oa South African Family Practice - Burning out and in again : open forum

Volume 47, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



This paper is the third in a series on burnout. It is partly taken from notes collected from facilitating workshops on burnout in doctors. It is written as a polemic to challenge the received wisdom on this complex subject. The author posits that burnout is akin to Carl Jung's "dark night of the soul" when the caregiver's disillusion threatens his or her trust in mankind itself. It manifests itself in ways that are unique to each caregiver and these are often secretly held within. There is no specific "treatment" of the condition in the medical sense but it involves a reappraisal of one's own aspirations, ambitions, expectations and capabilities and also those of one's immediate society. It involves a journey into knowing oneself.

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