Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type

Capstone

Department

Counselor Education

First Advisor

Tom Hernandez

First Reader

Tom Hernandez

Second Reader

Pat Goodspeed

Abstract

This is a phenomenological study of mental health professionals working in the high stress environment of a community mental health agency. Individual interviews were conducted to explore what attitudes and behaviors allow or inhibit wellness both at work and outside work. The existence of burnout was considered a given. Themes including initial attraction to the work, holistic balance, productivity requirements, and colleagueship emerged. While the establishment of boundaries was paramount to wellness, results indicated that there was a flow between home and work personas. Data showed that the personal characteristics of onsite leaders and staff were the primary factor that created a supportive environment. Participants agreed that colleagueship was the essential element that allowed a modicum of acceptance of the productivity demands to coexist with the inherently intense frustration. The generalizability of the success of this site was found to be uncertain due to data that indicated that personal characteristics of individuals are the key to achieving a well workplace within the clinic’s chosen theoretical model of team leadership.

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