Burnout Syndrome Treatment in London & Online

Exhaustion, lack of motivation for work, and reduced work efficacy are not uncommon in the hustle and bustle of the modern world. But if these symptoms are intense and last over longer periods, it’s time for concern, as you might be suffering from burnout syndrome.

There’s been a lot of talk about burnout lately. And while experts are weighing their decisions on whether to define occupational stress as a mental disorder, millions of people worldwide are struggling with symptoms of burnout. Researchers have noticed a spike in burnout population levels in the UK since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the pandemic has made things worse for us on the mental plane, it also turned our attention away from mental health.

This is why burnout treatment is more critical today than ever before. This article will talk about how you can recognise signs of burnout and what you can do about them. If you already know what you are dealing with and are seeking help for burnout, you can schedule a session with one of our therapists right away! You can choose between in-person and online counselling.

Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation.

COVID-19 notice: Online Therapy & Counselling now offered for continued care

Burnout Syndrome treatment

What is Burnout?

Burnout is related to chronic occupational stress. It results in significant emotional, cognitive, and behavioural changes compared to how a person functioned before the onset of burnout. Less pronounced “versions” of stress in the workplace are less intense, don’t last as long, and have fewer emotional, cognitive, and behavioural consequences.

In short, someone suffering from burnout will be functioning visibly differently over more extended periods and will probably suffer more and more as time goes by instead of going back to normal.

What are Burnout Signs and Symptoms?

Burnout is a type of stress reaction that arises mainly due to work pressure. If you have it, chances are that you will be functioning in a drastically different way. Firstly, it’s likely you’ll lose your motivation for work. It might seem like the meaning of the things you do has vanished. The exhaustion will kick in, together with a lack of confidence and general happiness. 

According to the World Health Organisation, burnout syndrome shows up as:

  • Exhaustion and lack of energy
  • Distancing oneself from one’s job via negativism and cynicism
  • Reduced efficacy

So a person who experiences too much occupational stress won’t have the same energy levels as before. It might seem as if routine tasks are now taking extraordinary amounts of effort. The lack of energy is usually coupled with thoughts about the meaninglessness of work and how it doesn’t make any difference in the world. Having a hard time getting out of bed and dreading that you have to start another day of work can be insidious signs of burnout.

Moreover, the general lack of motivation can be manifested via cynicism towards work. Let’s say that you are working in the digital marketing sector. In this case, cynicism will be expressed as a devaluation of digital marketing – “It feels like it’s one big lie”. 

It also happens that people develop phobia-like reactions to things associated with work. For example, you might feel intense anxiety at the thought of looking at your work inbox.

Finally, the logical consequence of all this is reduced work efficacy. An exhausted and unmotivated individual won’t get the job done efficiently. Inability to concentrate, distractibility, inability to focus are the “trademark” signs of burnout

However, not everything is this straightforward. You probably realised that burnout symptoms include a wide variety of manifestations, some of which can be found in the definitions of other disorders. This is why it’s essential to discern occupational stress from other disorders such as depression.

What’s the Difference Between Burnout and Depression?

The leading cause of burnout is stress at work, while there are many possible causes of depression. Furthermore, depression usually involves a lack of confidence and feelings of worthlessness. While burnout can also include these symptoms, they are not its core characteristics. Additionally, depression, much like work stress, is related to reduced work efficacy.

Burnout counselling differs from depression counselling. The former heavily emphasises work-related problems, which can be a part but still only a part of depression therapy.

Physical symptoms of burnout are similar to the physical symptoms of depression – lack of energy, exhaustion, bodyweight changes, insomnia (or hypersomnia), etc. Crucially, the two aren’t mutually exclusive – you could be experiencing (and be diagnosed with) occupational stress and depression simultaneously.

What causes Burnout Syndrome?

Burnout syndrome is caused by chronic occupational stress – numerous stressful experiences that accumulate over extended periods, right up to the point where they become too much to bear. Bad relationships with co-workers, pressure coming from managers, too much work, heavy workloads and deadlines are all stressful work experiences behind burnout.

There’s an important factor that indirectly affects your chances of suffering from burnout – neuroticism. This personality trait plays a role in how you respond to stressful situations. People with pronounced neuroticism are more likely to interpret specific (work) situations as overly stressful and unbearable and are more likely to brood on them afterwards.

How is Burnout Treated?

There are many ways to approach burnout treatment. Some people would like to get rid of specific issues such as lack of motivation for work or reducing the anxiety evoked by certain work tasks or relationships. Others are seeking to approach their problems more broadly. For instance, they might need professional guidance and help reinventing their professional identities.

Treating Burnout with CBT

We’ll start with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, possibly the most efficient way to approach burnout treatment. CBT psychotherapy will first identify concrete, observable problems and then use different techniques to solve these problems. Some people may need to change maladaptive behavioural patterns and learn new ones. Substance use, for instance, can serve as a “remedy” for chronic occupational stress. The first step would be to address this problem and then focus on more work-related issues, such as your relationships with colleagues or how you handle your workload. 

People also may find it hard to say “no” to co-workers and managers. They accept additional work without batting an eye. Because they are so overburdened by others’ work, they might miss the opportunity to get a raise or promotion.

A CBT therapist might then help you identify more adaptive alternatives for these maladaptive behavioural patterns: learning some relaxation techniques (more on this later) can be more helpful than using substances. Moreover, using assertiveness training, your therapist can help you learn how to say no to excessive workload and leave more time for essential work activities, which is more helpful than letting oneself be overwhelmed by the requests of others. 

Relaxation exercises, in general, are an excellent way to start alleviating symptoms of excessive workplace stress. These include body-focused exercises like Progressive Muscle Relaxation or techniques influenced by the mindfulness tradition, like mindful breathing and meditation. Speaking of which, mindfulness has become a crucial concept and active component in modern therapy. It has helped the development of third-wave psychotherapy approaches. These approaches combine the basics of CBT and mindfulness, resulting in, for instance, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. These can all be used to tackle burnout issues.

In some instances, burnout treatment focuses on specific problems such as insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much). 

CBT psychotherapists will also consider a person’s thoughts and feelings towards work. Because people suffering from occupational stress sometimes develop phobic reactions towards work-related triggers [1], counselling for burnout can include specific CBT techniques for dealing with phobias. Just thinking about one’s workplace, the office, and work context can be daunting. This is why burnout therapy can also include systematic desensitisation, one of the most efficient ways to address phobias. Systematic desensitisation involves gradual exposure to the object of phobia, starting with less stressful situations and going up the ladder. For example, it can begin with handling the anxiety linked to your seemingly bottomless inbox, to managing the stress of saying ‘no’ to a colleague’s request, up to mustering the courage to ask your manager for a raise.

Treating Burnout with Psychodynamic Therapy

It is possible to approach burnout treatment from a psychodynamic or psychoanalytic viewpoint. While CBT tends to identify the most critical problems and tackle them one by one, psychoanalysis has a broader and more abstract framework. Concrete problems are seen as a manifestation of more profound, unconscious issues. 

Thus, psychoanalysis for burnout would probably drift away from work-related issues, attempting to uncover the unconscious personal dynamics and learn how they contribute to developing burnout (and other) symptoms. 

What’s the Best Treatment for Burnout Syndrome?

CBT most certainly has the most robust scientific background and the most studies behind it. However, some clients may find it too simplistic – which is why psychodynamic, and other approaches shouldn’t be ruled out. 

It’s also possible to integrate CBT, psychodynamic, and other psychotherapeutic approaches. This is often what we do at Therapy Central – we have psychotherapists with a wide variety of theoretical backgrounds ready to integrate different approaches to improve our clients’ well-being.

When Should I Get Help for Burnout?

Burnout syndrome, by definition, involves a drastic deviation from your normal levels of functioning. It affects all spheres of life. If you notice the following symptoms, you should start seeking help for burnout:

  • Inability to concentrate on work
  • Bad quality of work provided
  • Constantly thinking about work, even when you don’t want to
  • Being “haunted” by unpleasant memories related to your job
  • Feeling that everything you do is actually pointless
  • Chronic tiredness, which doesn’t seem to go away even after relatively long periods of recovery

However, it would be ideal if you didn’t let things get this bad. You don’t have to reach the point where your functioning is heavily impaired. It would be best if you acted preemptively:

  • Talking about the recent stressful work experiences with trusted others
  • Refraining from overwork, or at least allowing your body and mind to recover
  • Consulting your colleagues and finding out whether they are also experiencing job pressure

What does Burnout Treatment Involve?

As mentioned, there are many ways to treat burnout, but typically we see the following interventions and techniques used:

  • Cognitive restructuring – your therapist will help you address and change how you think about your stressful work experiences. You’ll learn how to detect cognitive biases (also known as Thinking Errors) such as catastrophising, minimisation, and overgeneralisation and how to replace them with more helpful thinking patterns. 
  • Behavioural experiments – some people who suffer from burnout are simply afraid of taking pre-emptive actions, like discussing workload with managers. In this case, the therapist will guide you through behavioural experiments (e.g., requesting a reduction in total workload), first carefully planned with you during the therapy sessions. 
  • Relaxation techniques – while it’s impossible (and perhaps undesirable) to altogether avoid stressful situations, you can surely learn how to handle them more effectively. Relaxation techniques are instrumental in this respect. Progressive Muscle Relaxation, mindful breathing, meditation can help you remain calm and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed in stressful situations. 
  • Systematic desensitisation – this intervention is very beneficial for people who developed phobic reactions to specific triggers. A person can develop a strong phobic response to various work-related stimuli. For instance, the office space can become a rather frightening place because it’s associated with so many stressful experiences and thus might evoke potent anxiety responses. Systematic desensitisation will help you break such associations and face feared circumstances more effectively, with greater ease and calm.

How Long will Burnout Treatment Last?

Unfortunately, if left untreated, burnout might last for years. This is the main reason you should immediately find help if you are experiencing any symptoms of burnout

Although work stress can be a severe and unpleasant condition, it tends to maintain itself. People with burnout may develop self-fulfilling prophecies that reduce the chances of full recovery. A typical example of self-fulfilling prophecy connected to burnout is a belief like “My colleagues are teaming up against me.” If you have this belief, you will likely act in ways that will actually evoke the expected behaviour from colleagues (e.g., being overly sarcastic and cynical, which leads to colleagues feeling frustrated and angry). In addition, people who suffer from burnout syndrome tend to develop various maladaptive coping strategies (e.g. substance use, overworking), which will need to be tackled.So, how long does it take to recover from burnout? This is a good question to which there are no definite answers.

First, burnout therapy will show its effects more quickly than spontaneous recovery (which is less likely). In general, most people who choose CBT therapy for their problems start feeling better after 10-15 sessions, or even sooner. Some people might need more sessions and follow-up sessions taken sporadically after the main intervention ends. This is especially the case when the symptoms of burnout are quite pronounced and when there are other problems besides burnout, such as depression, substance use, or work phobia.

Is Therapy for Burnout Effective?

The short answer is yes. Recently a study [2] has been published which investigated the effects of different types of burnout treatment. The main conclusion was that burnout treatment can effectively reduce stress levels and improve overall life quality. The therapeutic approaches included in this study revolved around burnout education, mindfulness-based therapy, and organisational interventions.

Does Online Therapy for Burnout Work?

The short answer is yes. Recently a study [2] has been published which investigated the effects of different types of burnout treatment. The main conclusion was that burnout treatment can effectively reduce stress levels and improve overall life quality. The therapeutic approaches included in this study revolved around burnout education, mindfulness-based therapy, and organisational interventions.

What are the Benefits of Burnout Treatment?

Therapy for burnout will help you improve your well-being in several ways, including the following:

  • Dealing with and managing specific symptoms such as exhaustion, insomnia, or self-fulfilling prophecies
  • Reducing the intensity of stress you are experiencing
  • Less fear about work-related situations
  • Improving relationships with colleagues
  • Re-thinking past stressful job experiences
  • Improving work efficiency and cognitive efficiency in general
  • Heightened job motivation
  • Greater self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Overall higher quality of life

Tips to get you Started Managing Burnout

Ideally, you’d find professional help for addressing chronic occupational stress. But there are some general suggestions that you should keep in mind while you are taking a therapy break and when you’re not in contact with a mental health professional:

  • Rest (getting enough sleep; taking some time off)
  • Engage in cheerful leisure activities (meeting friends; spending quality family time)
  • Have a healthy, moderate diet
  • Keep physically active with exercise

Interestingly enough, physicians from the old school of Salerno, one of the oldest Universities in Europe, mentioned these same points as crucial for general well-being. “Si tibi deficiant medici, medici tibi fiant; Haec tria – mens hilaris, requies, moderata diaeta.”

Our Therapists Specialised in Burnout Syndrome

All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as BACP, UKCP and BABCP.

Our therapists use CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia) to help address the underlying causes of your sleep problems and offer practical tools to improve the quality of sleep and your overall quality of life.

Get professional help and Sleep Therapy in London or Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with an expert therapist to see if our help would fit your needs.

Dr. Raffaello Antonino

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Sheetal Dandgey

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Amy Smith

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Anna Hovris

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Samantha Harris

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Karin Kihlberg

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Bertha Rogers

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Alana Whitlock

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Yasmeen Jaina

Counselling Psychologist

Panos Vythoulkas

Senior Clinical Psychologist

Tatum Aspeling

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Gail Freedman

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Caroline Tovey

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Andrew Aboud

Counselling Psychologist

Marisa Poggioli

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Lynelle Roberts

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Josephine Swede

Counselling Psychologist

Rebecca Leakey

Psychotherapist

Dr Sara Chaudhrey

Counselling Psychologist

Ben Dustin

Psychotherapist

Dr Sidra Chaudhry

Counselling Psychologist

Mary O'Byrne

Psychotherapist & Supervisor

Maryam Keshavarz

Psychotherapist

Yifat Hollander

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Moyosore Adofo

Counselling Psychologist

Stacie Hill

CBT Psychotherapist

Dr Margot Brink

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Joanne Warren

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Joseph Poullis

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Lydia Garmon-Jones

Clinical Psychologist

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The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.

He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.

I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.

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My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.

The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.

Thank you to all at Therapy Central.

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The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.

She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!

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Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.

The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue. 

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Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.

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All of our therapists are registered with several insurance providers, such as AXA PPP, Simplyhealth, Aviva, Cigna (UK/US), Vitality and WPA. If you wish to use your personal or employee private healthcare insurance to cover your sessions, please highlight this in your contact form below.

Burnout Therapy in London & Online

If you are looking for burnout syndrome treatment in Central London or Online, here at Therapy Central, we can help you identify the causes of your occupational stress and help you get back to the way you normally functioned. Burnout can potentially affect all aspects of your life, and it’s likely not something you can completely solve on your own. 

We live in a modern world where excessive work pressure has unfortunately become an everyday thing. Despite this, we tend not to talk about it, sometimes out of fear that our friends will think that all we do is complain, other times because we suppress our own thoughts and emotions. Nonetheless, starting to talk about your problems with a trained professional may be what you need to tackle burnout and bring back fulfilment to your life.

Get professional help and burnout treatment in London & Online today.

Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with a sleep therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at info@therapy-central.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.

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    What happens after I make an enquiry?

    After receiving your enquiry, we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner, and, depending on availability, we’ll try to accommodate this.

    What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?

    Your first session will likely be different from future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement. Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods, and treatment approaches.

    Is online therapy effective?

    If you choose online over in-person therapy, rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases, even more effective. Also, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example, avoiding long waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments, and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.

    How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?

    Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions, we can allow some flexibility. You can discuss this with your therapist.

    Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?

    We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed, students and NHS workers. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.

    Do you have a cancellation policy?

    We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However, you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.

    Our Practice in Central London

    Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!

    References:

    [1] Almén, N. (2021). A Cognitive Behavioral Model Proposing That Clinical Burnout May Maintain Itself. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(7), 3446.

    [2] Xu, H. G., Kynoch, K., Tuckett, A., & Eley, R. (2020). Effectiveness of interventions to reduce emergency department staff occupational stress and/or burnout: a systematic review. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 18(6), 1156-1188.

    [3] Barrett, K, Stewart, I. A preliminary comparison of the efficacy of online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) stress management interventions for social and healthcare workers. Health Soc Care Community. 2021; 29: 113– 126. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13074

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