Home » Case Study Report: Overcoming Burnout through Arts


During the autumn of 2020, Cluj Cultural Centre implemented a pilot project of cultural prescriptions in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, offering participation in a series of specially designed creative workshops to a group of people with burnout symptoms. The purpose of this intervention was to provide participants with tools and techniques to manage stress and strong emotions through theatrical improvisation and artistic approach. During 7 weeks, the 11 participants with burnout symptoms took part in a 2-hour weekly session of an art inspired well-being intervention delivered by a team of local artists. Before and after artistic intervention, the level of burnout was measured and we evaluated how participants responded to and got involved in such artistic techniques. 

Case Study Report 

The purpose of the Case Study Report is to emphasize all the insights of this pilot project as well as the impact of arts on burnout rates and on well-being after this specific intervention. 

Key takeaways

In terms of well-being after the intervention, a lot of changes appeared compared to the participant’s previous state of burnout. They reported more useful behaviors, one particular participant even captured the transition from a dysfunctional behavioral approach of burnout to a more useful one. Some participants also mentioned they changed to a more present approach to things, a mindful view over things, burnout and the world in general. The main aspects observed by the participants during the intervention as coping activities to burnout states and improvement of well-being are:

  • Social interactions

“I have learned that I release the stress factor with others and I think that all the techniques that we practiced have changed the way I interact with other people” (Female, 31-35 years old)

  • Mindful approach 

,,And regardless of the emotion, whether it is positive or not, I try to be present in that state and just let it be.” (Female, 19-24 years old)

  • Other useful behaviours

“I think what has changed now is what I do when I feel “overwhelmed”,[…], now I try to do a certain thing maybe to improve my state or to get over it […] to do something, I don’t know, to stand up from the desk, to go get another coffee or tea, to go and caress the cat […]” (Female, 25-30 years old)

For all the participants the burnout level decreased from high level (76-125) to medium (51-75) or low level (35-50). 9 out of 11 people had medium burnout level after the intervention and 2 people had low burnout levels.

Considering the differences before and after intervention, burnout scores were reduced, and it seems that the art intervention helped participants manage their burnout-related emotions. Moreover, well-being scores nearly doubled after the intervention, which means that participants started to feel better at the end of the program.