Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Julia Hogan knows, from personal experience, the importance of self care. She values this quality so much that she wrote a book with a holistic workbook that helps readers improve their physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual well-being.
“I think the biggest thing that’s a barrier to self care is that people think that self-care is selfish,” said the first-time author of the book entitled “It’s OK to Start with You.”
On a daily basis, Julia works with adults who deal with anxiety, decision-making and relationship issues. Through word-of-mouth alone, she’s built a client base that appreciates her ability to incorporate her Catholic faith into the psychotherapeutic services offered at the Chicago-area private practice.
She was inspired to write her self-help book after recognizing that nearly all of her patients were feeling overwhelmed due to the lack of sleep, exercise or proper eating. Additionally, the contents of the book were developed based on knowledge and practical training she gained in the Master’s in Clinical Psychology degree from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University.
Learn about the doctorate in clinical psychology offered at Divine Mercy University.
“The things that I learned through my master’s were included in the second half of the book,” said Julia, making mention of the workbook section.
“I would definitely say that my master’s degree, especially the clinical experience, influenced my book. The research and outreach helped me put together a plan so that the reader would have a clear plan that they could achieve.”
The book’s actionable plan consists of S.M.A.R.T. goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timeframe – that readers can incorporate into their everyday life. For instance, if a reader is struggling to get adequate sleep, the plan would indicate the need to go to sleep at 9pm (specific) that will allow them to get eight hours of sleep (measurable) for five nights a week (timeframe) by going to sleep in a dark room without their phone (realistic/achievable).
Despite her book’s action-oriented style, she distinguishes her ability as a therapist to provide professional clinical treatment that is a distinct skill-set from self help.
“My book is not meant to replace therapy – everyone should be practicing self care,” she said.
Julia’s Tips on Self-Care (to Prevent Burnout)
- Set boundaries around work: People schedule office hours or contact me through phone or email (with a 24-hour response time). “Typically therapists have a really giving heart but it’s important to keep work boundaries because if not that’s a recipe for burnout.”
- Read a lot of positive content: I try not to watch dramatic TV shows or movies. “A lot of therapists watched it ‘13 Reasons Why’, but I don’t need to put myself through 13 hours of this when that’s my day job.”
- Stay in touch with other therapists who are faith-based: This will allow you to talk about challenges and successes you both face. “You don’t want to feel like you’re alone, so that’s a lot of help.”
Purchase your very own copy of “It’s OK to Start with You.”