Andreas Geier, Naturopath, Koln, Germany
Definition of the term
The term burnout was first used by New York psychotherapist Freudenberger in 1974. Although today it is widely used to describe a state of emotional and physical exhaustion, there is no standard scientific definition.
A list of definitions according to Rook shows that in all definitions there is an overlap of the terms 'physical, mental, emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, reduced work efficacy, unfulfilled needs and expectations, disillusionment, failure to adapt to work'.1
In this paper I refer to the working definition drown up by Schaufeli & Enzmann:
''Burnout is a persistent, negative, work- related state of mind in 'normal' individuals that is primarily characterised by exhaustion, which is accompanied by distress, a sense of reduced effectiveness, decreased motivation, and the development of dysfunctional attitudes and behaviour at work. This psychological condition develops