How To Embrace & Nurture Your Identity as an SLP

Identity as an SLP

You spend so much of your time investing in others– your clients, their families, your colleagues, your family… But are you investing in yourself? Let’s take a look at the depth of your identity as an SLP. Consider who you are beyond your professional title, and how to fully nurture yourself in the process!

Your Professional Identity

Let’s face it– it’s not uncommon for us as SLPs to closely identify with our job title. 

This deep connection often stems from the demanding journey of undergraduate and graduate education plus all that’s involved with licensure and certification. All of these coupled with a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of others can definitely make you feel like what you do is who you are. 

The field of SLP is very niche and understood by few who are outside our field. This fact just further strengthens the bond we have with our professional identity.

However, identifying so closely with one’s profession can result in some major pitfalls. Defining yourself solely by your career limits the ability for growth and exploration into other interests. You quickly find yourself only investing in interests and events related to the world of SLP. 

The challenges you experience within your work setting like overwhelming caseloads, too much paperwork, or insurance issues are real but may begin to occupy too much of your mind. Being so deeply intertwined with your identity as an SLP can cause your viewpoint on life to become too narrow or even negative.

So what’s the solution? A mindset shift!

embrace & nurture your identity as an SLP

Mindset Shift

A mindset shift can help you refocus and remember your identity as an SLP is just a piece of who you really are. 

Take a moment to reflect on your personal attributes– the ones that go beyond your job title and certifications. 

Are you compassionate, creative, patient, resilient, adventurous, or invested in the well-being of others? Maybe it’s a combination of some of these traits or something different altogether!

Begin to craft a “new” identity for yourself apart from being an SLP. Write a few positive statements about yourself while focusing on the attributes you listed.

“I am a creative problem solver who always seeks innovative solutions to challenges.”

“I listen compassionately and am patient as I help those around me.”

“I am adventurous and loving and bring joy to others wherever I go.”

Also, consider the other roles you have in your life. Are you a mom, dad, spouse, caretaker, parent, sister, or friend? 

Acknowledge the ways you excel in each of these roles and celebrate your achievements. It’s important for your mental and emotional health to recognize the positive impact you have beyond your identity as an SLP!

Prioritize Self-Care

Once you have taken time to reflect on your positive character traits and other roles in life, it’s important to prioritize self-care. 

The first step to self-care is to give yourself grace! Your life is multifaceted and sometimes different pieces of you will require more of your time and energy. Recognizing this but also remembering that by taking care of yourself, you can better care for others, will benefit everyone!

Whether as an SLP, parent, partner, or friend, this grace will allow you room to grow and breathe. Sometimes, this breathing room is exactly what you need to navigate the many life challenges you face.

How to Prioritize Self-Care

Prioritizing self-care doesn’t have to be something extravagant. Oftentimes, it is the small things that make the most impact on your mental and emotional well-being. 

Nurture your interests outside of work in the evenings and weekends. Give yourself permission to lay down your extra work and have quality time with those who matter most to you. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy and rejuvenate your spirit. Plan a weekend getaway, take a refreshing hike, or just grab coffee with a friend. 

Other considerations:

  • Play soothing music on your drive home from work
  • Wear blue light glasses to help signal your brain to wind down at the end of the night
  • Read a few pages in a good book as you lay in bed
  • Write in a gratitude journal

Support Yourself as an SLP

Another way to practice self-care is to support yourself as an SLP! Explore resources tailored to ease areas of concern or overwhelm at your job. 

This could be a physical appointment book instead of the digital scheduler you’ve been trying to make work for a couple of years. It might be signing up for FREE done-for-you resources like those found in The Therapy Closet or finding cost-effective SLP resources on TPT.

Empowering Books

You can also use empowering books to encourage a positive mindset!

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a great book to listen to as you work to shift your mindset and create positive habits. This SLP Life by Melissa Page, MS, CCC-SLP, ACC is another wonderful one to help SLPs find their courage, embrace change, and bypass burnout. 

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small commission when you use the links in my post. There is no increase in the price you pay!

Remember Who You Are

Finally, don’t forget who you truly are. Your profession is such a powerful and special part of who you are, but it isn’t everything!

Whether you absolutely love all that you do and the population you serve or you are feeling overwhelmed by work challenges, you deserve to remember that you are SO MUCH MORE than the job you’ve chosen!

identity as an SLP

Embracing empowering, helpful resources and nurturing your multifaceted identity will help you find fulfillment and balance in your life. Your identity as an SLP is just a piece of the amazing fabulous person who is YOU!

You may also be interested in reading:

4 Ways to Start Fresh in the New Year for Success as an SLP

How to Avoid SLP Burnout 

Summer Speech Schedules That Keep You Sane   

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.