4 Most Common Reasons Nurses Seek Therapy

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Do you feel like your occupation is driving you bananas? Is it wearing you out in body, mind and soul? Do you ever suspect you could use some professional help to navigate your work/life situation? It’s no surprise that nurses are living on the edge given the stresses of their job.

Here are what we imagine to be the top four most common complaints driving nurses to seek therapy—and what type of therapy might be useful.


Insomnia is a chronic problem for many nurses—especially those who work night shifts or irregular hours. We function best when we get long, uninterrupted periods of sleep every night. However, this isn’t always possible when you work in healthcare. Even if you do get the opportunity to rest for eight hours a night, you may lie awake worrying about stuff that happened at work that day.

Solution :

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the newest method for addressing sleeplessness. Unlike pills that carry risks and offer only short-term relief, CBT is free of chemical side effects and may solve sleep problems for good. Therapy may include anxiety management, meditation, hypnosis, biofeedback and much more.

Social Stagnation

One of the problems with working in a field where there’s a lot of demand for your skills is that you may find yourself handling a LOT of overtime. Many nurses complain about missing time with their spouse and children and having to forgo holiday celebrations year after year. When it comes to actually going out with friends for fun after work, forget it. If nurses don’t have time to cultivate deep and meaningful relationships in their time off, it’s no wonder they get burned out at work.

Solution :

A life coach is a cheaper alternative to a “real” therapist. If your main problem is learning how to create better work/life balance, this may be all you need. A decent life coach can help you prioritize your activities and learn coping strategies to help you put boundaries on your work obligations.

Strains & Sprains

Back pain is the #1 physical complaint among longtime nurses. Most hospitals are not adequately equipped or staffed to handle the sheer amount of heavy lifting that’s required in patient care. Once you put your lower back out, it’s the kind of injury that can keep cropping up year after year. That’s enough to demoralize anyone!

Solution :

Here’s where good old-fashioned physical therapy can make a big difference. Even if you can’t fully recover from this injury, it’s never too late to learn better posture and lifting habits to limit the risk of recurrence. Perhaps fear of pain is making you tense up, causing even more pain in a vicious feedback cycle. Mind/body or alternative therapies for pain management may be helpful as well.


Ah, the stupidity. It shows up in your life in so many forms: problematic patients, bureaucracy, coworkers, the general public, unsupportive family members. You need a safe place to rant about all the inane behavior you are expected to put up with on a daily basis. You never know who’s watching on Facebook or your blog, so where can you turn?

Solution :

A good psychotherapist or mental health counselor is basically a “rent-a-friend” that you can trust (because you’re paying them). When you have someone available to lend a compassionate ear to your troubles, you don’t have to overburden your real friends with that stuff. If things at work move beyond what you can tolerate, you’ll be glad to have your therapist on speed dial to talk you down. Plus, it’s all completely confidential so your employer can’t use what you say against you!

Share your thoughts on this important topic in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. As a nurse who has worked in the mental health environment, I agree with the recommendations in this article for sleeplessness as well as for venting your frustrations about stupidity in the workplace.

    Far too many people in general, including nurses, are willing to resort to powerful medications for inducing sleep rather than considering cognitive behavioral therapy. Learning to change your way of thinking will give better long term results and avoid the side effects from meds used to induce sleep.

    For those who suffer from seasonal affective disorders, using a light box to simulate longer hours of sunlight can chase away the blues and help normal sleep patterns rather than resorting to anti-depressants. See if any practitioners in your area utilize this with their patients.

    Physical therapy is very helpful for recovering from all types of injuries, especially back injuries. You may want to consider receiving some Class III-B cold laser therapy which significantly helps speed the healing process from an injury while also reducing pain and inflammation.

    I was so impressed with the benefits of cold laser therapy, that I obtained training and bought my own unit from Theralase. This is now my calling in nursing, to help folks by using an alternative method to heal their body to avoid quickly resorting to drugs and surgery.

    In my personal experience, nurses often fall into the trap of taking care of everyone else and forgetting to take good care of themselves. Eat right, keep hydrated, get restful sleep, and do some form of exercise activity that you enjoy. We are taught to educate our patients on the importance of doing all these things. It’s up to us to follow through on these things for ourselves.


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