Evidence-Based Practice as a Potential Solution to Burnout in University Counseling Center Clinicians

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of changes in perceptions about patient volume and severity of clinical presentations in university counseling centers (UCCS) on burnout. It was hypothesized that perceptions of increased workload and severity of conditions treated would be positively correlated with burnout. It was also hypothesized that self-reported use of evidence-based practice (EBP) would be negatively correlated burnout. Counseling center clinicians (n = 80) completed the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI), the Evidence-Based Practice Attitudes Scale (EPBAS), and reported on factors that have been shown to impact burnout. In this sample, the following percent of respondents were at or above a level indicating potential burnout on each scale: Personal 19%, Work 15.2%, and Client 2.5%. Years of work was correlated with Client Burnout (r = .25, p < .05). Perceived increases in severity were correlated with each CBI Scale: Personal (r = .33, p < .001), Work (r = .32, p < .001), and (Client r = .33, p < .001). Self-reported use of evidence-based practice was negatively correlated with Client burnout (r = −.30, p < .001). The EBPAS Divergence Scale, which measures perception that one’s usual practice is different than research based practices, was also correlated with burnout (r = .27, p < .05) and Divergence was negatively correlated with self-reported use of EBP (r = −.25, p < .05). Respondents were also asked if they treat PTSD and obsessive–compulsive disorder and which therapies they use for these diagnoses. Findings suggest that dissemination and implementation of EBPS may be beneficial for UCCS.

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