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Compassion Fatigue for Child and Youth Workers

What is Compassion Fatigue and Burnout, Signs and Symptoms, Phases of Burnout, Risk Factors and Strategies to reverse and minimize.

Romney Pierog

on 18 October 2017

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Transcript of Compassion Fatigue for Child and Youth Workers

Compassion Fatigue
What is Compassion Fatigue?
Signs and Symptoms
Put YOU first so that you can continue to help others.
Romney Pierog BA, RN, CFE (c)
Critical Care Float RN and Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator

"The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as
expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet. This sort of denial is no small matter. The way we deal with loss, shapes our capacity to be present to life more than anything else. The way we protect ourselves from loss may be the way in which we distance ourselves from life. We burn out, not because we don't care, but because we don't grieve. We burn out because we have allowed our hearts to become so filled with loss that we have no room to care."
Rachel Naomi Remen
Kitchen Table Wisdom 1996

Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress disorder, is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It stems from absorbing the suffering of others. Some literature views CF as a type of Burnout.
~ Physical Exhaustion
~ Insomnia/Hypersomnia
~ Headaches/Migraines
~ Recurrent Colds
~ Hypochondriasis

Loss of Sense of Humor
Cynicism disbelief mistrust
~ Anger disrespect mistrust
~ Absenteeism
~ Irritability
~ Addictions (alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, workaholism, compulsive overeating)
~ Self doubt
~ Personal relationship problems
~ Exaggerated sense of Responsibility (addicted to the need of being needed)
~ Avoidance of clients
~ Forgetfulness
~ Impaired ability to make decisions
~ Compromised care for Clients
~ The silencing response

Hallmarks of CF
~ Emotional Exhaustion
~ Distancing self/Detachment
~ Negative Self Image
~ Depression
~ Apathy
~ Resentment
~ Anxiety with irrational fears
~ Disengagement
~ Hypersensitive/Insensitive
~ Dissociation
~ Inability to tolerate strong feelings
~ Problems with intimacy
~ Hypervigilance
~ Hopelessness
~ Intrusive Imagery
~ Failure to nurture and develop non-work related aspects of life.

~Overly conscientious
~Low levels of social support
~High levels of stress in personal life
~Previous history of trauma
~Those who bottle up or avoid emotions
~Those who have an enormous capacity
for feeling/expressing empathy
~Sandwich generation
~Child with special needs
~Workaholic background
~ Raise awareness
~ Think Positive
~ Low Impact Debriefing
~ Self Care (dentist, doctor, exercise, good nutrition, sleeping,
massage therapy, counseling, finances)
~ Socialize
~ Mindfulness/Meditation
~ Relaxation Techniques
~ Yoga
~ Sports that require concentration/focus like golf, ju jitsu, hockey
~ Self Awareness & Self Compassion
~ Establish professional boundaries
~ Acceptance that successful outcomes are not always achievable
~ Read books, educate yourself
Coping Strategies To Improve Resilience
1. Excessive ambition, competitiveness, trying to prove oneself
2. Having high expectations of self
3. Neglecting self, family, friends, eating and sleeping
4. Awareness of not feeling right, but can't determine the source.
5. Isolate themselves from others
6. Becomes intolerant
7. Withdrawal
8. Friends and family notice
9. Lose self
10. Feel empty inside
11. Depression
12. Collapse physically and emotionally, can have suicidal ideation.
Compassion Fatigue stems from absorbing the suffering of others

Burnout stems from dissatisfaction with the work environment
*If Compassion Fatigue is ignored and not dealt with it will eventually lead to burnout*
Sense of Self
Youth Probation Officer
Sense of Self
Youth Probation Officer
There's a lot to look forward to
There's more to life than work
(Mathieu, Francoise 2012)
(Freudenberger, Herbert & North, Gail 1974)
Starting the Conversation
Francoise Mathieu and Dr David Posen
"Compassion Fatigue is the natural consequence of doing a good job"
Francoise Mathieu M.Ed., CCC
The three biggest problems that lead to stress:
1. Volume
2. Velocity
3. Abuse
~ Wake up inspired

~ Feel comfortable and safe at work

~ Come home fulfilled
What we all want
"There is a cost to caring. Professionals
who listen to clients' stories of fear, pain and suffering may feel similar fear, pain,
and suffering because they care. Sometimes we feel we are losing our sense of self to the clients we serve. Those who have enormous capacity for feeling and expressing empathy
tend to be more at risk of compassion stress."
~ Charles Figley
1. Increased self awareness~ How do you debrief when you have seen or heard difficult stories?

2. Fair Warning~ Giving fair warning allows the receiver to prepare for a traumatic story.

3. Consent ~ Once you give warning, you need to ask for consent. This gives the listener a chance to decline or to control the amount of details that they want to hear.

4. Low Impact Disclosure ~ Start with least traumatic information, only share what's necessary. You don't have to share all the gory details in order to get support or feel relieved. Too much detail can retraumatize you and the listener.
Mindfulness - Based Stress Reduction
1. Attention ~ Improves our ability to focus our attention

2. Emotion Regulation ~ Improves our ability to respond vs. react

3. Self View ~ Improves our self view, enables us to be non- judgemental with ourselves and improves our mind body connection.
Jon Kabat-Zinn
Medically proven to change our brain by : neuroplasticity
Too much work
Too fast pace
Too high expectations
Too much pressure
Too few resources
+ Hypervigilant
+ Compassion Stress
Long Hours
Poor Coping Strategies
Sickness Depression
Family Strain
Decreased Productivity
Bad Behaviour
The Cascade of Consequences
*Workplace Hazard
Not in the DSM IV*
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