Published February 28, 2019
Congratulations to Associate Professor Lisa Butler, Clinical Assistant Professor Kathryn McClain-Meeder, Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Affairs/Director of Student Services Dana Horne and their colleagues on the publication of their article, "Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person."
Butler, L. D., Mercer, K. A., McClain-Meeder, K., Horne, D. M., & Dudley, M. (2019). Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 29(1), 107-124.
Self-care has long been of concern to helping professionals at risk for burnout or vicarious traumatization. In this paper we argue that the need for self-care is broader than preventing these outcomes. Instead, it requires consideration of the whole person and mindful attention and intentional efforts to achieve two general aims: to guard against or manage stress and other negative states, and to maintain or enhance well-being and overall functioning. We propose and delineate six life domains—physical, professional, relational, emotional, psychological, and spiritual—that may require attention in each person’s self-care practice, and briefly summarize some empirical findings that support self-care practices within each. We observe that self-care practice in each domain is closely bound to practice and outcomes of other domains. Steps in developing an overall self-care plan, including both maintenance and emergency practices, are also outlined. Because we believe that self-care is not a one-size-fits-all pursuit, we contend that helping professionals would benefit from examining each area of their life, and defining for themselves what self-care means and how they plan to implement their own personal practice. Above all, self-care requires a commitment to one’s own well-being as a priority.