How Clinicians Balance Work and Life
When you’re passionate about your profession, balancing work with your personal life can get tricky. It gets even trickier when your work requires you to wear many hats.
That’s why we talked to several clinicians who not only have busy practices but also write books, teach, talk to the media and give lectures around the country — just to name a few. They reveal how they make time for both professional and personal pursuits and navigate the obstacles that inevitably come up.
Balancing Work & Life
For Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, a psychotherapist and author of several books on ADHD, including 10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD: How to Overcome Chronic Distraction & Accomplish Your Goals, work is just another significant part of life. “My work is an important part of my life — along with my relationships, my health, and my community activities — so I look at it as ‘how can I balance all aspects of my life?’”
She follows Hettler’s “6 Dimensions of Wellness Model,” which consists of emotional wellness; occupational wellness; physical wellness; social wellness; intellectual wellness; and spiritual wellness. She regularly considers whether she’s meeting her needs in each of these areas. If she’s not, then she identifies the specific changes she can make.
Psychotherapist and author Jeffrey Sumber , M.A., also doesn’t delineate work and life. Instead, he sees the need for “a large notion of balance.” He evaluates his days in their entirety by considering: “What will it take for me to feel centered and relaxed in my day? How much am I giving versus receiving? Do I have undefined ‘me’ time?” He added, “Free time is truly how I define wealth, so the more opportunities for free time in my day, the more successful I feel.”
John Duffy, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and author of the book The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens, reflects on his values and then drafts a personal mission statement. His current mission statement is “To live fully and joyfully, making full use of my gifts and talents.” From there, Duffy creates his goals and action plans.
Ari Tuckman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and author of Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The ADHD Executive Functions Workbook, balances a thriving practice with a four-year-old. Since his work requires staying past five o’clock, Tuckman makes the most of his mornings with his wife and son. He also avoids working on the weekends to enjoy more family time.
For Kim Boivin, MEd, a registered clinical counselor at Positive Change Counseling Services in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the right schedule also is key. “I began to experience more work-life balance when I created a weekly schedule that works well for me and committed to it.” She works four days a week and sees five clients max each day. “I find this work schedule gives me enough time and energy to work with clients with enthusiasm as well as to be able to enjoy other areas of my life.”