Workaholism Therapy – Counselors in Grand Rapids, Forest Hills

Sue, a project manager for a large contractor, often wakes in the middle of the night wondering if she completed specific work-related tasks. She frequently works 14 hour days, often including weekends. When she isn’t working, she finds it difficult to engage with friends and family, and her spouse says he feels disconnected from her.

Workaholism in Grand Rapids, Forest Hills

The United States is widely known for its rampant workaholism. Ranked in the top ten of countries in regard to percentage of people experiencing workaholism, we receive fewer vacation days on average than many other industrialized nations, take fewer of the days we do receive, and in fact, we brag about how much work we’ve done or have to get done. American work ethic is nearly legendary—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Counseling for workaholism in Grand Rapids becomes necessary when a person struggles to interact with friends and family or is unable to participate in recreational activities without thinking about work.

Workaholism is a compulsion to work that doesn’t disappear after leaving the office. It can cause physical problems, as well as stress and relationship conflict. Thriveworks Grand Rapids workaholism counseling can help you understand this compulsion and figure out how to approach work in a healthier way.

What is workaholism?

Workaholism actually isn’t the same thing as simply working a lot of hours, though that can be a sign. Workaholics feel compelled to work because of internal pressures, struggle to “leave work at work,” and work beyond what could be reasonably expected of the worker (Clark).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying professional achievement. We spend the majority of our time at work, and so it’s important to feel fulfilled and affirmed there. However, our personal lives—the lives we live with family and friends—require maintenance of relationships. Workaholics frequently begin to neglect those relationships; long-term, this can create significant negative outcomes for both the worker’s family and themselves—it can even result in less effective work output.

Workaholics are obsessed with their work performance, insist on taking on work rather than delegating, and may have had experiences in childhood that forced them into adult responsibilities at a young age (Killinger). It may be difficult to initially imagine that workaholism could really be as serious as it sounds, but it is. Many of the patients we see for workaholism counseling in Grand Rapids open up about other problems they are experiencing. These problems often share some kind of related experience as the core cause; our therapists are skilled at considering a patient holistically, instead of with a tunnel-vision. Using those skills, we will work with you to figure out what underlying beliefs are contributing to your need to work beyond a healthy level.

Work Engagement versus Workaholism

Unlike the workaholic described above, some individuals simply work more than average because they find their work interesting, fulfilling, and engaging. These individuals are able to be emotionally present for family, friends, and coworkers. They enjoy getting to spend time with those close to them outside of work, and are able to do so without obsessively thinking about work. Again, counseling for workaholism in Grand Rapids becomes a reasonable step when working is interfering with your ability to engage with life outside of work.

Ramifications of Workaholism

It’s not just relationships and work productivity that can suffer when one becomes a workaholic. High stress can lead to high blood pressure, inability to sleep well, angry outbursts, and other health and social issues. Any one of these physical or mental/emotional signs can contribute toward a cycle of stress, health problems, and further overworking.

Relationships are one of the most important things that suffer when someone is overworking. Because they are likely home less, when they are with their family or friends, those friendships need to be nurtured. Relationships take effort from each person involved, and if one party begins to feel the other party doesn’t care as much, isn’t invested in the life of the first party, or simply isn’t present and engaged with the group, it really begins to wear on the relationship.

As we’ve all likely heard, those with healthy social lives even live longer (Rettner). Whether it be friends, family, or a romantic partner, having people in our lives who care about our health, happiness, and experiences is one of the best things we can do for health—and an unhealthy relationship with work is one of the fastest ways to jeopardize those relationships.

Seeking Help

As with many other situations, Grand Rapids counseling for workaholism isn’t so much about helping the patient work less as it is about helping the patient understand why they feel the need to preoccupy themselves with work in the first place. Our therapists are skilled at helping patients dig deeply into their experiences to determine what’s creating the need to work excessively. Just as important, we’ll help you work through that need to create a healthier relationship with work.

Thriveworks Grand Rapids Workaholism Counseling

At Thriveworks Grand Rapids, we’re here to help. If you think your preoccupation with work has moved beyond healthy levels, give us a call. We can work with you to determine whether or not your work commitment is problematic, and if it is, we can help you address the reasons behind your zealous work schedule. We can also help create strategies to repair any relationships that might be struggling as a result. Get started on the road to emotional stability today. We don’t use a waiting list, and can usually get you scheduled within 24 hours.

Clark, Malissa A. PhD. “Workaholism: It’s not just long hours on the job.” April, 2016. Psychological Science Agenda.
Killinger, Barbara PhD. “Understanding the Dynamics of Workaholism.” December, 2011.
Milosevic, Tijana. “Workaholism in American: A European’s Perspective.” November 2011. The Huffington Post.
Rettner, Rachael. “Want to live longer? Get some friends.” July 2010.

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