A qualitative study on the experience of occupational stress among Filipino psychotherapists

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology Major in Clinical Psychology


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Rose Ann R. Tan-Mansukhani

Defense Panel Member

Ron R. Resurreccion
Homer Jimenez Yabut


Occupational stress is an inevitable phenomenon and it exists in all kinds of occupation although it varies in degree and extent. The practice of psychotherapy is no exception; it is acknowledged to be highly stressful as known from public opinions, and the results revealed from previous researches as well as with this study. When psychotherapists occupational stress is left unresolved, it may have substantial negative consequences on the psychotherapists physiological and mental health, and may increase turnover rate of psychologists who do psychotherapy, and lead to mental-health worker shortage. This study presents findings describing the experiences of occupational stress among Filipino psychotherapists. The study adopted a qualitative design. Semi-structured interviews were used and the method of analysis was in-depth interview analysis. 15 psychologists who practice psychotherapy were interviewed. The interviews focused on the psychotherapists experiences of occupational stress which include their perceptions on the phenomenon, their sources of occupational stress, their coping strategies, and how occupational stress affects their lives. Occupational stress as the challenges inherent in psychotherapy work, as a form of imbalance, and as situation-specific and temporal emerged as the main themes on the psychotherapists perceptions on occupational stress. Perceived manifestations of occupational stress in the form of physiological, cognitive, affective, social, behavioral, and spiritual-related aspects are further identified. Sources of psychotherapists occupational stress derived the following main categories professional/practice-related stressors, managerial/working relations stressors (subcategories: conflict with superior/co-workers/allied professions, and work-politics), and financial related-stressors (sub-categories: compensation, and self-marketing). Coping strategies identified, in-general belong to 2 main themes, namely, emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. From the psychotherapists occupational stress experiences, positive and negative outcomes are found. Furthermore, close analysis of the psychotherapists occupational stress experiences reveal a dynamic process by which their occupational stress occurs. It was concluded from this study that there is an interaction among the psychotherapists perception/s on occupational stress, the way occupational stress affects the psychotherapist, and the way the psychotherapist responds to occupational stress. The psychotherapists perception of occupational stress affects how the phenomenon is experienced. Also, the psychotherapist sees that occupational stress presents more positive outcomes than negative ones which affect him/her both in professional and personal levels. Aside from receiving more positive outcomes, the psychotherapists inclination to be passionate and hold genuine commitment to the profession mobilizes him/her to continue in the practice of psychotherapy despite the experience/s of occupational stress. Moreover, this study implies of the significance on mental health of the understanding of the occupational stress experience; changes in mental health systems (such as prior attention to the mental health of practitioners to assure quality service delivery) are likely to emerge as awareness of the identified aspects involved in the occupational stress experience on this study are recognized. Limitations of the study and recommendations for the mental health system/s plus future research on the topic are similarly discussed.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.

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