Why are so many lawyers so unhappy?
I've seen quite a few lawyers in my clinic over the years.
There must be a reason for this. According to a Lawcare survey:
56% suffer from stress
2.4% are addicted to alcohol
17% have taken time off work due to stress in the last year.
35% have had depression in the past,
20% said they were currently suffering depression.
60% report being overloaded with work
35% report a lack of appreciation
41% report long hours
66% said they would “be concerned about reporting feelings of stress” to their employer.
70% of respondents said they worked late either every day or several times a week.
60% agreed they were “not working to the standards you want to achieve”
People outside the profession may find these figures surprising. If you speak to people in the legal profession you get a different story. What is it about the job or the person that leads to this?
The Psychological make-up of the "Typical" Lawyer
Over the last 20 years of working as a therapist I have come to recognize common characteristics among people in this profession. Most tend to be highly ambitious and over-achieving individuals (type A). They are almost always perfectionists (not perfect but think they or what they do should be!). They tend to be perfectionists in nearly every area of their lives. At a low level it is not a bad thing, but under stress it can become rigidly applied, it can then become problematic
The Nature and Practice of Law
The legal profession is not like an episode of ‘Suits’! The job can be very demanding and extremely stressful. It can be hard to stay calm and keep a good work life balance. At some point the pressures of working in the legal field will break down their defences. Lawyers are not trained how to deal with stress effectively.
All lawyers experience a certain degree of stress and emotional burn-out during their careers. It is not unusual for lawyers to work 60, 70, 80 hours a week with no time for rest or recuperation. The adversarial nature of the profession itself leads to stress, feeling constantly under attack from outside the organisation or sometimes from within.
I have worked with people across the legal profession, from trainee solicitors to judges. They have all managed to learn how to cope better with the stress of their profession through the use of a number of CBT techniques.
Here are some things that you can put into practice now
I have been working as a therapist for 28 years. I specialize in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Health Anxiety
I am an accredited CBT therapist with over 28 years experience
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