ERIC Number: ED303741
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Aug
Burnout in Psychotherapists: Incidence, Types, and Trends.
Farber, Barry A.
Burnout among psychotherapists appears to be low; most psychotherapists seem quite satisfied with their work and untouched by the dysfunctional symptoms of burnout. Interviews with 60 therapists revealed that most considered "lack of therapeutic success" to be the single most stressful aspect of therapeutic work. Burnout was most often attributed to the nonreciprocated attentiveness, giving, and responsibility demanded by the therapeutic relationship. A survey of clinical psychologists suggests that institutionally-based therapists, as opposed to those in private practice, are more at risk of burnout. Three types of burnout which have been identified among teachers can be used to construct profiles of burned out psychotherapists. The most likely candidate for the first type of burnout - frenetic overinvolvement - may be the young, highly idealistic therapist. The second type, the worn-out therapist, seems most prevalent among experienced therapists working in institutions with oppressive bureaucratic structures. Finally, there is the underchallenged, underestimated therapist. Trends which may increase the risk of burnout among psychotherapists include the trend toward health maintenance organizations, the trend for an increasing number of individuals with difficult-to-treat character disorders seeking treatment, and the tendency for psychotherapy to become more of a business. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (96th, Atlanta, GA, August 12-16, 1988).