If you are in mental health, the statistics say you are at risk for burnout. Once burnout hits it can be difficult to get out of the cycle of burnout syndrome. Systemic issues and cultural norms that put mental health professionals at risk for burnout don’t magically dissipate when you start to have symptoms. Many therapists explore a few main options:
- Finding a new “healthy job” with a healthier work environment and expectations.
- Taking time away from the professional altogether through medical leave, retiring, changing careers, or stop working altogether.
- Starting their own private practice and creating a new environment.
Finding a healthier position can be difficult. Very few employers are aware of the dynamics that burnout their employees. High employee turnover or medical leaves are seldom seen as a systemic issue. It is more likely that they attribute the problem to the individual employees.
Taking time away from a profession that you are passionate about is an incredibly difficult decision. And, very few individuals have the savings or support from a loved one to take the time off that they may need to heal. Taking medical leave can also be met with both an internal sense of shame, as well as being shamed by others at work and at home.
Starting your own private practice business where you are completely in charge of the dynamics may seem like the perfect solution. However, it can be difficult to have the energy to start and maintain a business when you are experiencing the symptoms of burnout.
Even more problematic, if you don’t delve into a deeper understanding of the systemic issues and patterns that put you at risk for burnout initially, you may unconsciously and inadvertently recreate the same dynamic in your business! Understanding burnout is imperative to not just healing in the short-term, but creating a personal and professional life that truly takes care of you in a sustainable way to do the great work.
I started creating a blog post with Kelly Higdon (my co-blogger here on Private Practice Kickstart) on Burnout. We knew it would be longer than a traditional blog post. But, to even do a broad sweep of the topic and the research turned into over 30 pages of concise content! We published Business Owner Burnout: Burnout Syndrome Handbook for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs in its entirety on our blog, and also made it available for free on Kindle for the next 5 days (that is as long as they allow us to make it free). We hope if you are a mental health professional, you will go and give it a download and let us know what you think. It is a quick-ish read at 30 pages.
Comment below if you’ve ever experienced burnout and what you did to heal and recover.