In this blog, we will discuss depression in psychologists, what does the research says about this, issues faced by psychologists, and how psychologists suffer from mental health issues, and also answer frequently asked questions.
Do psychologists also have depression?
Yes, psychologists are also human beings who have their own day-to-day physical and mental health struggles. Psychologists also have depression and battle through their mental health conditions.
Let us understand it in-depth in the further sections.
The mental health of Psychologists
We have often encouraged people to seek the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist if they are facing any mental health-related problem. A psychologist is someone who provides you with therapy to treat disorders such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, etc.
We often tend to view psychologists as these perfect people who have their life sorted. We assume that they will never face any mental health problem like us, and even if they do, they will be quick to solve it. But thinking so is like saying that a doctor will never fall ill or a cardiologist can never get a heart attack.
Psychologists are also people like us who beyond their professional life also have a personal life. Although we don’t tend to know much about it, they can also face problems like stress, depression, anxiety, etc.
Let us know more about this in the blog
What does the research say about the mental health of mental health professionals?
The research was conducted by Stacie Tay, Kat Alcock, Katrina Scior on the ‘Mental health problems among clinical psychologists: Stigma and its impact on disclosure and help-seeking.
The objective of the study is to determine the prevalence of personal experiences with mental health disorders among clinical psychologists, as well as external, perceived, self-stigma, and stigma-related concerns about disclosure and getting help.
The Social Distance Scale, Stig-9, Military Stigma Scale, Secrecy Scale, Attitudes towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale-Short Form, as well as personal experience and socio-demographic questions, were used to collect responses from 678 UK-based clinical psychologists via an anonymous web survey.
It was found that two-thirds of the respondents have dealt with mental health issues. Perceived mental health stigma was more than external and self-stigma.
Participants were more likely to reveal themselves in their social groups than in their professional circles. Fears of negative implications for one’s self and career, as well as humiliation, kept some people from disclosing and seeking treatment.
Clinical psychologists’ personal encounters with mental health issues are more common than we expect them to be. Hurdles to disclosure and seeking help, stigma, fears about negative effects of disclosure, and humiliation sometimes prevents them from reaching out for help.
Problems faced by Mental Health Professionals
Psychology is becoming a lucrative field that attracts thousands of people every year. While there are many benefits associated with being a mental health professional, like the salary and respect you receive, there are also certain downsides to the profession.
Psychoften often confronts several challenges that are not part of their work description. Psychologists are required to not only monitor and teach clients new thinking patterns and behaviors but also to be very adaptable and eager to adjust their services to match the specific needs of their clients.
The healthcare system and the types of people that require treatment are constantly changing. The tasks that come with the profile can at times be very challenging. It can lead to a variety of problems like :
- Compassion fatigue
Being compassionate and empathetic is an essential skill of being a psychologist. However, sometimes listening to the clients’ problems and empathizing with them can cause emotional distress for the therapist.
This is called compassion fatigue. It is a type of secondary stress where the psychologist feels he/she has nothing left to offer. While handling the client’s stress, trauma, anxiety the psychologist can feel ‘emotional overload and ‘burnout’. He or she may also feel numb and anxious.
- Professional Isolation
According to the Society for Psychotherapy, clinical psychologists confront a variety of obstacles, including professional isolation. Those who work in private practice may not have the opportunity to speak with other professionals during their regular working hours.
Professional isolation can lead to irritation and a sense of being out of touch with current events, especially if psychologists don’t seek out opportunities to discuss cases in peer supervision or attend professional conferences.
- Practice Requirements
Apart from treating patients, psychologists encounter a variety of issues, one of which is mental stress related to the commercial side of their professions. Patient scheduling, billing, insurance and managed care demands, decreased revenue, and paying rent on office space are just a few of the business-related pressures clinical psychologists face.
Some psychologists may be swamped with clients but not have enough time and space to offer them and therefore have to refer them to other psychologists. While others may struggle with acquiring referrals and dealing with low caseloads, depending on their field of practice and region.
- Maintaining work-life balance
Clinical psychologists have personal lives outside of their work. They, like everyone else, suffer from personal challenges such as grief, relationship troubles, and stress.
Emotional stress encountered by clinical psychologists when personal difficulties and professional practice collide is another challenge they face. For example, if you’ve recently lost someone then you cannot let that incident affect you while providing therapy to a client with grief going through the same loss as you.
The Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association
It states that psychologists should not practice if they believe their personal difficulties would interfere with their professional duty. In such instances, obtaining professional supervision and consultation and therapy might assist psychologists in determining whether to reduce or cease treatment temporarily.
Depression in Psychologists
According to a recent survey conducted by the British Psychological Society, 46% of psychologists and psychotherapists suffer from depression, and 49.5 percent believe they are failures.
In a crucial workforce responsible for enhancing public mental health, the general picture is one of burnout, low morale, high levels of stress (70 percent), and depression.
Because American psychologists handle the same general public with the same mental illnesses, it’s not surprising that depression and feelings of failure are common. According to the most recent large American poll, published in 1994, 61% of psychologists are clinically depressed, with 29% having suicidal ideation.
Feeling of failure can lead to depression because it causes low life and work satisfaction. It affects the way we think and feels about ourselves. high levels of stress and burnout, on the other hand, maybe linked to a lack of proper mental health financing in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
It’s much easier to blame the patient for not being ready for change than it is to blame oneself for failing to better the lives of clients. However, if you are a responsible therapist you are likely to blame yourself for not being able to improve the client’s life.
The depressed therapist can become a victim to such instances as someone who has willingly chosen a noble but low-paying profession. But, rather than blaming the therapist for therapeutic failures, it may be time to take a step back and consider why, over the last 50 years.
Therapeutic protocols have failed to prevent and treat mental problems while continual advancements have been made in a variety of physical conditions.
We’re trapped with the so-called “evidence-based” protocols for the time being. According to a 2012 meta-study conducted for the Department of Health and Human Resources, failure rates for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the most widely used evidence-based therapy, ranging from 13 to 36 percent for treating depression, 31 to 36 percent for treating anger and aggression, and 54 percent for treating anxiety.
Because only those with higher response rates were likely to be published, the failure percentages were much higher.
The problem also lies in the fact that the causes of depression are not well known. According to Freud, depression was the result of repressed anger. CBT, on the other hand, views the causes of depression as its symptoms.
Even more concerning than the lack of a plausible explanation is the institutionalization of our evidence-based processes, in which insurance companies, colleges, and government research institutes are all on the same page, refusing to evaluate research papers for possible alternatives.
Even worse, prior to licensure, psychologists are not required to receive psychotherapy while in training. As a result, therapists are adamantly dependent on training manuals, have predetermined views, and are unable to connect with their clients.
However, the main issue is that we are currently trapped in an outmoded, unproductive, and rigid therapeutic environment that benefits the mental health sector at the expense of practitioners and the general public.
It is important that we acknowledge that the problem of depression and clinical psychologists’ feelings of failure does not bode well for improving community mental health, despite all the hype about expanding access to mental health services.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Do psychologists also have depression?
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
Depression is a complicated disorder that affects numerous body systems, including the immune system, either as a cause or as an effect. It interferes with sleep and appetite, causing weight reduction in certain situations and contributing to weight gain in others. Anxiety is frequently associated with depression. According to research, the two illnesses not only co-occur, but their vulnerability patterns overlap.
What are the causes of depression?
Depression is caused by a variety of factors. Rather, a mix of genetic, physiological, environmental, and psychological factors are most likely to be responsible. A depressive episode can be triggered by major unpleasant experiences such as trauma, the loss of a loved one, a challenging relationship, or any stressful scenario that overwhelms one’s ability to cope. Depressive episodes may follow, either with or without an obvious trigger.
How is depression treated?
An assessment by a physician is the first step in getting the right treatment for depression. Depression can be treated in a variety of ways once it has been diagnosed. Medication and psychotherapy are the most popular therapies. Many studies suggest that cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, either alone or in combination with medication therapy, is extremely successful.
Psychotherapy tackles the thought patterns that lead to depression, and studies demonstrate that it reduces the likelihood of recurrence. Drug therapy can help people with symptoms like severe anxiety so they can participate in effective psychotherapy.
How does depression affect your health?
A cardiac arrest is three times more likely in people who suffer from depression. Depression, in fact, affects the entire body. It lowers the immune system, making people more susceptible to viral infections and, in the long run, cancer. This is why early treatment is advisable. It also disrupts sleep, contributing to feelings of drowsiness, exacerbating problems with attention and concentration, and putting one’s health at risk.
What are the types of depression?
Bipolar disorder, which is characterized by times of depression interspersed with moments of high-energy mania, also has depressive episodes.
The so-called baby blues are a set of mood swings or crying spells that can occur in the days or weeks following a baby’s delivery. If this feeling is prolonged, it can lead to postpartum depression.
Depression can also be seasonal, especially during the winter months when sunlight is scarce. This is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Is it depressing to work as a psychologist?
For a variety of reasons, working as a therapist can be disheartening. After months or years of treatment, the persistent work to build trust, nurture a relationship, and set goals for your patients only to watch them struggle might make you feel bad.