Counselor Stamina - Osborn, C. J. (2004). Seven salutary...

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Osborn, C. J. (2004). Seven salutary suggestions for counselor stamina. Journal of Counseling & Development, 8 (3), 319-328. Abstract Counselor stamina is deemed essential in the midst of a consistently challenging, complex, and changing mental health care environment. Rather than perpetuating conversations about “burnout” and “burnout prevention,” this article provides a salutary or health-promoting perspective. Seven suggestions for counselor stamina are presented and discussed, based on a review of the literature and the author’s reflections on clinical practice today. Each suggestion corresponds to 1 of the 7 letters in the word stamina. Article Mental health and substance abuse practitioners today are besieged with numerous demands on their time, talents, and resources. Several authors have discussed these current challenges (Austad, Sherman, Morgan, & Holstein, 1992; Carpenter, 1999; Ivey, Scheffler, & Zazzali, 1998; Langeland, Johnson, & Mawhinney, 1998; Manderscheid, Henderson, Witkin, & Atay, 2000; Scheffler, Ivey, & Garrett, 1998), which include working within the restrictions of funding cuts, practicing mandated short-term counseling, and responding to the expectations of accountability and evidence-based outcomes. In addition, counselors are expected to remain current with increased and continuously changing certification and licensure standards, work collaboratively with an increasing array of professionals from varied disciplines in the mental health marketplace, and care for an increasing number of clients needing specialized care. These and other challenges have contributed to counselor burnout (Arvay & Uhlemann, 1996; Geurts, Schaufeli, & De Jonge, 1998; Linehan, Cochran, Mar, Levensky, & Comtois, 2000; Shoptaw, Stein, & Rawson, 2000) and high turnover rates (Baker & Baker, 1999; Ben-Dror, 1994), indications of stress, disillusionment, and low morale among practitioners (Cushway & Tyler, 1996; Gabel & Oster, 1998; Rohland, 2000; Thompson, 1998). In the context of challenging mental health service and substance abuse treatment, this article considers the concept of stamina for counselors. Stamina is often defined as endurance and refers to the strength to withstand (or remain standing), resist, or hold up under pressure or difficulty (Colerick, 1985; Thomas, 1982). A salient connotation of stamina is that of durability, and its etymology suggests a moving forward (Neufeldt & Guralnik, 1997). In this respect, stamina represents a salutary or nonpathological orientation and is selected as an alternative to the deficit or pathological perspective suggested by the terms burnout prevention and coping . Burnout has been defined as the process of physical and emotional depletion resulting from conditions at work (Farber, 1983; Shinn, Rosario, Mørch, & Chestnut, 1984) or, more concisely, prolonged job stress (Maslach & Schaufeli, 1993). Coping refers to strategies to reduce and manage stress and strain (Brown, 1993; Dewe, Cox, & Ferguson, 1993; Shinn et al., 1984). Both coping and
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Counselor Stamina - Osborn, C. J. (2004). Seven salutary...

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