In what Dr. Dan Siegel called simulation, individual human systems intertwine through mirrored responses. Put simply, the body feels what other bodies feel. And there is nothing we can do about it.
If we don't regularly clear out and come home to ourselves, we can suffer from compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout.
Whenever we're connected to someone else, our nervous systems "pick up on" physiological indicators from the other person - vicariously experiencing the sensations and physical impulses. This mirroring process can be a powerful clinical tool - Dr. Ashley teaches others how to use this process to make a bigger impact with each intervention they implement.
Unfortunately, this mirrored response is also the mechanism at the heart of vicarious trauma. Without knowing how to differentiate from their clients, helping professionals walk away with mental and physical residue from each person they serve.
Through education and coaching, Dr. Ashley teaches helpers how to recognize this process, use it to inform their clinical interventions, and resolve it completely so that it doesn't lead to vicarious trauma. It was this exact research that ultimately freed Dr. Ashley from the career-ending burnout she experienced early on in her career.
Relationships are all about boundaries - setting delineations between what is "me" and what is "you." We humans aren't always great at this - enmeshing ourselves and sacrificing our needs for others' or withdrawing ourselves and detaching from support. Effective counseling requires that we build strong, yet flexible boundaries - to be separate yet connected from our clients.
Dr. Ashley supports helpers as they learn to pay attention to their relationship with time, space, plants, animals, and everything else with which they connect. It is through paying attention to boundaries that we learn to free our energy to use it as we see fit.
"No" is your new best friend.