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Burnout: The professional and personal struggle

Over the years, many people have tried to define the phenomenon of ‘burnout’. However you choose to define the phenomenon of ‘burnout’ it is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. Burnout has been described as a loss, whether it is a loss of meaning, a loss of physical energy or a loss of coping. It is the meaning of the work that is fulfilling for the individual, as without meaning within our lives what do we have? If we burnout within our work, what meaning are we left with? With the ever growing pressures and the struggle to maintain a certain level of professional stability, it would seem that the phenomenon of ‘burnout’ is a relevant topic in today’s working culture.

In the experience of ‘burnout’, it is argued that the stressors have been long term and continual which follows with the onset of ‘burnout’. It is the experience of frustration that the individual will experience along with questions about the meaning of their work and dealing with their disappointment of not achieving their goals. Their frustration may bring up questions about the meaning of the work that they are doing. However it is important to see that the meaning of an experience is deeply rooted in our own perception and how we deal with what is happening.

Within the therapeutic relationship, we can explore how we see the phenomenon of burnout and the impact that it can have on our lives. The impact can be varied from the emotional side (i.e. feeling disconnected from others and ‘in a fog’) to the physical side (i.e feeling tired and digestive problems). This phenomenon not only has an impact on ourselves but how we relate to others around us. If we are struggling to connect to our work, what kind of impact is it having on our personal relationships? Counselling can be a safe and non judgmental way of exploring what has lead up to the burnout, the burnout itself and how to manage these feelings.

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