Comment on "The Self-Care of Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals" (Dattilio, 2015)

Pakenham, Kenneth I. (2015) Comment on "The Self-Care of Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals" (Dattilio, 2015). Australian Psychologist, 50 6: 405-408. doi:10.1111/ap.12145

Author Pakenham, Kenneth I.
Title Comment on "The Self-Care of Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals" (Dattilio, 2015)
Journal name Australian Psychologist   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0005-0067
Publication date 2015-12-01
Sub-type Editorial
DOI 10.1111/ap.12145
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 50
Issue 6
Start page 405
End page 408
Total pages 4
Place of publication Chichester, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley and Sons
Language eng
Abstract Professor Frank Dattilio's article “The Self-care of Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals” provides an overview of stress and related mental health problems among psychologists, and a proposition that psychologists are not vigilant in regard to self-care. Dattilio offers a range of self-care strategies and recommendations, and highlights self-care practices within various psychology frameworks, and concludes with some “healthy tips” for managing stress. In my commentary I underscore Dattilio's message that self-care is of critical importance in psychology practice, given the responsibility of caring for others inherent in the work psychologists undertake. However, I raise additional points of consideration and suggest an alternative approach to addressing the self-care needs of the profession. My commentary makes the following points: (a) the need to distinguish between psychology trainees and practising qualified psychologists when addressing stress and self-care requirements in the profession; (b) the importance of developing a culture of self-care among psychologists by providing self-care instruction during training; (c) the need to temper research findings on stress and mental health among psychologists by the methodological weakness of the studies in this area; (d) adhering to the recent call from colleagues to shift from a focus on pathology and punishment to a positive acceptance, mindfulness, and values-based approach for encouraging self-care among psychologists; (e) the use of a systematic framework for organising the presentation of self-care strategies that makes them more accessible; and (f) an appeal to professional bodies to take their responsibility in promoting self-care in the profession.
Keyword Acceptance and commitment therapy
Psychology training
Q-Index Code CX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Editorial
Collections: Non HERDC
School of Psychology Publications
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