Compassion fatigue is a chronic issue among social service practitioners. Too often professionals become burned-out and unable to consistently empathize with clients. Many do not realize caring too much can hurt them physically, mentally, and emotionally until it is too late.
The American Institute of Stress defines compassion fatigue as ‘vicarious traumatization’ that can lead to sleep disturbance, impaired judgement, loss of self-worth, and an increase in angry outbursts. With this, behavioral health professionals have realized that self-care is one of the best ways to prevent the onset of compassion fatigue when working with trauma victims.
Sufferers can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attitude. We find in the behavioral health arena it has a significant presence and can lead to negative outcomes for the helpers.
Mindful self-Care is all about learning how to take care of yourself and identify those issues that trigger you to act in a negative manner. This is where the real work begins. Self-care helps individuals recharge and refocus so they can continue on with their tasks. Fortunately, there are ways to personalize and fit a good self-care practice into one’s schedule such as taking more breaks, writing in a journal, training for a marathon or spending more time with loved ones, just to name a few.
After this session, attendees will be able to:
1. Define compassion fatigue.
2. Recognize signs and the physical symptoms associated with compassion fatigue.
3. Make a self-assessment, identify, and discuss both positive and negative coping skills.
4. Get tips and additional resources on methods of self-care related to compassion fatigue.