Use Your Time and Energy to Serve You and Your Work

Many therapists – me included – can find ourselves either moving through our days, session to session, with a sense of urgency or a focus on “what’s next?” We can finish a session and move on to the next one with little thought about our own experience or what we need as we move to our next session or task.

Taking a deliberate pause right after sessions to give ourselves a moment to re-center, settle and attend to ourselves can make a big difference. It can help us nurture ourselves, be more resilient and have more clarity about how we are moving through our days.

The more I do this practice, the more I am in tune with what I need as a therapist to cope with all the emotional and relational material that comes up in me. It also helps me be more intentional with how I use my time between sessions, not just for my own self-care, but also for practical tasks.

An Overview Of The Pause, Reflect, Respond Practice

The Pause, Reflect, Respond video below presents a more in-depth overview of the practice, but here are the basics.

First, immediately after session – do not pass go, do not collect $200 – PAUSE! Notice what it’s like to stop your momentum and just be where you are. Go ahead and get comfortable – sitting, standing, laying down, or moving.

Then, REFLECT. Notice your thoughts, emotions, and body experience. Begin to get curious about what is going on for you in the moment and about what you might need.

Finally, RESPOND. Take a moment to take some action based on what you have discovered. You might need to calm, to energize, a moment of fresh air, some movement or shaking it off!  You also might need to notice that you are having a big response to a session and make a plan to do more later to take care of yourself.


Watch the Pause, Reflect, Respond Video

Try Using This Practice Immediately After Sessions – Then Try It Anytime It Would Be Helpful

This practice is intended to be a way to help you transition out of sessions, but you can use it anytime or anywhere in your professional or personal life. You can make it longer, get creative with it, and experiemnt with how to make it a resource that truly benefits you.

You can also teach the practice to your clients. You can use it in session with them – it can be a ritual to use at the beginning or end of sessions. It can also be used to refocus a session or help a client to regulate any time. You can encourage clients to try it outside of session.

Just like the 3 Breath Reset, it’s an incredibly powerful little practice.

Pairing Pause, Reflect, Respond with the 3 Breath Reset

The 3 Breath Reset is another brief practice that you can use in similar ways and could be used in the pause and reflect steps of this practice. Check it out and experiment!

Give Yourself A Little Reminder

Incorporating a new routine always works better with some support.  If you are interested in trying out this practice, add something concrete to help you remember to do it. Pair it with an established habit, make yourself some post-it note reminders, put it on your calendar, put a note on the inside of your office door. Set yourself up for success!

I would love to help you develop resources that support you in using somatic approaches in therapy!

Join the mailing list (below), take the free mini course on integrating somatic approaches (here), or learn more about somatic clinical consultation (here) to see how it could support your work and growth as a therapist.

© 2023 Annabelle Coote

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be considered as legal, ethical, clinical, health or any other business or clinical practice advice related to your work as a therapist.


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