Psychotherapy for Stress & Burnout
Stress is part of life and coping with a certain amount can be desirable, challenging us to stretch ourselves, physically and mentally but when stress becomes excessive and too much to deal with it can overwhelm and damage our resilience. Psychotherapy for stress can help you to explore the causes of your stress, including those created by difficulties in your personal life, family relationships, work situation or from past experiences that continue to disturb and limit your life.
What is Stress: What do we mean when we say we are feeling stressed?
At the most basic level, stress can be understood as your mind’s and body’s response to pressures from something that is experienced as threatening. What contributes to stress can vary hugely from person to person. What you might view as a ‘stressful’ situation for example having to give a presentation to an audience, another might consider challenging or even fun, however there are some common experiences that can make us feel stressed including new or unexpected situations, something that threatens our confidence or sense of self, or feeling that we have little control over a situation.
The difference between healthy and excessive stress
Sometimes, this stress response can be an appropriate or even beneficial reaction. The resulting feeling of ‘pressure’ can help us to push through situations like the example of giving a presentation that can be nerve-wracking or intense but once the situation is over we can quickly recover without any lasting effects.
However, other situations, perhaps a work issue or feeling that you don’t have enough time to manage your personal, family and work commitments may persist over time and the stress can become excessive and too much to deal with. Rather than helping us push through, this pressure can make us feel overwhelmed or unable to cope.
What are Common signs of too much stress?
When stress or stressful feelings are sustained and carried too long our minds and sometimes our bodies start to show the strain.
- Irritability, anxiety and mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed and wound up
- Feeling tired but not able to relax
- Lack of interest and pleasure in life
- Loss of concentration
- Disrupted sleep or insomnia
- Nausea and indigestion
- Loss of sexual drive
You may find that you have developed coping mechanisms to get you through the worst of times and some of these might be:
- Using alcohol or drugs to relax you
- Using food as a form of comfort
- Gambling or spending money to distract you
These in themselves can cause further problems and add to your stress.
Do I need help with my stress levels?
The key to managing your feelings of stress or feeling overwhelmed by stress, through psychotherapy, is in tackling the underlying causes of the stress and developing ways of handling those situations or emotions more effectively, which would ultimately promote psychologically healthier patterns of living.
Working life in the City and coping with Burnout
Stress at work is something we all experience to some extent, and can be a positive when it helps us stay motivated and get things done. However, too much stress is harmful to our health, putting us under both physical and emotional strain and leading to sickness and depression.
Stress and burnout are fast becoming recognised as ‘the modern disease’.
Many people find that they are most affected by the stress of escalating work pressures. Stress at work can be helpful when it sharpens your responses and challenges you to achieve your goals .However, too much stress can be harmful to your health, putting you under physical and emotional strain that may eventually result in feeling burnt out.
What is Burnout
The term originates from the image of a burnt out building, where all that is left is a shell that is no longer functioning effectively. High pressure and long hours in a demanding role for a long time. You may also experience burnout when you feel disillusioned at having failed to reach your goals.
If you are suffering from burnout, you may feel increasingly empty as your energy has disappeared along with your interest and motivation, with nothing more to give. This feeling does not usually happen overnight but is a slow gradual process that gets increasingly worse, often affecting the most successful, and most driven and committed people.
If you are a high-achiever or perfectionist and you constantly find yourself in a position where you are taking responsibility for everything and everyone you may be particularly prone to burning out, however, anyone can suffer from burnout.
Are you experiencing burnout? Common signs are:
- You feel detached and there
- You experience sense of failure and self-doubt
- You may suffer from physical symptoms like headaches, body aches or decreased immunity resulting in illness
Psychotherapy for stress & burnout
Ignoring the symptoms of stress and burnout, in the hope that you can ‘push through it’ and make it go away, will only cause you further harm down the line, so it’s important that you recognise what is happening and begin to address it as soon as you can.
Asking for help is not a weakness. No-one is immune from feeling overwhelmed. It shows maturity to know your limitations and it takes strength and courage to let others know what is going on for you.
Recovery from burnout is a gradual process with no quick fixes. You need time and space to explore why you have reached this point in your life and career.
In your psychotherapy session we work together to understand what may be the underlying reasons for you feeling overwhelmed by stress. Sometimes there are practical changes to identify; for example some unhelpful coping strategies serve to intensify stress but sometimes we might also need to explore those aspects of your personality that have pushed you into the stressful situation in the first place.
Some helpful information about dealing with stress & burnout
Help Guide have written a very helpful article on Stress symptoms, signs and causes
An interesting article on Workplace Burnout
Video: How Stress affects your body
This TED talk given by Sharon Horesh Bergquist explains how stress affects the body
Considering starting therapy can be a difficult step to take but finding someone who is able to understand can feel like a relief.
I offer a confidential, safe and highly professional relationship in a caring and containing environment where you can discuss whatever may be troubling you and clarify areas of difficulty without fear of judgment.
Get in touch
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the therapist so please call or email me to arrange an initial brief telephone conversation. We will then meet for a consultation during which we will explore how we may work together before making a longer term commitment to ongoing therapy.
Avenue Crescent, London W3 8EW
Chiswick and West London
Chiswick Therapy Rooms, 1A Belmont Road, Chiswick, London, W4 5UL
City Therapy Rooms, 33 Furnival Street
London EC4A 1JQ