Simple Self-Care for Therapists: Restorative practices to weave through your workday


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“Bite-sized” self-care strategies that any therapist can easily practice.

For mental health professionals who must regularly guard against compassion fatigue and secondary traumatization, intentional self-care isn’t just essential; it’s a survival tool. If therapists don’t take proper care of themselves, they can’t do their work effectively.

Taking up an exercise program, going on a vacation, turning to supportive social networks, while helpful remedies to the stresses of the job, are not always feasible and the results are often only short term. Synthesizing the latest thinking in mindfulness, neuroscience, energy medicine, and spiritual disciplines, Simple Self-Care for Therapists offers immediate relief in doable, bite-sized nuggets—easy exercises that can be seamlessly integrated into your current workday routine with little fuss.

Over 60 restorative practices are presented—tools for (1) grounding, (2) energizing, and (3) relaxing—organized as antidotes to the most common pathologies that therapists suffer: vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Bush, a therapist with over 25 years of experience, walks readers through the descriptions and simple implementation of each practice, with illuminating stories from her own professional experiences.

Whether you’re in a staff meeting, conducting a therapy session, writing a progress report, or attending a workshop, these convenient exercises can be dipped into as needed. A go-to resource of self-care tools, every therapist, no matter their background or approach, now has the ability to prevent stress, avoid internalization, revive their spirit, and restore a sense of well-being.


  • Part I: The Foundation
  • Chapter 1. Essentials of Self-Care
  • Chapter 2. Challenges of Self-Care
  • Chapter 3. Occupational Hazards
  • Part II: The Template
  • Chapter 4. Practices for a Typical Workday

All You Need is Love, Circle of Care, Doorknob Confession, Hark How the Bells, Footloose, Go In, Peace, Coat Sleeves, Bubble Tea, Punch Out Positive, Reset

  • Part III: The Resources
  • Chapter 5. Practices in Grounding

Good Day, Hugs and Kisses, Natural Wonder, Finger Food, Turn Cheek, Heaven and Earth, Hello , itty, Go With The Flow, Anchors Away, Photo Shop, Roots, Good for Me, Empty Cup, Repeat After Me, White Light, Centered, I Surrender, ABC, Walk Like a Monk, Imagine That

  • Chapter 6. Practices for Energizing

Helping Hands,Angel Wings, Bow and Arrow, Making Sense, Marching Orders, Ashes to Ashes, Work in the World, Happy Dance, Sing a Song of Sixpence, Make ‘Em Laugh, Starfish, Strong and Soft, Puppet Strings, Fresh Air Fund, Taps, Victory Lap, Clean Sweep, Jump for Joy, Mirror Mirror, Give Thanks

  • Chapter 7. Practices for Relaxing

There’s No Place Like Home, The Ultimate Rest, Tether Ball, Progressive Dinner, Lavender Fields, Shut Eye, Doodle Bug, Music to My Ears, Tranquil Seas, Count Down, Time Travel, Balanced Breathing, Wring it Out, Cycles,,Now Hear This, Transportation, Tennis, Anyone? Sky Dive, By Candlelight

  • Lifelong Self-Care


Author Bio:

Ashley Davis Bush, LICSW is a licensed psychotherapist in southern New Hampshire, specializing in couples therapy and grief counseling. Her work for the past 25 years –both as a therapist and as a writer – is designed to inspire others toward whole-hearted living.

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Smith College and a Masters in Social Work degree from Columbia University. She has a certificate in Contemplative Studies through Smith College School for Social Work and has advanced training in Emotional Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT). Ashley worked in community mental health in New York City for ten years and has been living and working in southern New Hampshire since 1997.

Ashley is a frequent public speaker and workshop teacher. Since 1992, she has delivered keynote speeches to professional and community organizations across the country and has taught workshops on the subjects of grief and loss, relationships, parenting, personal empowerment, mindfulness, transitions, stress management and inner peace.