Posted by: Victoria Lorient-Faibish on May 3, 2011 9:48 am

Are you hungry, angry, lonely or tired? (Or all of the above?) If yes, know that it is time to halt; I mean stop everything as these are the beginning stages of burnout.

Watching out for the signs of burn out is so important to make sure that our job is one that is still enjoyable and helpful to our beloved clients.

Some signs you are starting to burn out and in need of HALTing everything are:

  • You begin to experience your empathy levels going down.  Or in your mind you hear yourself saying “Could you get the point!” when working with your client.
  • You start sharing your own personal story in a way that is not helpful to your client. Boundaries are starting to fade as you are not cognizant that this is going on.
  • Being late often because you are going overtime with the clients.
  • You are exhausted at the end of your day in a way that does not seem to be solved by a good night’s sleep.
  • You are losing passion and you are bored frequently.
  • You have not done any personal work in a while and you are losing touch with self.
  • You bring home your clients problems in your mind.
  • You feel resentful of your clients.
  • You are happy when they cancel.

Some things you can do to mitigate burnout:

  • Go back into your own personal therapeutic process. I sometimes meet therapists who have rarely if ever been a client and I am amazed. I know that they cannot possibly be doing deep and transformational work with their clients if they themselves are not on the journey. I am such a fan of walk the talk!
  • Work a 4 day week.  Yes you make less money but adjusting financially to that is such a gift if you find that you are burning out. I started working a 4 day week years ago and this has been the single most satisfying aspect to my life. On Fridays I take care of me all the way. This is a day that I can truly feed my soul. I can prepare food, workout, get up later, go to the beach (weather permitting) , get a pedicure, write, meditate and my personal fave “far niente” (Italian for “do nothing”!)
  • Do something else! I know it sounds extreme but if you are feeling burnt out consistently for too long and you have tried everything but the passion just won’t come back, you may have to reconsider that there may be another path for you to investigate.

This career is special in that it cannot just be a job that makes money. It is a calling in my view and one needs to be prepared like an athlete to do it well. But I feel our preparation has to be body, mind and soul oriented.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

0 comments on “H.A.L.T!”

  1. susan candaele says:

    Unfortunately I was affected by burn out about 7 years ago. I can relate to HALT except for the hunger component. I lost my appetite and my enjoyment of my favourite foods. If you are referring to a deeper kind of hunger I can relate to that. I felt empty as if everything that had been me, was gone. I could not determine what I believed from what I thought I should believe. burnout for me was also an identity crisis. I thought I would never go back to counselling again. At this time I am back working as an outreach counsellor teaching and supporting parents who do not have the skills, the desire, the psychological strength and sometime, the interest to be loving and effective parents. Burnout job! I also do one on one counselling with full fee clients but not many can afford it. I wish there was some way for counsellors and therapists and all others in the other care professions to support one another. Unfortunately when we get together we are so concerned with the welfare of our colleagues that we forget about our own needs. Anyway, self care and knowing what that means to ourselves, is the most effective way to prevent burnout. I am very happy to have this blog to air my feelings and hear about the feelings and thoughts of others. Take good care!

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