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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

AM22-PP22: Psychoanalysis in work with students: burnout and challenges of the new environment

Parallel Papers Session 6
Sunday 2 July 2.30pm-3:45pm (14.30-15.45) CET
Paper Code: PP22

Psychoanalysis in work with students: burnout and challenges of the new environment.

Presenter: Dariya Mikhnovets


For two years we have been living in a world that has changed as a result of the pandemic. Social distancing, the mandatory wearing of personal protective equipment, new procedures for visiting different social institutions and workplaces are all innovations that we now encounter every day. My report will focus on my work, as a coach and lecturer, with people aged 18-25 years old - my students and clients - who are faced with the complexities of a changed daily life.

In our study to identify burnout in 2020-2021, the levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduction in personal achievements were measured, according to the multifactorial theory of burnout (Maslach, 2000). From May 2020 to February 2021, the largest increase in all three indicators was found among respondents under 20 compared to groups of respondents of other ages. The increase in the decline in personal achievement is also highest among young people under the age of 20 and between 20 and 29 years old.

As a practicing psychoanalyst coach, over the past year I have worked with several clients who have experienced difficulties due to lifestyle changes. Young people aged 18 to 23 experienced difficulties due to the changed format of studying at universities. First of all, they complained about the loss of interest in the educational process, apathy, the inability to maintain interpersonal relationships with their fellow students, which are so important for their age. Working with these clients, I tried to create a supportive environment based on the concepts of D. Winnicott (Winnicott, 2017).

As a university lecturer, I work with international students who came from other countries. Naturally, under the new border crossing procedures, some students could attend the lectures in person, some still remained in their countries and could work online only. Thus, my work was complicated by the need to be present in two spaces at once - real and digital.Accordingly, a supportive environment that would facilitate the learning process had to be created in two dimensions at once.In our work with students, I used tools that would stimulate their own investment in space and their communication with each other.


Maslach, C. (2000). A Multidimensional Theory of Burnout. В C. L. Cooper, Theories of Organizational Stress (стр. 68-85). Oxford Univercity press.

Winnicott, D. W. (2017). The Collected Works of D.W. Winnicott. Oxford University Press.