Emerge and Spread Your Wings

Cycle of Caring – Active Involvement

Active Involvement – Digging Deep

Following on from my previous blogs on the Cycle of Caring (Skovholt’s cycle of client engagement) let’s look at the second phase. The active involvement phase of the Cycle of Caring is the work phase, where you assess what is needed and use your expertise to provide intervention to your client.

The “what and how” of this stage varies vastly between different caring professions. Consider the differences between the work (active involvement) of a new entrant teacher and an ophthalmologist, a hospital chaplain and a physiotherapist providing hydrotherapy. Your active involvement can also vary from a single one-off session, to across a period of months for a longer contract. This is the stage where you get to do what you are trained to do, and ideally, experience the reward of helping others that enticed you to train in the first place.

However, the active involvement phase inevitably can take its toll on even the most resilient of practitioners. Stressors in this stage can include limited resources, ambiguity over your professional role, unrealistic timeframes and deadlines, constant exposure to difficult client dynamics and a lack of perceived progress.

Some of the tools that can support this stage include:

What Else?

With a number of supervisees recently we have been exploring what an “ideal caseload” might look like. For instance, achieving increased job satisfaction and meaning by making some subtle shifts in how you work. For instance, one supervisee has identified she enjoys a mix between complex and long term clients and short one-off assessments.

If you are noticing a sense of dissatisfaction in your active involvement with your clients you might consider if there is scope to change the balance. Of course, this depends on your employment situation, but sometimes a variation can be negotiated that enables you to keep enjoying the work without getting burned out. My supervisees have found a variety of options to help them stay engaged and enjoying their work. These include working part-time, job sharing, changing their specialty, building a mixed caseload or achieving a mix across a couple of different specialty areas, contracting or taking on mentoring roles for less experienced staff. Professional supervision can offer a safe space to explore and try out new ways of working to achieve greater job satisfaction and keep you actively involved in the work you love.