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  Home  > Helping Professionals  > The Game of Harried

The Game of Harried

People often act out a game of Harried to justify an eventual collapse or depression. People who play Harried say "yes" to every task, volunteer to come early and work late, take on after-hours assignments, and carry work home. This game can structure many years of a person/s life, and for a period of time, at least, they are able to act like supermen or superwomen. Eventually, however, they fold up, unable to meet their obligations. When this happens, they may come to work a bit disheveled, perhaps unkempt or with bloodshot eyes. They may be unable to finish their work. Their physical and mental health deteriorates. They collect so many feelings of depression that they finally cash them in by collapsing.

This game is a natural for people in health care. There is the Harried Patient ("Between work and family, I'm exhausted"), Harried Doctor (I'm the only one around here who can do it; I'll stay tonight too"), Harried Clerk ("I'm frantic trying to find the charts everyone needs; I even take a short lunch hour"), and Harried Nurse ("I always run, run from one crisis to another"). A script of an organization often calls for Harried players, and everyone eventually loses. One common result of Harried is burn-out - pushing oneself for "the cause" until the limit is reached.

Harried Health Care can be continued in many ways - by limiting a patient's self-responsibility and increasing dependency, by playing "I'm so indispensable" and not delegating tasks to others, by doing innumerable "Patch-up jobs," dealing with symptoms but not advising a healthier lifestyle to remove the causes. Harrieds often play the Rescuer role, but end up as Victims.

Harried is a dangerous game.




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