Written by Kayla Duncan, MT-BC
Burnout is a significant risk in professions demanding high emotional and mental energy, including music therapy. While our passion drives us to help others with open hearts and minds, it can also expose us to stress and frustration, setting the stage for burnout.
The World Health Organization defines burnout as a result of unmanaged chronic workplace stress. It comprises three aspects: occupational exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). Occupational exhaustion manifests as overwhelming mental and physical fatigue. Depersonalization leads to detachment from work, potentially causing a loss of empathy. Reduced personal accomplishment results from inadequate resources and support (Valcour, 2021).
Maslach & Leiter (2016) identify six domains contributing to burnout:
1. Increased Workload: Too much work without adequate recovery.
2. Lack of Control: Feeling powerless in decision-making.
3. Insufficient Reward: Lack of recognition and rewards.
4. Limited Sense of Community: Isolation at work.
5. Inequality: Unfair treatment.
6. Misaligned Values: Conflict between personal and professional values.
Recognizing burnout symptoms is crucial. Fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, mood swings, and vulnerability to illness are common signs. If left unaddressed, burnout can worsen and spread.
To combat burnout, the Mayo Clinic suggests:
In conclusion, as music therapists, we must be mindful of the risk of burnout and take proactive steps to maintain our well-being. Recognizing the signs and seeking support can help us continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our clients while safeguarding our own mental
and emotional health.
Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2016). Understanding the burnout experience: Recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World Psychiatry, 15(2), 103–111. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20311
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, June 5). Know the signs of Job Burnout. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642
Valcour, M. (2021, August 27). 4 steps to beating Burnout. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from https://hbr.org/2016/11/beating-burnout
World Health Organization. (n.d.). Burn-out an "Occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases. World Health Organization. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-of-diseases
Hello, AMTAS! My name is Tess Vreeland, and I’m your secretary for the 2023 year. The purpose of this blog is to provide updates on AMTA regions, provide informative tools and information for furthering music therapy student careers, and promote collaboration among music therapy students across America. If you have any questions or any proposals regarding the blog, feel free to email me!
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