Compassion Fatigue

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


Compassion Fatigue. Taking care of self while caring for others Yvonne Simpson, MA, CFE King County 2-1-1, Seattle. Training outcomes. Recognize the stages, causes, symptoms, and consequences of compassion fatigue Identify your level of compassion fatigue - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Compassion Fatigue

Slide 1

Compassion FatigueTaking care of self while caring for others

Yvonne Simpson, MA, CFEKing County 2-1-1, SeattleTraining outcomesRecognize the stages, causes, symptoms, and consequences of compassion fatigue

Identify your level of compassion fatigue

Determine the most effective self-care strategies for yourself

Create a plan so you can continue to do your work in a sustainable way.The human experience

DefinitionsCompassion Fatigue (Secondary traumatic stress disorder)


Vicarious Trauma4Compassion FatigueIt is often an occupational hazard for those working in helping professions.

It is NOT a reflection of the helpers inadequacy.

It does NOT indicate the toxicity or badness of a client. Stages of compassion fatigueZealot




Common causesServing in a helping capacityRepeatedly experiencing needsDoing more with less ($, options, time, etc.)Manipulation by those that you serveExtraordinary circumstancesYour personal lifeMeasuring Life Stress7StressorsHealthy, useful

Chronic, detrimental

Physiological effects of stressAutonomic Nervous System

Regulates functions of our internal organs

Two main subsystems:SympatheticParasympathetic Sympathetic nervous systemAdrenaline increaseBlood (oxygen, nutrients) diverted to large musclesFive senses heightenedFight or flight

Parasympathetic systemConserves energyDilates vesselsRelaxes musclesRest and Renew

Effects of chronic stressCardiovascular diseaseDecreased immunityPainMental health

How do you react to stress?How vulnerable are you to stress?13Other consequences of stressImpulsive behaviorsPoor inter-personal communicationWork performance suffersApathy, avoidanceWorkplace toxicityA common consequence of compassion fatigue

Leads to negative ruts

Turning on each other rather than collaborating for changeShare a time when you mentally took your work home with you or your work caused symptoms of compassion fatigue.PROQoLProfessional Quality of Life Scale

Measures compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress

Available free on-line at

The remedy: Self-careIsnt it selfish? No, it is an issue of needs (not desires or preferences)

You are only able to serve others to the degree to which you are physically and emotionally healthy.

First do no harm

Primum non nocere; checking your basic needs18Process the stressIntentionality

metabolizing the things we bear witness to (van Dernoot Lipsky)

Be willing to engage the stress

19Finding balanceWhat do you value?What can you control?Is there any one change that you can make?What is my plan if nothing outside of me changes?

Identifying triggersReflect: What are your triggers? Why do they affect you? Are the situations that you face triggering past experiences or emotions?What can you do to help yourself heal from the past?


Share one tangible boundary that you can set to intentionally separate yourself from that which stresses you.Work Home transitionCreate a practice to leave work stress at work

RitualImageryIntentional action

Healthy outlets for stressSelf-awarenessGriefTalking it outWorking it outPlay!

Support systemWorkplace vs. home life support systems

Relational poverty

Low-impact debriefing

Toxic Supportive WorkplaceBrainstorming conversationsCurrent office climateDo we need to consider getting help from a professional team outside of our agency to help us?How can we ensure improvement over the long-run?KindnessPeople who love themselves come across as very loving, generous and kind; they express their self-confidence through humility, forgiveness and inclusiveness.

It is first necessary to think, speak, and act kindly towards yourself. How often do you beat yourself up mentally?

Self-compassion exercises28GratitudeMake a practice of receiving from othersConsciously note good things that happen

Name five things that purely bring you joy.What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?Thank you!FocusActive listening

Why multi-tasking doesnt work

Mindful relaxation/body awareness

30How do you put this information to use?Growth goals and maintenance goalsProfessional goals and personal goalsBased on your life prioritiesAccountability buddy

SatisfactionConnect with the rewards of the work you do

Why did you choose this field in the first place?Name one aspect of the work that you find rewarding.

Is this still the right place for you?The Stockdale ParadoxYou must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties,

and at the same time

have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.Questions?ResourcesCompassion Fatigue Awareness Project, www.compassionfatigue.orgFigley, Charles (1995) Compassion Fatigue: Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorders in Those Who Treat the Traumatized Green Cross Academy of Traumatology,

ResourcesMathieu, Francoise (2011) The Compassion Fatigue Workbook: Creative Tools for Transforming Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious TraumaSaakvitne, Karen (1996) Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious TraumatizationVan Dernoot Lipsky, Laura (2009) Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others