Creative Counselling: Pampering as Self-Care

Counsellors are duty bound by their profession to set a good example, in much the same way as doctors.  We are expected by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (or BACP) to uphold certain standards in all of our work with clients.  This includes standards of dress and hygiene and we are expected to set a good example of grooming for our clients.

You might think that personal hygiene and making an effort with your appearance are just daily chores, but you would be surprised at the effect depression, addiction or bereavement can quickly have on someone’s basic self-care skills. When your life has been turned upside down, just getting through the shower can be an ordeal.

As a result, counsellors tend to advocate a positive, presentable appearance, making sure that they are groomed and well turned out at all times, to inspire their clients to aim for the same levels of self-care.  It is all done without need of a word spoken. People naturally want to fit in with their peers and associates.

There are practical reasons for encouraging grooming; it is easier to feel good on the inside if you know you look good on the outside.  Moreover, those individuals who are well groomed and smartly dressed, are more likely to succeed in life, so it’s a win-win situation.

It has been scientifically proven that the better looking and turned out you are, the more likely it is that you will be a success and that doors will open for you.  This is known as Beauty Bias. It means that beautiful people have it slightly easier and tend to receive more opportunities.  They might be promoted sooner, or chosen to be the poster-boy for their organisation.  They tend to have more romantic opportunities too, and are forgiven for any transgressions more readily than those who aren’t as good looking.  Now while we can’t all look like a film star or a supermodel, we can raise our game, just by paying a bit more attention to how we look.

It’s official – having a regular beauty routine isn’t vain or self-indulgent, particularly if you opt for treatments you can do yourself, at home, quite inexpensively.  In fact, a weekly at-home spa-style beauty routine is good for your well-being, self-esteem and overall confidence levels.  It is a kind of self-nurturing.  Pampering is good for you!

Even soldiers in the British Army are taught how to care for their skin, hair and nails and their overall grooming and presentation, both while they are at Base and also while out on Operations, where it helps to keep up their morale. It is an important and integral part of their Basic Training. The benefits that come from grooming are universal – pampering shouldn’t be feminised!

Spending time in the bathroom, scrubbing, polishing and moisturising; applying a hair mask and face mask; cleaning and filing your nails and so on, can all help you to sidestep beauty bias and increase your confidence as a strong, well presented person both in your personal and professional life. You can go on to climb the ladder of life.  It’s good for your personal morale and while not everyone can be Snow White, or the fairest of them all, perhaps we should all be spending a little more time before the Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Until next month,

Serene Blessings

Marie Bruce x

Marie Bruce Dip. T. C.  MBACP is a qualified psychotherapist and a best-selling self-help author.  Here she offers simple tools used by therapists to

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