Exploring Signs Of Therapist Burnout | Strategies To Cope
A therapist is the first person we rush to when we are under some stress or can’t handle what life throws at us. Do you know who a therapist needs when they feel overwhelmed? Another therapist and a lot of rest & refreshment.
Did you know according to psychiatric laws and ethics, a therapist is supposed to take therapy at least once every year? It is to make sure that therapists have not internalized the pain, trauma, stress, etc from their patients and/or are facing some emotional stress of their own.
Therapist burnout is one of the leading causes of therapists not being able to render their services without any hindrance. According to a study, almost 20% to 50% of therapists experience therapist burnout or emotional exhaustion to say so.
75% of therapist burnout cases are self-reported which means they know how important it is for them to take a break. However, sometimes therapists need to be reminded to take some rest to recover from the exhaustion they have been feeling.
Today we explore therapist burnout and effective self-care strategies to manage the exhaustion they feel…shall we begin?
What Is A Therapist Burnout?
A therapist’s burnout is no different from the burnout we all experience. Therapist burnout is when a therapist is overwhelmed and feels exhausted emotionally, mentally, and physically. Burnout occurs when therapists face extreme stress and exhaustion they face because of working tirelessly day after day.
Therapist burnout is basically when a therapist feels emotionally, mentally, or physically shut down. It mostly happens when they don’t allow them to take any rest from work and overburden themselves.
The unmanaged and chronic stress one feels at the workplace is one of the leading causes of burnout and professional decline. In the case of therapists, they lose the patience and empathy that they need the most to treat their patients.
Also Read: Mental Burnout: 7 Reasons Why You Might Be Mentally Fatigued
Therapist Burnout Symptoms
One of the most common signs of experiencing therapist burnout is not enjoying their work at all. It stresses them to even get into a therapy session because they don’t have the energy to deal with their patients.
However, there are a lot of other symptoms of therapist burnout that you need to watch out for. Let’s have a look at them;
- Not working consistently (running late for work, canceling appointments, etc)
- Experience a strange fear of going to work
- Daydreaming during work a lot
- Experiencing emotional exhaustion (drained)
- Feel overwhelmed all the time
- Loss of empathy
- Attempts to numb the exhaustion (self-medication, alcohol consumption, etc)
- Experience extreme mental distraction
- Reduced professional efficacy
- Disturbed sleep
- Extreme stress and worry
- Increased negativity, cynicism, and loss of purpose
Also read: Are You Experiencing Relationship Burnout? Check Out The Signs!
What Causes Therapist Burnout?
There can be N number of reasons responsible for a therapist’s burnout. An individual faces a lot of emotional, mental, and physical stressors daily. Although most of the time they can manage their stress, sometimes they succumb to it and end up feeling burnt out.
Here are some of the most common causes of therapist burnout you need to watch out for;
- Social or political stressors
- Difficulty in detaching from their patient’s issues
- Experiencing secondary trauma
- Exposure to extremely depressed/stressed/anxious patients
- Emotional/mental fatigue
- The tendency to focus on others than yourself
- Financial issues
- Inability to help a patient recover
- Repeated exposure to extremely troubled patients
- Inability to take a break from work
Also read: Can Polywork Lead to Burnout?
How To Prevent Burnout As A Therapist: Effective Self-Care Strategies
Once the therapist has realized that they have been experiencing burnout, I’m sure they’d already know what has to be done. However, there are many times we know what to do and yet fail to put necessary actions in play.
Here are a few self-care strategies you can use to prevent burnout as a therapist;
- Take care of your body: it is very important to have a good self-care plan for your physical health because a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Go for regular exercise, spa, etc to keep your body stress free.
- Emotional self-care: your emotional health is as important as your physical health therefore you need to take some time off to take care of your emotional health. Read a book, engage in activities you enjoy, try music therapy, etc.
- Don’t bring work home: it is important to have some boundaries for yourself. It might be difficult but you need to stop bringing work home. There is a cut-off you need to make and leave all that you experienced at work and enter your home with fresh energy.
- Eat and drink mindfully: it is very important to be hydrated and have a balanced meal because what you eat and how much you drink directly affects your health. Do you want that burnout to relax? Eat/Drink mindfully!
- Don’t forget about your passion: being a therapist and helping other people is your job but you can’t forget about the hobbies and activities you’re passionate about. Engaging in your hobbies will help you relax and de-stress you.
- Have a good support system: it is important to have some people in your life who can ask you to stop working and start living your life. A strong support system will help you make better decisions and not end up experiencing therapist burnout.
- Take a break: this is the most important self-care strategy you need right now. Burnout is effectively prevented when you take enough breaks time and again. Burnout is a result of exhaustion, taking a break can help you prevent exhaustion.
That’s All Folks!
I hope you found this blog about therapist burnout and how one can prevent burnout as a therapist helpful, interesting, and informative. Do share this blog with your friends and family, especially those who have been practicing tirelessly for years and need to take a break.
Thanks for reading.
Take care and stay safe.