What is it about?

Psychotherapeutic work is very emotionally demanding and therapists experience a number of negative outcomes affecting their mental health, the quality of the services they provide, and their clinical effectiveness. In this study we examined a number of personal, professional and psychological factors that might affect their resilience to the stressors they face. For the first time we included positive psychological variables such as positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievements. We found that therapists who experienced more meaning in their lives were more satisfied with their work and had fewer symptoms of burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Also, therapists who experienced more positive emotions and were satisfied with their relationships experienced less burnout symptoms.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that the positive psychology variables of meaning, positive emotions, and positive interpersonal relationships play an important role in therapists' resilience, possibly protecting them from burnout and secondary traumatic stress, as well as promoting the satisfaction they derive from their work.


As a therapist I experience a lot of professional stress. I was very interested to know what might protect us therapists from burnout and secondary stress and sustain our professional satisfaction. I wanted to know if well-being variables might influence these factors and it makes a lot of sense that meaning, positive emotions and relationships are important.

Dr. Agathi Lakioti
New York College

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This page is a summary of: The role of personal, professional, and psychological factors in therapists’ resilience., Professional Psychology Research and Practice, December 2020, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/pro0000306.
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