Seroya Crouch, ND

The primary cause of practitioner burnout

It’s hard to not take on the issues of your patients once you get to know them. Finding the balance of being empathetic and clear headed is what Dr. Seroya Crouch argues doctors must do to avoid burnout.

The Interview

When you become a practitioner, it’s quite shocking at first sometimes — the stories that you hear from people. Especially if you had a relatively “normal” or sheltered life. There’s a possibility for practitioners to actually have secondary traumatic stress from just listening to the stories of their patients.

Many of us went into this field because we’re quite empathic, so we can be kind of like a sponge where we just absorb it all and then at the end of the day you’re kind of overwhelmed. I know a lot of practitioners who’ve burned out on practice, completely quit practice, and it’s just so painful for them. They just don’t have the tools to be able to manage it. There’s a way of being present with people that creates an exquisite sense of sensitivity and almost like a finely tuned listening ability — where you’re tuning into the other person as they’re talking or sharing, yet you’re not actually taking on their pain.

It’s very important for practitioners not to take on their patients’ pain. You’ve put so much effort and investment into your training that you have to have skills like this to be able to maintain longevity professionally — to be able to stay with it and come back every day and be able to be there for them.

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