From their paper, “Burnout Syndrome in Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Registered Mental Health Counselor Interns: A Pilot Study” the authors point out that during the first three years of work experience for professionals, they are at higher risk for burnout and job turnover (p1. 2011). I am currently in my first year of professional work experience. Although, each class in my Master’s program had devoted a component of the importance of self-care as well as provided students with various strategies; I found that they did not mean anything until I was practicing. For me, self-care was another subject like theories; understand the concept for the time-being and figure out what it really means later. Thinking about the burnout statistic, I am alarmed. I recognize the importance of self-care, however am still struggling to learn how to do it. The first step to recognize that burnout may be occurring is to understand the symptoms. There are many symptoms to burnout; depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, lack of interest, etc. Just as there are many symptoms to burnout, there are also that many countermeasures a counsellor can take too; exercise, personal counselling, conscious effort to leave work at work, etc. I could go on. But, at the end of the day, what I really found helped was finding my own way at ensuring I was taking care of my mental health. I do not think there is one formula, but rather a combination of strategies. This has been a bit of a learning process. I have been fortunate to be working in a supportive environment that fosters self-care. But in order to ensure that I do not become a part of the statistic, I am learning which self-care strategies work for me so that by the time I have been three years into the field I would have already had many tools in my toolbox that could be pulled out automatically.
Baldwin, K.D., Barmore, C., Suprina, J. S., Weaver, A. (2011). Burnout Syndrome in Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Registered Mental Health Counselor Interns: A Pilot Study.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA