Counselling can treat GP burnout

One day of counselling can effectively treat burnout among doctors, a study from Norway suggests.

Researchers assessed 185 doctors who attended a self-referral programme designed to prevent burnout and improve quality of life, either for one day or a week.

When followed up a year after the course, emotional exhaustion among the doctors was reduced to levels found among other doctors in Norway. Both the one-day and one-week course showed similar effectiveness.

Doctors who took part in the programme had also reduced their weekly working by 1.6 hours. This suggests, the researchers argue, that the invention improved doctors’ effectiveness at work.

‘Our findings indicate that seeking a counselling intervention could be conducive to reduction of burnout among doctors,’ the researchers say.

‘Considering doctors’ reluctance to seek help, despite high levels of distress, it is important to offer interventions that facilitate access and that can enhance motivation to reconsider personal and professional priorities when necessary.’

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

BMJ Online First

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