Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science




Dr. Thomas Colletti


Purpose: The purpose of this literature review article is to review the potential efficacy of treatment for burnout of employees during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) workforce strategies.

Method: This article is a PubMed literature review about burnout and the organizational use of CBT in the workforce. It encompasses an inductive rationale using broad generalizations from specific literature observations. This article is limited to burnout and mental health in the workplace and only reviews literature published within the past five years.

Results: The literature almost solely focused on stress and post-traumatic stress in relation to acute traumatic events and CBT in the workplace. Burnout was typically discussed in relation to workplace settings with persistent stress resulting from a wide range of factors but there was no current literature on CBT being used to treat burnout. Stress and burnout have become more prevalent throughout the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and practical application of CBT in other large public crisis would suggest it’s workplace application in the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic as a logical starting point for intervention by organizations.

Conclusion: During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Americans have experienced increased significant emotional upheaval with anxiety, depression, trauma-related symptoms, increased use of substances, and even suicidal ideation. Due to many people being far more vulnerable to stress during the current pandemic, an evidenced based workforce solution to recognize and treat stress and burnout is needed and should be scalable to the degree of need. CBT in particular has proven effective in treating stress on a larger scale for post disaster distress victims. This literature review revealed the current body of knowledge on burnout as a unique syndrome is small. While CBT applied at an organizational level in the workplace has been shown to be effective in treating PTSD and stress, there was no current literature found on its use in treating burnout in the workforce. Because of the success of CBT in treating stress, which is a major component of burnout, more research is needed to explore the potential effectiveness of CBT in treating burnout in the workforce. By changing negative thinking and behavior patterns that cause unhealthy, unproductive, or incapacitating behavior, CBT based programs, training, and general occupational medicine education may be effective multi-disciplined skills-based strategies during the pandemic in reducing stress and burnout when broadly applied to the workforce.


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