Burnout therapy can take on many different forms, but its goal is simple: to help individuals manage and understand their emotions, cope with stress, and ultimately recover from burnout. In order to do this, burnout therapy typically incorporates a variety of techniques from multiple psychological approaches. Access to burnout care is extremely important. Below is everything you need to know about burnout therapy and the various techniques and modalities it includes.
What is Burnout?
Job burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged or excessive stress. It can be the result of working in an unhealthy environment with unrealistic expectations, little to no job satisfaction, or a lack of work-life balance.
It’s important to note there are many stages to burnout, and there are 12 stages of burnout that can help you identify where you may be in the burnout process. In addition, burnout research shows that burnout can result in serious mental health effects, including:
- Increase agitation and irritability
- Feelings of emotional numbness or apathy
- Low self-esteem and guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
Signs You Might Need Burnout Therapy
There are many signs that might indicate you might need help from mental health professionals to alleviate burnout symptoms. These symptoms of burnout include:
- Feelings of overwhelm or exhaustion
- Decreased motivation, focus, and productivity
- Reduced job satisfaction
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Social withdrawal in and out of the work environment
- Physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle tension
It’s important to note that professional burnout therapy will look different for everyone. Many people view burnout through a framework of 12 stages. Some individuals may benefit from working in individual therapy, while others may prefer group counseling or even self-care activities like yoga or meditation.
In addition, burnout therapy may include a variety of psychological approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and/or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). These therapies are designed to help individuals better manage their emotions, cope with stress, and develop strategies for dealing with burnout.
No matter what approach is used, burnout therapy must be started as soon as possible, no matter what stage of the burnout process you are. The sooner you start burnout therapy, the better chance you have of avoiding long-term health effects. If you are experiencing any of the signs or burnout symptoms mentioned above, it might be time to seek out burnout therapy.
Types of Burnout Therapy Treatment Methods
Burnout therapy encompasses a variety of different techniques, all of which aim to help individuals cope with and recover from job burnout. Some common methods used to treat burnout include the following:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most popular forms of therapy used in burnout therapy and seeks to identify unhelpful or negative thinking patterns that could be contributing to burnout and harming your mental health. Through this approach, individuals can learn how to challenge these thoughts and create healthier thought patterns to help manage their emotions and stress.
Many people that suffer from job burnout do so because of neurotic traits and a predisposition to negative thinking patterns. For instance, you might have thoughts such as, “If I don’t work hard or long enough then I’m a failure.” However, with the help of a mental health professional, CBT can help you learn to replace these thoughts with more helpful and productive thinking patterns.
To do so, you’ll learn how to identify cognitive distortions, which are irrational thoughts that have been proven to contribute to burnout and other anxiety disorders. Common cognitive distortions include:
- Black-and-white thinking, where you see things as all good or all bad.
- Catastrophizing, or exaggerating the negative consequences of a situation.
- Personalizing, is where you take responsibility for something outside of your control.
Once you understand what these cognitive distortions look like, CBT can help you start to challenge them in order to create healthier thought patterns.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is another form of therapy used for those experiencing burnout, but it can also help with burnout prevention. It involves paying attention to the present moment and becoming more aware of your physical and mental sensations, thoughts, and emotions. Through mindfulness, you can become more mindful of the triggers that cause burnout, so that you can better understand them and cope with them in a positive way.
In fact, studies have shown that mindfulness is one of the best ways to reduce stress both in your professional life and personal life. It can also help you stay focused on the present moment and break away from ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. One of the symptoms of burnout is having the fear of a bleak future and ruminating about the past, so mindfulness can be a great tool in breaking this negative cycle and treating burnout.
Some forms of mindfulness-based stress reduction include:
- Breathing techniques: Short, controlled breathing exercises can help to reduce stress and calm the mind.
- Body scans: A body scan involves paying attention to different parts of your body in order to become aware of any physical tension or discomfort.
- Mindful movement: This could be anything from yoga or tai chi, to walking meditation or a simple stretching routine.
In addition to these techniques, it is important to also get plenty of rest and practice self-care. This could include things like taking breaks throughout the day, staying hydrated, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
By using these methods in combination with CBT or MBSR therapy, you can start to address the root cause of burnout and build resilience in order to prevent it from happening again.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and improve relationships. It teaches clients how to control impulsive behaviors, reduces emotional reactivity, and works to develop healthier coping skills. For some people suffering from severe burnout and other psychiatric issues, such as borderline personality disorder, DBT can be very helpful in reducing the emotional intensity of their thoughts and finding new ways to process distress.
It incorporates four main components:
- Mindfulness: The practice of developing present-moment awareness, observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
- Distress Tolerance: Learning how to accept uncomfortable emotions in a non-judgmental way, rather than trying to avoid them.
- Emotion Regulation: Finding healthy and effective ways to regulate emotions in order to reduce the intensity of strong feelings.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: Developing skills that help individuals express their opinions and needs in relationships while maintaining self-respect.
By combining these principles with other forms of therapy, such as CBT or MBSR, it is possible to reduce burnout and increase resilience. Burnout therapy and DBT can help you get back on track and lead a more fulfilling life. It’s important to remember that healing from burnout takes time, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is another type of therapy used in burnout therapy. This approach helps individuals learn how to accept difficult thoughts or feelings without judgment and still take action toward their goals. Through ACT, individuals can gain insight into what triggers them and build resilience to prevent burnout in the future.
For instance, people who suffer from burnout may experience self-doubt or fear of failure, which can prevent them from taking action. ACT helps individuals to accept these thoughts without judging themselves and still take steps towards their goals. It also encourages setting realistic expectations and being compassionate with yourself as you work through the process.
Burnout therapy is a powerful tool for helping you accept your feelings, gain self-acceptance, and live a life with purpose. By utilizing evidence-based approaches such as CBT, MBSR, DBT, and ACT, you can start to move past burnout and reclaim your life.
Attending a support group is another great way to address burnout. In a support group, individuals can share their experiences with others who are going through similar issues and receive encouragement from the group. It is also helpful for learning coping techniques and strategies that can be used to manage stress and prevent future burnout episodes.
If you’re dealing with burnout, consider speaking with colleagues and attending a support group that might be helpful. Talking to other people who have gone through similar experiences can help you feel less alone and give you the strength to move forward. For instance, the rate of burnout for nurses and other medical professionals is around 95%, which means that there are likely many other nurses in your area who understand what you’re going through and can provide support. This is just one example, but support groups exist in many different professions, so it’s worth looking into if you feel like you need additional help.
How Do I Know Burnout Therapy Is Working?
The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is a great way to measure your progress in burnout therapy. The Maslach Burnout Inventory assesses different aspects of burnout such as exhaustion, depersonalization, and feelings of accomplishment.
The results of the MBI can help you gain insight into how effective your burnout therapy has been. As you continue to practice the skills and strategies you have learned through Burnout Therapy, you should start to see your scores improve. It’s also important to remember that healing from burnout takes time and requires patience.
It’s helpful to reflect on the progress you have made in burnout therapy and to celebrate your successes. Burnout therapy can be a challenging process, but it’s important to stay consistent in order to reach your goals.
Recover With Professional Help
At Clear Behavioral Health, our virtual program offers burnout therapy for individuals who need help recovering from work-related stress, are experiencing burnout, and so much more. Our team of dedicated professionals will work with you on developing coping strategies and building resilience in order to prevent future burnout episodes. Our program is tailored to meet your individual needs and provide you with the support you need to make lasting changes in your life. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you on your journey to recovery from burnout.