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Book Review: Help For The Helper

903 words - 4 pages

In Help for the Helper, the author aims at clarifying concepts such as burnout and distress. The importance of self-care is emphasized throughout the book. A major component of mental self-care relates to the concept of arousal awareness. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulates the arousal level of the individual; therapists working under very stressful situations might suffer form an involunteer elevation of the arousal level that might jeopardize clear thinking. In the third chapter of the book, Rothschild begins a biological analysis of the autonomic nervous system, its components, and reactions.The autonomic nervous system adjusts the function of virtually all organ systems and we refer to it as being an involuntary unit. Blinking, heartbeat, and breathing are just a few of the function of the autonomic nervous system. Without this highly evolved and advance system, we would not be able to control and organize our bodies and our minds. The ability to breath, think, feel, and being emotionally alive, is strictly connected to the correct functioning of the ANS.This chapter of the book also deals with some important instruments whose role is to identify the level of arousal. Body awareness is considered the most important tool for recognizing the intensity of such arousal. Therapists could benefit from recognizing their level of arousal and should try to find the proper intensity in order to perform at their best. As I study to become a licensed counselor, I intend to practice utilizing the different techniques available in order to manage my arousal level and especially to avoid burnout. Going to school full time, supporting a family, and still working forty hours a week, is a good motivator to practice the different advices described in the chapter.The author illustrates a few practical exercises aimed at developing awareness of our bodies and minds. Such awareness serves the purpose of recognizing the proper arousal level. There are several skills that can be learned in order to evaluate and adjust the level of arousal to better control bodily boundaries. These exercises should be completed in sequence and include a simple body awareness session where the person would practice how to sharpen the awareness of changes in the body systems. Therapists should apply “in session” arousal control and arousal tracking techniques in order to better manage their reactions, compliance, and resistance to compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and burnout. A series of muscular exercises are also listed in the chapter as a form of body awareness practice. Both relaxation and tension exercises can be performed in order to find the appropriate level of arousal. Trying to reach a higher level might be necessary when attempting to enhance drive, assertiveness, and...

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