ERIC Number: ED194843
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Reference Count: 0
The Process and Dimensions of Burnout in Psychotherapists.
Farber, Barry A.
Two-hour semi-structured interviews were conducted with a heterogeneous group of psychotherapists to investigate their experience of therapeutic practice, and in particular to study the phenomenon of emotional and physical exhaustion known as "burnout," in which professionals lose all concern, all emotional feelings for the persons with whom they work and come to treat them in detached or de-humanizing ways. Data showed that burnout was attributed primarily to the nonreciprocated attentiveness, giving, and responsibility demanded by the therapeutic relationship. Most therapists cited lack of therapeutic success as the single most stressful aspect of their work. A majority of therapists felt that the use of support systems (e.g., supervisory relationships, support of colleagues) was essential to their own mental health. The data further suggest that there are certain inherent difficulties in all work with patients, relating to the nature of the therapeutic role and to the fact that the therapeutic process is slow and erratic. To prevent or minimize burnout, therapists in both the public and private sectors must be able to express, freely, negative feelings toward their work. (Author/CS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Support Systems
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (88th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 1-5, 1980).