Counselor burnout: a handbook

When I was searching for a topic on which' to base my thesis project, several things happened within a short period of time which focused my attention on the problem of burnout. My professor mentioned a friend of his who couldn't take being a counselor any more and left the field of counseling. Then one day, I stopped in the office of' a crisis counseling agency I work for on a part time basis. It had been a particularly hectic morning for the office staff. One worker, putting the phone down after a frustrating call, stood up, stretched her hands out and proclaimed, "I'm burning out!" This was said in a jesting manner but another worker responded by saying, "Come on, let's get some coffee and talk a minute." The third thing which caught my attention was overhearing a counselor relate to his friend how he was beginning to dread corning into work. Counselor burnout was a subject I had occasionally heard mentioned but had read nothing about. In researching the matter I found there was very little written about it. Burnout seemed to be a fairly neglected area. I decided to focus on making counselors, particularly those still in training, aware of the subject. Thus I chose to write this in an easily-read handbook form. In the handbook I investigate the phenomenon of burnout, describing what it is and how it can be recognized. The effects as well as some of the causes of burnout are examined. Finally, I discuss how burnout can be prevented and treated.