Now, faced with one of her first clients, she finds herself tormented by the memory and effects of her own horrific experience.
Angelea Panos Most of us became counselors because we wanted to assist others in need. Yet our capacity for compassion, along with the intensity of our work can, at times, leave us vulnerable for "compassion fatigue. It can be cumulative from the effects helping many clients or occur in response to a particularly challenging or traumatic individual case.
This extreme state of anxiety and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped becomes traumatizing for the helper. For this reason it is sometimes called "vicarious traumatization" or "secondary traumatization" Figley, Who is at risk?
While our training, professionalism, and good boundaries within our helping roles are protective, really anyone with the capacity for true compassion, empathy, concern and caring is vulnerable to compassion fatigue. In other words, the greatest strength that you have to bring to your occupation- your capacity to develop a compassionate connection with your clients-is also your greatest vulnerability.
Therefore, it is not a characteristic that you would choose to give up, rather it is more logical to educate yourself so you understand compassion fatigue and know what you can do if you begin experiencing symptoms. Realize that the more prolonged exposure to traumatic events you experience working too long of hoursthe more personal life demands you have, and the more isolated you become from others collectively increase your vulnerability for compassion fatigue.
Warning signs and symptoms The symptoms of compassion fatigue are similar to those of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, only instead of the symptoms being based upon a trauma that you directly experienced, they are due to the trauma that your client s have experienced.
Additionally, there is a cynical, discouraged or hopeless attitude about your work or your career that begins to set in. Paradoxically, you may find it difficult to leave your work at the end of the day.
You may have thoughts that preoccupy you about a particular case. Being aware of what these symptoms mean and how they are affecting you is important.
You can evaluate yourself with an excellent self-assessment tool that can be found at: While this checklist is more comprehensive a few of the predominant symptoms of compassion fatigue are listed below: Feeling estranged from others Having difficulty sharing or describing feelings with others Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Outbursts of anger or irritability with little provocation. Startling easily While working with a victim thinking about violence or retribution against the person or persons who victimized. Flashbacks connected to my clients and families. Needing more close friends.
Working too hard for your own good. Frightened of things traumatized people and their family have said or done to me. Experience troubling dreams similar to a client of mine and their family. Experienced intrusive thoughts of sessions with especially difficult clients and their families.
Suddenly and involuntarily recalled a frightening experience while working with a client or their family. Preoccupied with a client or their family.
Losing sleep over a client and their family's traumatic experiences. Felt trapped by my work as a helper. Felt a sense of hopelessness associated with working with clients and their families. Have felt weak, tired, rundown as a result of my work as a helper. Have felt depressed as a result of my work as a helper.
Am unsuccessful at separating work from personal life. Feel little compassion toward most of my co-workers Thoughts that I am not succeeding at achieving my life goals.
Feel I am working more for the money than for personal fulfillment.To identify prevention strategies with rigorous evidence of effectiveness, we developed criteria to classify specific interventions based on the strength of evidence of effectiveness for preventing .
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Understanding and Preventing Compassion Fatigue - A Handout For Professionals by Dr. Angelea Panos. Most of us became counselors because we wanted to assist others in need. This is an abridged version of Peter Parker's history. For a complete history see Peter Parker's Expanded History Peter Benjamin Parker was born in Queens to Richard and Mary Parker.
While Peter was still an infant, his parents were assigned by the CIA to infiltrate the Algerian based spy ring.