Between 1997 and 2016 I lived in four countries in Africa, and travelled through another thirty. For most of that period I was a journalist myself, covering the consequences of conflict, poverty, the afflictions of power, and turmoil. Being a journalist requires to soak up all that happens in the world, to process that, and to re-write and re-tell all of that. Journalism is also a vocation that demands to be continuously alert, to be always ready to work or travel, and to be okay with being tumbleweed, much of the time.
Living on the edge continuously can be very demanding. The continuous stresses of deadlines, the direct and indirect experiences of horror, terror and violence: journalism is a tough job. Yet, it can, of course, also be tremendously rewarding: the diversity of experiences, the many adventures, and exactly those aspects of the job that can lead to stress, burnout and trauma. Running on adrenaline for weeks on end, for example. The rush to beat a deadline, and make it just in time. The driving and travelling through often immensely beautiful areas…
Distance Counselling for Journalists
Journalists need to be careful for stress, burnout and trauma. Living and working in sometimes dangerous areas and needing to seek out stories that convey the human plight all means that you run the risk of developing any of those. If regular irritation, sadness or depression, anger or rage, hopelessness and fatigue are some of the things you struggle with, it might be worth getting in touch. If you have regular nightmares I would strongly advise you to get in touch. If you feel that important relationships in your life are suffering from your mood swings, or if you feel you are becoming too reliant on drugs or alcohol to comfort yourself: do consider getting some professional feedback on the choices you are making.
Having lived the life of a journalist myself I think I can be of service to you, combining the experiences gathered in the past as a reporter with my skills and training as a counsellor and psychologist. We would start with an assessment of where you are at, currently, in regards to levels of stress or burnout in your life as well as the existence of symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Based on those assessments we would make a plan on how to lighten the burdens you find yourself under.
Through my speciality as an accredited distance counsellor you and I can work wherever your job takes you, as long as there is some internet there. Through encrypted videoconnection your story is safe and kept purely confidential. Even our chats and e-mail communication can take place in a completely encrypted environment.
Self Care & Resilience
For people who find themselves often alone and far from friends, family or loved ones, in circumstances that are potentially dangerous and stressful it might help to find ways of taking good care of yourself, and of strengthening your tools of resilience.
Physical health and mental health are closely related, and self care therefore starts with healthy diets and healthy physical exercise. Yet, we are all much more than just the needs of our bodies. What do you need to nourish your mind, your creativity, your playful side, your soul?
Because pathways to resilience are very personal any activity or commitment you make has to fit your existing rhythms of work and social obligations. You and I can brainstorm on those aspects of self care that you wish to put in place to make sure that – in due course – your levels of resilience are at healthy levels, where they can sustain you, and your ambitions for yourself and the world around you.
If you’d like to learn more about trauma: Bessel van der Kolk provides insights in this very good audio interview called How Trauma Lodges in the Body