Medical DirectorMark Leeds, D.O. | Podcast: The Rehab

The Empathetic Healer Needs Time To Heal

In the world of addiction treatment, there are at least two types of healers. Some practice “tough love” and others who heal with compassion and empathy.

Being the former type does not make a person wrong or a bad healer. They have decided to maintain distance and create barriers to protect themselves from being hurt during the healing process.

The empathetic healer reaches out and feels the pain of the person whom they are working. Unfortunately, healing with love and empathy can take a toll on the healer.

If the empathetic healer does not understand this effect and does not allow for time and space to recover from helping others, they put themselves at risk. Eventually, taking on others’ pain and experiences leads to mental, emotional, and spiritual fatigue.

How can the healer recover and refresh from the act of healing?

Take time for yourself. Don’t let people take control of your time. They don’t understand that your need to rest and recharge is vitally important.

Find people who support and understand you. Take the time to strengthen those relationships. They will be there for you and help to refresh and re-energize you when you need them most.

You can take a quiet walk outside by yourself or with a good friend. Try meditating alone in a place where you cannot be disturbed. Even taking a restful nap or listening to relaxing music can help.

Consider the importance of creating boundaries.

You cannot help everyone all the time. It is essential to set limits of space and time to protect your health. Start by committing to only helping a small number of people on any given day. If possible, leave a day of rest between your healing work.

Also, be aware that there are people whom you will not be able to help without significant harm to yourself. Some people may be malicious towards you, or they may unknowingly drain your energy excessively without making any progress.

With clear boundaries, you will be able to help more people effectively. You will reap the rewards of satisfaction of healing others and helping them to move on in their lives.

The highest satisfaction in healing comes from helping people who can, in turn, provide help to many other people.

You will find that healing another healer is the most rewarding activity of all for the empathic healer. Somehow, you can sense the healing energy passing through you to the person you have helped and on to the many more people that they will help. This form of empathic healing will give you a sense of purpose and deep meaning in your life.

1 Comment

Maribeth Ditmars · at

I have been both types of healers at different times in my life. I am a woman with 16 years of recovery myself. So, I have also been a recipient of both types of healing. You are correct that the greatest rewards come from passing it on to those who are new. One way that I determine which type of healer to be is whether or not spending time with the person is a threat to my own sobriety.

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