Self-Care versus Life-Care (or, how to talk about caring for the self in a way that’s actually meaningful)

I was at lunch with a group of friends the other day when I announced that I’m over the whole notion of self-care. It is no longer interesting to me, and I think it’s a rather poor promoter of true health and wellness. Stay with me, here. 

Self-care has been reduced to clickbait. It’s a headline: Five ways to blow off steam after a stressful day. How to do something nice for yourself when you have three minutes or less. Ten suggestions for a self-care afternoon with girlfriends. It’s manicures, bubble baths, and quick breathing techniques all the way down, and I’m no longer here for it. 

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with any of these things. Taking a bath is lovely. Intentionally planning time alone with oneself is valuable. All of it is fine, but it doesn’t amount to enough to truly make a dent in the overwhelm caused by daily life in our stressful, ambitious, work-and-shame-oriented society. 

I’d love to replace the notion of self-care with life-care. Life-care could simply mean the creation of a  lifestyle that is supportive and nourishing to us generally, that meets us where we already are, that is not drowning us in shoulds, that is not judgmental of ourselves or others. 

Some questions to consider: How do we create and sustain a lifestyle from which we don’t want or need to take constant breaks or vacations? How do we consistently live in a way that’s authentic to how we’re built as individuals, rather than what might be expected from us by outside forces? What are our own wants and needs as identified by us, and not prescribed to us by society at large? What does it really mean to prioritize ourselves? 

What is our own version of life-care?

For me, life-care might mean the following: Seeing four clients or less per day, because that is how I do my best work. Long prescribed periods of time spent alone to revitalize myself. Truth at all costs. Choosing to spend my time with people that respect and love me. Evaluating my own worth and asking to be treated accordingly. Investment in the priorities that I’ve identified as most valuable to me: Education. Safety. Adventure and Growth. Self-Compassion. Love. 

It also means choosing not to invest in things that don’t nurture me by saying no, over and over again. Removing myself from environments that I deem to be toxic. Staying far away from angry and negative folks. Being gentle and compassionate around my own areas of growth and development, at a pace decided by me (and nobody else).

It also means so many other things I haven’t discovered yet, that I am still learning how to ask for directly, confidently, and assertively, every day.

Life-care. It beats a bubble bath. 

*Just a quick but essential note – It’s equally as important to support our people in creating lives that prioritize their wants and needs. This means fighting for one another when needs can’t be met because of oppressive systems that make caring for oneself impossible. Because no matter how you slice it – self-care/life-care – it’s a privilege and it’s not afforded or available to everybody in equal measure. 


Useful Information

Some frequently asked questions and useful answers.

Online therapy works in the same way as in-office therapy, but is done online, similar to a Skype or FaceTime conversation. Clients are able to have sessions from home, work, or any other convenient location. We meet with clients using a HIPAA-compliant secure platform.

Online therapy allows you to work with us from the comfort of home, or any private location of your choosing. For some, the screen provides an added layer of comfort that makes the challenging work of being vulnerable in therapy a little easier.

Online therapy also creates the unique opportunity for you to work with us without the constraints of proximity! The practice was born in Keene, New Hampshire, but has since grown to service clients anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Online therapy is a great option for clients that travel for work, for college students that go home during the summertime and do not want a break in their sessions, and for anyone with a challenging or inconsistent day-to-day schedule. It is an excellent choice for clients seeking a therapist with a particular specialty that they are unable to find support for locally. Some of our clients report that online therapy makes the vulnerability element of therapy a bit less intimidating.

No. For some clients with more complex symptoms or safety concerns, having a local therapist that is readily available is important in case of crisis or the need for a higher level of care. Online therapy is also a challenge for clients that do not have access to a private, quiet space to be “in session” for the hour, or for those that do not have adequate internet connectivity.

There are several reasons why we don’t accept insurance. The most important are:

Confidentiality. Insurance companies require that your information be shared with them in order to pay for services. We prefer that clients’ information is kept as confidential as possible.

The pressure to diagnose. Insurance companies require that clients are given a mental health diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. We have found that many clients benefit from therapy, but do not meet criteria for a diagnosis. Not using insurance allows clients to access therapy without being given a mental health diagnosis.

Flexibility and freedom. Insurance companies dictate the length and number of sessions they will authorize, as well as when a client is no longer eligible for the benefits of therapy. Because we do not work with insurance panels, you and we can collaborate to determine your individual needs regarding session length, frequency of sessions, and when to terminate therapy.

While we do not accept insurance, many clients choose to submit receipts to their insurance companies to receive reimbursement via out-of-network benefits. We are happy to provide these receipts for you! Please check with your insurance company for details on your benefits.



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