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Palo Alto School Representative

Center for training, intervention and research

Strategic systemic approach and hypnosis

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      Preventing burnout by Teresa Garcia

      Burnout is part of a specific depression problem linked to addiction.

      When I work on burnout, I generally do it with Doctor Sylvie Mas and we approach the problem from both a physical and psychological angle for maximum efficiency.

      By way of illustration, I will tell you about a 59-year-old woman, European director of a pharmaceutical group with 23 years of seniority. She no longer slept, worked from morning to evening as well as on weekends, without quality production. She went to work with fear in her stomach. After suddenly leaving her company, she had even tried 3 different jobs but she couldn't hold out for a week. A year later, she entered the hospital to begin cancer treatment. And she was convinced that this cancer was the consequence of the burnout she was going through.

      Some ideas

      "When work makes you sick" is a book that inspired me the following thoughts:

      • the person thus consumed is not yet conscious of having entered the disease,
      •  she redoubles her efforts and settles into a situation where the more she is demotivated, the more she works and the more she works, the less she succeeds.
      • There is a real paradox between demotivation and tenfold work that leads to exhaustion.

      Burnout is the culmination of an attempt at bio-psycho-social adaptation with a complete skid.

      It must lead to learning the plasticity of the brain and to therapeutic adaptation, with a coaching aspect, to the personal, family or professional context of the person.

      The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality: “it was vitality that seemed to escape me”.

      In burnout, we see a constrained activity of someone who, like a little rat, will pedal in a cage saying to himself "if I pedal, it will stop". There is no goal, no end, but this need to continue pedaling at all costs because "it will stop".

      Burnout is a destructuring of the person.

      The curve set up by the doctor with which again, I worked a lot shows the different stages of the process; it starts with stress, then depression and finally burnout.

      The process (Mas curve)

       After the stress phase, a drop in capacity is observed which constitutes an alert. This alert is followed by a rebound "all of a sudden, things are better; the person enters a kind of dangerous resistance whose average duration has been statistically evaluated at 2 years in 80% of cases. This is a period during which the risk of suicide is highest.The next phase is sadness, then there is a relapse, a phase of exhaustion from which burnout develops.

      Another very important aspect is anxiety; it is the anxious aspect that will make the difference between depression in the sense of lack of vitality and the activism of burnout.

      A person faced with this situation may say that it is too painful to stay alive. She does this so as not to hurt other people. Note that 19 out of 20 people fail in their suicide attempt but that in a second attempt, there is 37 times more chance of success.

      That is to say that the alerts are not so much alerts as that

      Interpersonal difficulties and how they manifest themselves in depressed people

      The interactions are hostile. A mother, for example, will develop a hostile interaction with her children because she has to take care of them when she does not have the energy to do so. Same phenomenon in the professional sphere between a manager and his collaborators.

      There can be a mixture of hostility and being "fed up with people taking care of me".

      It can also be the perception that the world is ok, I am not; in this case, the person will take it upon himself to resolve the situation "it's up to me to resolve the situation in which I find myself".

      Emotionally, there is renunciation and despair: "I no longer believe in it but I have to move on".

      In depression, there is no action (loss of vitality), in burnout, there is activism with the state of mind "I'm working, but what's the point?".

      The relationship is made as if the others were better than either. "There's something wrong with me."

      Perception of those around you: "You are not well, we have to help you, we protect you but you annoy us and we want to run away from you"

      Emotion: help impulse

      Action: exhortation to do something, in the sense of "change, stop doing too much"

      The entourage acts as if the person was not reasonable: "move on, change".

      What are the desired changes:

      Propose a new perception by emphasizing what makes the problem persist which is fueled by "more of the same"

      Example: telling someone who is depressed: “get moving” is ineffective, as is telling someone who is burnout “stop doing too much”.

      On the contrary, it is necessary to work on an antagonistic action to accompany an experimentation of new emotions, to tame the obstacles. "I have to prepare everything before the meeting, even if it means not sleeping" is an attempt at a solution that feeds the problem and gives rise to hostility.

      At the stage of sadness and dejection, the person, at the bottom of the hole, when he has physical problems and when he no longer knows how to manage his emotions, asks the doctor "can you give me some pick-me-ups" and I'm going to work like crazy for 6 months and get going. This moment of bifurcation is extremely dangerous: risk of heart attack, stroke, very high blood pressure. We are in what is called overcompensation. There may even be psychiatric hospitalization.

      Colleague or doctor must help the person adapt to the situation and move from the situation to the internal systemic process in which he finds himself. With the curve of Mas, patients can understand how they got there and see their trajectory themselves.

      The person must also be helped to understand the impact of communication on behavior and how to use it. We enter into a real apprenticeship, with new experiences: tasks, hypnosis, relaxation, new sensations. The more multi-sensory, the better. An example: "experience resting for 1 hour before finishing your report and you will see if you are more efficient in your work".

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      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action


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