A haircut or tattoo appointment often turns into an informal ‘counselling’ session, but not everyone is trained about the way to deal with the sensitive issues that clients share at their salon.

This is set to change as hairdressers, beauticians, massage therapists, nail technicians and tattoo artists are being invited to attend a seminar to discuss how to support their clients, but also maintain boundaries and take care of themselves.

They will, understandably, not be trained to do counselling sessions, but will be shown how to guide their clients to seek professional help.

Claire Borg, a psychotherapist who works with adolescents and adults, told this newspaper that spending an hour at the salon after a hard day’s work with a person you have come to know well, could easily create a safe and relaxing environment for someone to open up.

It was natural for people to seek others to talk to, share what they are going through and feel acknowledged. Most people are generally more at ease to open up about their life experiences when they feel safe and are relaxed.

Being there for others can boost their happiness levels

Some also decide to go for a new look or get a tattoo after going through a difficult experience – sometimes a physical change could symbolise the psychological growth a person feels when adapting to a significant life change.

Ms Borg came up with the seminar idea together with her colleague Matthew Bartolo, who was a hairdresser before becoming a counsellor.

Would she advise hairdressers, beauticians and tattoo artists, among others, to try and support their clients, or distance themselves?

“I think that most people would agree that being there for someone or having someone who is there for you in difficult times may be very supportive, and may foster closer relationships,” Ms Borg said.

“When you are able to support others while also taking care of yourself, being there for others can boost the happiness levels. However, setting certain limits and keeping boundaries is important to prevent mental exhaustion and tense relationships with clients.”

As with physical ailments, prevention is always better than cure.

Seeking professional support and going to therapy could prevent mental health problems during a difficult period, or prevent already existing symptoms from worsening.

Meanwhile, leading a healthy lifestyle, contributing to society and surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you are also crucial to boost good mental health.

Having said this, no one is exempt from mental health difficulties as symptoms can start at any age even if a person tries their best to foster good physical and mental health, Ms Borg noted.

The event will be replicated with other professions. E-mail info@willingness.com.mt for more information.


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