Burnout is a psychological term and not a recognised mental illness in the DSM5. Even though it is the most common cause of sick-leave, there does not seem to be a fast, effective method to treat it in all three problem areas of body, mind and emotional state. Employees who develop symptoms of exhaustion are often given coaching support. But coaching usually has its limitations when it comes to addressing all three areas. Coaching is helpful but we think therapy is where the emphasize should be on.

The difference between coaching and therapy is that coaching predominantly projects into the future, focusing on goals and the steps you need to take to reach those goals, while therapy focuses on the past, what got me into this empasse in the first place. Also, coaching doesn’t explore emotional problems but stays more on the surface. And coaching does not address the psychosomatic aspect of a burnout, where emotional distress or mental over-extension is expressed in physical symptoms that have no organic cause but are still very real and debilitating to the patient. The opportunity to stave off a burnout can be lost if the employee in the danger zone is only supported in a limited way, often leaving out two of the three areas of disbalance and distress. This limited approach is presumed to be one of the causes of the steady increase in burnout cases.

When employees eventually burnout completely and enter our health care system, they are confronted with the fact that we live in a society where people increasingly specialize in ever more narrow areas of expertise, which can result in a one-size-fits-all approach. Our trainer experienced this personally. He had a burnout and visited several specialists who could not find an answer to his diverse symptoms, an integrative therapist finally did and was able to help.

This is our motivation behind setting up burnout prevention and recovery retreats. We want to offer burnout cases something more effective than the standard fare and something more holistic. Empower Ability, as part of Healthy Choices, has chosen to focus on the specific issue of burnout, and then draws upon as many different sources of knowledge, insight and therapeutic interventions as possible to treat this issue, however it manifests.

Empower Ability draws from decades of experience from a private therapy practice and a training-consultancy firm, which has  helped many clients with chronic stress or burnout.  We have seen that clients suffer simultaneously on all these three levels: physical, emotional and mental. This creates a downward spiral that cannot be arrested by treating only one of these levels.

We decided to combine our abilities to give psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, coaching, movement therapy, training and coaching  all in  one comprehensive course which also uses the power of group settings and group therapy sessions. Our course  offers all that is needed for a Burnout Prevention and Recovery Programme that can work on all three of the affected areas; body, mind and emotions. Add to this a retreat setting in the serenity of nature, daily walks outdoors, healthy menus, wellness facilities and the relief of being away from daily routines in a retreat setting, and we have a healing recipe that can take months off the average rehabilitation process. This can not only saves tens of thousands of euros per employee (the costs being about € 10.000 per month according to recent TNO research), but also a lot of unnecessary suffering