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Interview with Jillian by the Arkansas Medical News
Who Are We?
in Balance is an organization created to identify and address the
challenges faced by those in the helping professions, including areas
of social work, counseling, psychiatry, care giving, environmental, educational,
energy-based, clergy, and all those working in the medical
field. Healers in Balance strives to help "Healers" become
aware of and attend to their own needs, in order to provide the best
care to those they help. Those lacking balance in self-care vs. care
of others suffer from the malady “Forget
Thyself”, which manifests in many ways, including
physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sicknesses, which the
Healers themselves often fail to recognize as an imbalance. The
unfortunate result is an overall loss of gifted, effective Healers as
they push themselves to continue working, disconnect from their work,
become unable to function, leave the profession, and even commit
How and Why it Developed
in Balance was created in 2006 by Jillian Guthrie, LCSW in response
to her own experience with Eating Disorder
and Depression while working in the mental health field. She
explains, "When I woke up and became aware, I was shocked and
alarmed at the condition of those around me; I found myself
surrounded by sickness in a place where we were all trying to help
other people, but were struggling to function ourselves."
Jillian not only decided to address her own illness, but to pay
attention to the process of healing; the interplay between her
condition/experience and her work, and that of others in the
profession. What she found was a strong, pervasive tendency toward
illness in the Healers themselves.
At this time, many are unaware of the pervasive nature and severity of this malady, but the effects are profound and inarguable, as Healers try to help others while suffering their own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual symptoms. Due to numerous now identified factors, their needs are forgotten or ignored, which can only result in maladaptive, unhealthy responses by the Healers themselves. This effects the whole profession, impacts client care, and teaches new Healers unhealthy habits, enabling the systems that tend to perpetuate this trend. It also contributes greatly to the "revolving door" of high turnover exhibited in many professions. As a result, no one benefits - clients, Healers, nor their agencies - from the imbalance.
Jillian is intentional in differentiating “Forget Thyself” from burnout, explaining it is a part of the why of this, a symptom of the larger issue. Unfortunately, burnout has become a "buzz word" for the now "acceptable" state and experience of those working in the helping professions. Jillian asserts this is not only unfortunate but unwarranted, dangerous, and preventable.
The condition of Forget Thyself could be viewed as functioning in burnout mode, per se, until one's body, mind, and/or spirit falters alarmingly from the overload and neglect or a crisis in the Healer's life occurs and the Healer, who is Operating Without Reserves (a concept discussed in presentations), becomes unable to continue at his or her "usual" level.
Jillian points out, "Client care then suffers right along with
the self-concept, worth, and functioning level of the Healer. We,
individually and as whole professions, must acknowledge and address
the afflictions in our Healers."
Who Are Healers?
In the interest of simplicity, and inclusion of all who might need the message,
Jillian places all those in the helping and caregiving professions under the heading of "Healer."
Thus Healers are: Those who feel they have a calling, a gift, or energy they offer to others in
an effort to improve the overall human experience. As a Social Worker, Jillian has special insight
into the mental health field, but having found a strong, unmistakable likeness in other helping
professions, she utilizes extensive research as well as personal interviews with Healers in various
disciplines, in her effort to address the potential for harm to all Healers. She has found that all
are not only susceptible, but are at risk to this malady, due to numerous common themes in the helping
professions and in the professionals themselves. These factors, as well as ways to address, prevent, and
change the level of risk, are outlined and discussed in her presentations
The Logo Explained
attention to her own experience, interviews with other Healers, and
research of the systems and environments in which they work, Jillian
has discovered some reasons for this imbalance, the subsequent
illness in Healers, and determined these must be addressed. The malady
is named “Forget Thyself”,
she explains "Many called to be Healers struggle with being
human while trying to help others; self-needs are forgotten,
resulting in physically, emotionally, spiritually ill healers."
The profound, telling response of a seasoned clinician as she
is what we don't talk about" convinced Jillian she was on
the right track, and responding as a Change Agent she outlined her Mission:
does not profess to have all the answers. Jillian is continuously
interviewing "Healers" in all professions, in order to
gather information/experiences to increase understanding and develop
pertinent, well-informed, effective responses to address these
situations. She is able to formulate cohesive, research-based
conclusions, and offer insight, illumination, and suggestions to
Healers and to the organizations in which they practice. "I
know, as intelligent, insightful people, that we can figure this out
and find the courage and determination to change it."
states simply, "We show up in these professions to help, and it
shouldn't be this hard. It shouldn't have this detrimental effect on
the Healer. Something is disconnected. I do not believe we were ever
intended to give ourselves away to help others; to give our lives
away so others can enjoy theirs more."