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Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Maintaining Realistic Expectations and Beliefs [2.10.2f 19]

National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA)

The following is an excerpt from Stress and Burnout: A Prevention Handbook for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce, by Natalie Skinner and Anne Roach from National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University: Adelaide, Australia. The full Stress and Burnout handbook can be found Here or through a search request Here.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy often focuses on the appropriateness of an individual’s thoughts, beliefs, and expectations; and the development of strategies to combat irrational or unrealistic perceptions. Professionals in health and human services work are not immune to these types of beliefs. Listed below are ten common irrational beliefs that workers in the health sector may hold. It may be useful to review these beliefs as a “reality check” on your perceptions about your work.
Common irrational beliefs in the health and human services sector are:[1] 
  1. It is an absolute necessity for me to be loved or appreciated by every client.
  2. I must always be in the “good books” with my supervisor.
  3. I must be thoroughly competent and successful in doing my job to be considered worthwhile.
  4. Anyone who disagrees with my ideas and methods is bad, wicked, or ignorant; and therefore becomes an opponent to be scorned, rejected or blamed.
  5. It is reasonable for me to become very upset over clients’ problems and circumstances.
  6. It is catastrophic when things are not as clients and the organization would like them to be.
  7. Unhappiness is caused by clients or the organization, and I have no control over my feelings.
  8. Until clients and the organization straighten themselves out and do what is right, I have no responsibility to do what is right myself.
  9. There is a correct, precise, and perfect solution to human problems and it is catastrophic if that solution is not found.
  10. Dangerous things can happen to clients which are a cause for great concern and should be continuously dwelled upon.

[1] Edelwich, J., & Brodsky, A. (1980). Burnout. New York: Human Sciences.

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