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Transcript of Burnout
The risks of being in the helping profession
What is burnout?
Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion and cynicism that occurs frequently among individuals who do ‘people-work’ of some kind.
Burnout has three dimensions
or feeling unable to give of oneself psychologically
or feeling cynical and uncaring toward clients
Reduced personal accomplishment
resulting in dissatisfaction with ones’ work
Common Symptoms of Burnout
• Increased absenteeism
• Avoiding or rushing through care
• Rigid rules and "by the book" approaches
• Dehumanizing people
• Anger and emotional outbursts
• Increasingly cynical attitudes
• Stress from work interfering in social and
• Physical symptoms of stress such as
headaches sleep disturbance and
The transformation in the inner experience of helping professional that comes about as a result of empathetic engagement with clients.
Burnout is a process that emerges gradually, becomes progressively worse and is the
result of emotional exhaustion rather than
Exposure to the stories of the helpees
Our empathetic sensitivity to their suffering
Any unresolved emotional issues that relate to the suffering person
We care for others more than ourselves
We feel that we must make it all better
We feel we have failed when we cannot solve our clients problems
Take care of ourselves, it will relieve some of our stress and allow us to better take care of others
Learn and use self-empathy and self-nurturing techniques
Try understanding and treating ourselves with the same care we give our clients
Allow ourselves to say no
Increase our self-awareness
Plan for a routine to help ease the transition from work to home.
Do not expect all our feelings of self-esteem to come from our profession.
Develop outside interests that have nothing to do with helping others!
Try to avoid over-identification with clients
Develop relationships outside of work where we can talk about our feelings
Organizational Steps For Prevention of Burnout
•Rotate staff as much as possible in order to distribute difficult assignments
•Include staff in discussions of rotations, and stress reliever suggestions
•Build group cohesiveness by regular trainings, discussions, in-services
•Encourage peer support
•Offer recognition for success, and excellence
•A monthly newsletter with updates and kudos is always appreciated
•Let staff know it is all right to ask for a "stress break"
•Watch for signs of significant stress in staff, and offer them help.
Effective coping strategies
Implications for education to prevent burnout
Educators to encourage students to develop a strong sense of self awareness.
Content on Compassion Fatigue should be included in the curriculum.
Assignments that foster student exploration of motivations for entering a helping profession and personal vulnerabilities to burnout.
A heavy dose of ethics education, and skills to implement broader systems change.
Upside to Burnout
Job stress and burnout can
motivate you to make changes
to both personal and professional
Less effective coping strategies