Veterinary medicine is experiencing shifts and growing pains. Many of us feel overworked, misunderstood, disrespected, and conflicted. We search for ways to improve our overall well being. But COVID stress, professional and personal matters, and an unknown future, have us tied in knots…SO HOW DO WE UNRAVEL?
SHEDDING SOME LIGHT
The root of these problems are multiple and complicated. Increased awareness by Not One More Vet and other veterinary support groups on social media, have made it a little more clear. Mental health concerns and suicide are sadly more common in the veterinary community than we were aware. But, we are seeing some positive changes.
WHAT ARE WE SEEING?
* Veterinarians are having more conversations about previously taboo topics like toxic work environments and imposter syndrome.
* Colleagues seem to be supporting one another more openly.
* Veterinarians are finally prioritizing themselves and becoming proactive with their health, careers, personal lives, and futures.
* Employers are beginning to highlight the importance of self-care and mental well being by providing more resources for veterinary teams. This may include yoga and mindfulness classes to help reduce anxiety, and even access to therapists and coaches.
Despite the progress, Veterinarians still have to figure out how to process their issues and move forward. Therapy and coaching are forms of support available for those looking to improve their lives.
WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES?
*YOU are the primary focus.
*It takes time to develop a relationship between you and a therapist or coach.
*Confidentiality is extremely important in both practices.
*Therapists and coaches follow professional ethics and standards.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
Mental illness and traumatic experiences are best handled by medical professionals like therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), “Therapy emphasizes psychopathology, emotions, and the past to understand the present, and it works more with developing skills for managing emotions.” Therapists treat conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), personality disorders, and emotional concerns. They are also the go-to resource for someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Some, like psychiatrists, can recommend or prescribe medications if needed. They don’t bring their thoughts and feelings into their client’s situation. Like Veterinarians, they’ve been trained by accredited programs, and are bound by laws, requirements, and acceptable practices. Costs are often covered by health insurance, and appointments are either in-person, by phone, or virtually. Remote visits have increased since COVID.
ICF defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Coaches focus on “visioning, success, the present, and moving toward the future.” Although they don’t treat mental illness, their services can greatly enhance a person’s mental health. They offer tools and strategies to help explore one’s challenges, tap into interests and inner potential, and hold client’s accountable for following through with identified goals.
Many coaches have gone through a rigorous certification program, so they have met special qualifications. Coaching is a self-regulated profession, meaning, there are no licensing requirements. But coaches are still expected to follow ethical practices and standards, like those stated in the ICF Code of Ethics. They are not restricted by state lines and country borders, so they are easy to access. There are different types of coaches available. Life, business, health, and career transition coaches, just to name a few. Costs are mainly covered by the client and not insurance. Like therapy, appointments are also in-person, by phone, or virtually.
SO WHICH IS BEST FOR YOU?
It’s highly dependent on your situation. If you’re experiencing issues related to depression, anxiety, past or current traumas, seek a mental health professional. If you’re ready to focus on your present and future, take responsibility for your own life, and are open to some accountability, then a coach will be helpful. Some may even benefit from both. If you’re not sure whom you should speak to, schedule a discovery session with My Vetamorphosis. We can help you figure out what’s best for your situation.
A QUICK WORD ABOUT CAREER TRANSITION COACHING
I am a CERTIFIED COACH. I coach Veterinarians who are considering a change in their careers, or experiencing a professional transition. This can entail a number of scenarios. For example, someone who:
*Wants to explore other career options within the veterinary profession, or outside of it
*Is returning to work after a long break, and wants to ensure a smooth transition. You want to make sure the current position reflects who you are
*Is shifting into a leadership role
*Is transitioning from employee to practice owner
*Is preparing for retirement
*Knows something in their life must change, but isn’t sure what that should look like
*Values their worth and are ready to make an investment in their future!
No matter which type of services you seek, you owe it to yourself to live a fulfilling and satisfying life!