Healthcare workers everywhere operate in a constant state of burnout, and it can be difficult to determine how to find relief. There are so many types of therapeutic interventions available for burnout. Which one is best?
The best type of therapeutic intervention for burnout is CBT, which is cognitive behavioral therapy. Many studies confirm the effectiveness of this type of intervention for burnout. However, the best type of therapeutic intervention for you depends on your individual situation.
To learn more about cognitive behavioural therapy, why it works to remedy burnout, and more, then keep on reading.
CBT: The Best Therapeutic Intervention for Burnout
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is very effective for burnout. It is a relatively well-known psychological treatment that is administered by a mental health professional. In a CBT session, you will speak one-on-one with a therapist about your issues.
While this treatment is traditionally used to combat mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, mental health professionals have also used the treatment for burnout.
In a study published in Science Direct, when overworked employees participated in a CBT program to treat burnout, there was a measurable decrease in burnout after six months. Participants experienced an increase in energy and a decrease in cynicism in only 10 weeks.
The Premise of CBT
The premise behind CBT is that your internal thoughts and feelings contribute to burnout. Professionals work with patients using several methods, mainly cognitive restructuring, to help patients reprogram their thoughts.
CBT helps many with burnout by renewing their minds to think positively about situations and foster confidence in work situations.
Other therapeutic intervention types are either not as well documented or have not been consistently successful for burnout. Patients worldwide are turning to CBT to help them deal with chronic burnout.
CBT interventions Used for Burnout
Healthcare workers regularly deal with stressful situations, and most of the time, employer accommodations are not available. This leaves many healthcare professionals stuck in a difficult work situation. CBT for burnout is focused on giving healthcare providers tools to help them deal with burnout.
Several CBT interventions are specifically used for burnout, and each will be examined in the list below:
- Cognitive restructuring – In this CBT tactic, a mental health professional has several conversations with a patient about their individual thought process. Often, a therapist will find that the patient’s mind focuses too much on the negative or fixates on unimportant details. If this is the case, the therapist will then work on changing those thought patterns.
- Role–play – Many therapists use role-playing to simulate stressful work situations. Patients find role-playing to be helpful because they get to work with a professional to talk about how to solve problems, sharpen their social skills, and reduce negative feelings about work.
- Stress reduction– Stress reduction in CBT focuses on showing patients how to relax and de-stress in unfavorable situations. Therapists may teach strategies for stress reduction, like muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Patients find that they no longer feel burnt out after learning how to properly de-stress.
- Guided discovery – In guided discovery, a therapist will talk to the patient about their viewpoints regarding burnout. They will then be asked many questions to challenge that viewpoint. Often, patients come out feeling completely different than they did initially.
- Journaling – You may have already known that writing things down is a great way to let go of negative feelings and nagging thoughts. Therapists guide patients through specific writing exercises designed to help the patient access feelings that may contribute to burnout. Journaling may also be used as a good way to track progress.
A therapist may use one or more of these interventions to help healthcare workers deal with burnout.
Note: Every person will have a different experience with CBT, and no one can guarantee that any CBT technique will help with burnout. However, these techniques have worked for many others in the past and show a lot of promise.
Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Right for You?
Since every individual’s mental make-up is different, no single therapeutic intervention technique will work for everyone. This section will help you decide whether you should seek out a therapist for CBT intervention.
CBT works best for people who fall into one or more of the following groups:
- You are willing to talk about your burnout situation. CBT is talk therapy where you will be speaking one on one for a great deal of time. So, this type of intervention may be a good fit for you if you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts about your situation.
- You are financially stable. CBT is not cheap, and if you don’t have insurance, you may end up paying a pretty penny for your sessions (around $200 per session).
- You are willing to do some work on your own. Your therapist may require you to do homework between sessions. This may be in the form of journaling, keeping track of real-life situations, or more. Being prepared to fully immerse yourself in therapy will increase your chances of success.
- Be ready for self-reflection– If you’re someone who has a hard time looking at yourself or the part that you play in conflicts, you could have a hard time with CBT. Self-reflection is a huge part of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Other Therapeutic Interventions for Burnout
While CBT has been successful in treating burnout in healthcare workers, it is not the only effective therapeutic intervention out there. The following sections will explore them briefly.
Workplace Interventions, like workplace support groups and workshops, help with burnout by giving employees a central place to vent their frustrations or learn about coping strategies. Interventions like this boost employee morale and reduce individuals’ negative feelings towards work.
Massage and scenic walks are also used to combat workplace burnout. In the healthcare industry, employers may make free massages available to nurses or have walking meetings, where teams take a walk outside as they talk about work matters.
Yoga and Exercise
Getting active naturally reduces stress, which makes physical activity a great way to combat burnout. Incorporating a yoga class into your routine, or beginning an exercise program, can clear your mind and keep you in a better mood.
Stages of Burnout and When to Seek Help
You may not have been aware that there are many distinct stages of burnout. You can read about the stages below:
- Honeymoon phase – When people are in this phase, they are in love with their work. They will have high energy and feel optimistic about the position.
- Stress onset – At this stage, you will not be as optimistic about your job as you were initially. You will enjoy some days, but the stressful days will start to get to you. You may begin to feel negative feelings that stick with you even after the workday has ended. It is at this point that you should consider stress management techniques.
- Constant stress – This stage is marked by constant stress. You’ll often feel stressed once you walk in/log in for work. You may even experience physical illness and a sense of panic. You should seek help immediately to help you deal with your work-related stress.
- Official Burnout – At this point, you are totally burnt out. You may be considering leaving your job, and your overall personality may have turned negative. This is where intervention is critical.
- Habitual burnout – This is the last burnout stage. You are past burnout. You may feel depressed and emotionally vulnerable. Many also have trouble completing their work duties.
If you are experiencing work-related stress, it’s highly recommended to seek help at your earliest convenience, as burnout is not likely to disappear on its own. Whether you choose CBT or another intervention method, we hope that this article is instrumental in helping you choose the right one for you.
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