3. August 2017

Difficulties in the workplace and health problems

Starting position
Ms. A. is married and, like her husband, goes out to work. The couple has two preschool age children. Six months ago she returned to work after maternity leave. However, she underestimated the double burden and soon felt overwhelmed by the different demands. Feelings of guilt towards her employer, children, partner and the circle of friends began to plague her.

Request to Proitera
Ms. A. expected us to help her escape the exhaustion and meet all her demands in the future.

Intervention of Proitera
In the initial conversation, she described herself as burnt out and without energy. She had sleep problems. On the scale of 0-100%, her energy was only 25%.  A period of sick leave because of exhaustion is out of question and a pension reduction is not possible for financial reasons. At the beginning, we considered a medical consultation to be necessary in order to assess the ability to work and to ensure performance and concentration in the workplace. Ms. A. agreed and said she did not have a balanced diet as a result of stress. After the medical aspects, a discussion of the different challenges and obligations followed. Ms. A. said: “I always want too much and overburden myself!” She noticed that this very insight had a relieving effect. She said she felt good in the pleasant atmosphere that also facilitated the open and honest conversation with us. She found that she missed such conversations with her husband. She would like to tell him that she felt overloaded and would like to reduce her work. She realised that she felt like a failure. She promised that she would remain 80% employed even with thw second child. Through “Focusing”, an intervention according to Gendlin, she was able to pinpoint her anxiety and develop the courage to admit she had over-estimated herself. Asking her mother for help with childcare and talking to her husband and supervisor suddenly seemed feasible and the best solution.  A budget management in the follow-up talk helped her to better assess the financial situation and to reduce existential fears. In the final discussion, the medical assessment and the discussions with the husband were tackled and a general overview was analysed. This was very positive.

Result
The talks relieved and helped Ms. A. reflect more objectively on her situation and behaviour, she said. Pinpointing the overload and being able to face it was a huge step forward for her. The conversation with the supervisor was, contrary to her fear, understanding and benevolent. “I am lucky,” she said brightly. “I'm expected to get a 40% job! And if that does not work, I know I can stay at home for a while.” By mail, she later told her consultant: “It was posible to have a 40% position in the organisation!” Ms. A. managed to reconcile all requirements without absenteeism. The company has an experienced, valued employee.

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