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Title: Staff burnout : an exploration of individual and systemic factors
Author: Towey-Swift, K.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Burnout has been associated with negative outcomes for both mental health service staff and service-users. However, despite being a well-established phenomenon, the literature surrounding burnout in mental health services is somewhat limited compared to the extensive attention burnout has received in other fields. Morse, Salyers, Rollins, MonroeDeVita, and Pfahler (2012) reflect the irony that the mental health field has focused little attention to its own workers. Indeed, there has been a call to "redouble efforts within this sector of healthcare to better understand and address the high levels of distress among those providing mental health services" (Paris & Hodge, 2010:526). By increasing the understanding of the prevalence, cause, and effect of burnout within mental health services, it is hoped to better inform possible interventions to reduce distress. It is notable the British Psychological Society (BPS) and New Savoy Partnership have brought to the fore the importance of psychological wellbeing of the psychological therapy workforce. The joint 'Charter for Psychological Staff Wellbeing and Resilience', appeals for: greater support of staff wellbeing, requiring clinical leaders who value the dedication of staff and support staff wellbeing (BPS, 2016). The role of the clinical psychologist has expanded beyond individual client work. Clinical psychology competencies (BPS, 2006) specifically identify the use of broad-based knowledge to: assess, formulate and intervene, both with individuals and within service systems. Furthermore, the HCPC Standards of Proficiency (2015) outline the role of psychologists in intervening psychologically in service systems. Thus the impetus to bring psychological skills and knowledge to service systems is unambiguous. Within the NHS, team-working is central to the role of clinical psychologists and is reflected in the New Ways of Working: Working Psychologically in Teams (BPS, 2007). This guidance specifically identifies leadership and team-working roles for clinical psychologists. Furthermore, it highlights that local team development interventions and process should include how teams will remain healthy and functioning. It is argued that systems and organisational interventions must augment individually focused interventions to address burnout (Paris & Hodge, 2010; Public Health England, 2016). Arguably, clinical psychologists have the skills and competencies to meet both of these challenges when working within teams in mental health services. The two papers within this thesis attempt to address the supposition by Paris and Hodge (2010) and Public Health England (2016) that further research exploring staff burnout in mental health services is required and that this should focus on both systemic and individual factors. The first of the chapters aimed to address the potential benefit of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as an individually-focused intervention for burnout; while the second chapter presents a study which aimed to address developing a better understanding of the systemic level factors that contribute to burnout and the potential effects of burnout on service-users.
Supervisor: Whittington, R. ; Golding, L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral