themselves is to listen within and acknowledge whatever you are feeling. Reach out and find supports who can hold the space for your inner exploration and expression. This can be a friend, coworker, psychotherapist or coach. Find someone who gives you the tools to follow your own gut knowingness. Other people may prefer to connect to their intuition on their own and write out what they are feeling. 5. Tell me a bit about your Archangels course – what is this, and who can it help?
I am currently running a seven week Archangels course that is delivered to your email inbox. Once a week, you receive a video, which tells you about how a specific Archangel can help you, being an empathic helper. In these emails, I describe how you can connect to each angel by their unique signifiers, different exercises to connect with them, writing prompts, prayers and affirmations. I also offer 3 live zoom angel card readings for the class as a whole. This is for the empathic helper, who connects with spirituality, to rejuvenate, protect and restore their depleted energy. I created this to be self-paced because I know how busy we can get. There are times at night or during the weekend, you could listen to the video, do a writing exercise, practice affirmations, or speak the prayers and intentions.
6. What other upcoming projects do you have going on right now?
I currently offer virtual psychotherapy, spiritual coaching sessions and angel card readings. In addition, I help others with developing creative writing skills through sessions and classes. I am writing a new continuing education course for NetCE for counselors. I also am in the process of writing another book, this time on spiritual manifestation and psychology.