Causes and consequences of burnout among mental health professionals: A practice-oriented review of recent empirical literature [2020]

Burnout is a psychological syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Due to the demands of treating people with psychological problems, burnout is prevalent among psychotherapists. In this article, we present a comprehensive review of 44 quantitative and qualitative studies from the past decade focusing on both the risk factors for, and effects of, burnout among psychotherapists. Factors influencing burnout include perceived job control, the nature of psychotherapists’ caseload, countertransference reactions, supervisory support, and psychotherapists’ mental health history. Burnout affects psychotherapists’ general well-being, as well as the extent to which clients engage in and benefit from psychotherapy. Implications for psychotherapists and their supervisors for burnout prevention and intervention are discussed, and recommendations for further research in this area are identified.

Yang, Ying Hayes, Jeffrey A.
Psychotherapy, 57(3), 2020