Intensive OutPatient Therapy for Clergy Burnout: How Much Difference Can a Week Make?

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Journal of Religion and Health



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Clergy burnout, Clergy stress, Compulsive citizenship


© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. A pre-test and post-test quasi-experimental matched pairs design was used to assess the effectiveness of a week-long multi-therapist intensive outpatient intervention process with clergy suffering from depression and burnout. Participants (n = 23) in the “Clergy in Kairos” program of the Pastoral Institute (Muse in J Pastor Care Couns 61(3):183–195, 2007) constituted the experimental variable. Clergy surveyed from United Methodist and Presbyterian denominations (n = 121) provided a control group from which 23 respondents were selected whose pre-test scores in depression and burnout were statistically equivalent to those in the experimental group. The treatment group consisted of clergy from three denominations who self-selected (or in some cases were referred by denominational officials) into the program. At the outset, clergy in both groups reported equivalent levels of conflict, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and depression. At the 6-months follow-up, clergy in the experimental group showed significant improvement of depression, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization scores. By contrast, there was no change in the burnout and depression scores in the control group at 6-months post-test. Findings suggest the usefulness of a week-long multi-therapist intensive outpatient intervention in reducing burnout and depression.

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