Dr Ewald Crause
I have always associated the start of Spring with good fishing. Now let me explain, this is not an editorial for a fishing magazine and it might take some time to convince you that indeed the topic introduced can be linked to what we are experiencing in psychology at the moment, so please, bear with me.
There is a superstition that any month with an ‘R’ in its name can be regarded as a good fishing month. For example, September, October, November, December and all the way through to April are traditionally seen as a time to go and practice a pastime that I love. And for the most part I would agree with this. Spring to the end of summer really is the most productive time for avid anglers to enjoy the sport but also to bring something home which can be enjoyed with friends and family. The ‘I caught that’ conversation while the fire is crackling away is (for me) a rewarding moment and somehow speaks to my most primal instincts of a hunter and provider. Being grateful for what nature has provided and sharing with others the stories of the day is close to my heart.
So what about the months of May through to August? Is the superstition so strong that these months are completely overlooked or is there a logical explanation for why these months are deemed as ‘not productive’. Winter brings its own challenges in the world of fishing. Accessing the water becomes challenging, weather patterns change, fish habits changed… and all in all fishing just becomes difficult. This, however, does not mean we should not pursue to enjoy what we love to do. Just because these months are particularly challenging does not mean that the fish are not there… we just need to adapt. And it is here were I would like to transition to what we are facing in Psychology.
We have just come out of a particularly difficult time in Psychology and for the most part we are still not out of the ‘winter’. Looming court cases, Scope of Practice concerns, Medical Aid difficulties… the list goes on. Yes, most definitely a ‘winter’ of sorts in Psychology. But I do want to believe that just like my passion of fishing lead me to continue fishing throughout winter we have many colleagues who look beyond the challenges of the moment and just pursue the goal of helping people. Despite the fact that the last couple of months (and years) have been a cause for great concern we still wake up in the morning and look for opportunities to practice what we love to do.
So what do we do? How do we find a way forward? The answer lies in the analogy of fishing again.
During the off season we take stock. We physically need to look at what we have in the tackle box and replenish that which has been depleted or damaged. We weather the Cape storms while looking for moments of opportunity to get to the water. We share stories of the good old days and express hope for the season to come. And even though it is tradition to share stories of the season/s gone by, we all look forward to the unknown of the season/s to come.
If you are a psychology practitioner I do believe we can take these lessons with us.
- Take stock of where you are professionally and emotionally. In order to take care of others you first need to take care of yourself.
- Consider your training needs and make a commitment to enroll for courses to address these needs. Look back at your year of practice and identify areas where further experience and or supervision might be needed.
- Know that the ‘storm’ you are facing as an individual practitioner (i.e., SoP, Medical Aids, etc) are faced by all colleagues and continue to engaged around solutions to the concerns noted.
- Find space to consult with colleagues and let’s talked about a way forward. We all can do with a ‘good season’.
So the last comment is this… Time to reflect or time to plan? Only you can give that answer.
My advice would be is to focus on what is important to you and to do the simple things well. Persistence and dedication pays off in the end.