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Compassion Fatigue for educators

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Catherine Nyhan

on 12 June 2016

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Transcript of Compassion Fatigue for educators

Compassion Fatigue for Educators
Photo based on: 'horizon' by pierreyves @ flickr
This kind of exposure impacts the helper's inner experience to varying degrees depending upon the extent of the exposure.

Helpers who have experienced personal trauma have a higher risk for Compassion Fatigue.

Cumulative and persistent exposure can cause permanent effects.

Repeated/ chronic exposure can affect an individual's spirituality and the way they make meaning about their lives.
Sometimes referred to as
Practice Self Care
Cumulative Toll
CF is what happens to caregivers or "trauma stewards" as a result of witnessing and working with people facing substantial difficulties. Being exposed to, and witnesses for other people's sadness, struggles, or trauma can have a negative impact on teachers, counselors and other helpers.

Trauma stewardship is based in the idea that people working for social justice and change such as teachers, principals, and other school staff can be affected with compassion fatigue just like counselors or social workers. We are stewards for our student's success which often means stewarding them through difficulties in life and sometimes even trauma.
Signs & Symptoms of cumulative toll by Laura Vandernoot-Lipsky (Trauma Stewardship, 2009):
Compassion Fatigue
Vicarious trauma
Secondary trauma
Traumatic exposure response
These symptoms can spread throughout a family if left untreated

There is a high correlation between compassion fatigue and high caseloads
Comes from practicing self care to the best of your ability, keeping yourself in tune with who and how you are in the room with your students and striving and contributing to a healthy work environment. Learning how and when to switch on and off will make a world of difference!
Compassion Satisfaction
Self Care at work with your clients:
Watch HOW you listen
Understand the science behind listening
Watch for empathic mirroring
Thick skin/ Bling/Ocular space/ self talk
Use imagery and body proxemics to fend of fatigue
Watch HOW you debrief cases
Are you "sliming" your coworkers & friends?
Low impact disclosure is important
Things you can do in your Workplace
Educate your staff
Keep set times for work
Encourage each other's self care & PLAN B
Memo on best practices
Express Gratitude
Advocate for our profession
Build community through book groups/ hiking/sports/ soup collectives/ fishing etc
Garden space
Celebrate successes
Feeling fatigued all of the time
Feeling helpless or hopeless
A sense that you can't ever do enough
Diminished creativity
Inability to embrace complexity
Chronic exhaustion/ physical ailments
Inability to listen or deliberate avoidance
Dissociative moments
Sense of persecution
Free floating guilt or fear
Anger and cynicism
Difficulty empathizing/ feeling numb
Grandiosity/ inflated sense of importance related to work
Sleeplessness or sleep difficulties
Gentry's (2012) 5 Phases
of the Compassion Fatigue
Developmental Process
Gentry's (2012) CF Developmental Process
Zealot phase
Irritability phase
Withdrawl Phase
Zombie phase
Pathology vs Renewal or maturation phase
Trauma is defined as an experience that is emotionally painful, distressing or shocking, often resulting in lasting mental and physical effects.
Catherine Nyhan, LPC, LSC

Zealot phase
Irritability phase
Withdrawl phase
Zombie phase
Pathology vs Renewal/
Maturation phase
We are committed, involved, & available
Ready to problem solve and make a difference
"I’ll do that!" attitude
Willingly put in extra hours
Enthusiasm overflows
We volunteer
We are willing to go the extra mile/often without prompting

We begin to cut corners
Start avoiding student contact
Mocking our colleagues & parents/students
Start talking unfairly about their problems
We denigrate their efforts at wellness
Strained use of humor
Daydreaming/ distracted when students are speaking with us
We make efforts to avoid conversation with our students/staff
Oversights, mistakes and lapses in concentration begin to occur
We begin to distance ourselves from our co-workers and friends

Our enthusiasm sours and our bubble bursts
Our patients/clients/become a blur and run together an we lose out ability to see our patients and clients as individuals-rather they become irritants
Complaints may be made about our work and possibly there are problems in our persona life as well
We neglect our family, coworkers, and ourselves- let alone our clients
Our shield gets thicker which block pain and sadness

Our hopelessness turns to anger
We begin to hate everyone!
Our co-workers begin to question us
Others are incompetent or ignorant in our eyes
We develop distain for students
We have no patience
We lose our sense of humor/ have no time for fun

Leaving the profession
Somatic illnesses
We perpetuate symptoms
Through renewal of self care, professional development and re-engaging in curiosity
There are distinct differences between each of these
Personal skills to practice:
Pursue personally meaningful life tasks
Make healthy lifestyle choices (avoiding intoxicants and pull "weeds")
Get social support- be aware of how/where you socialize
Reduce stress- say no, set times to work more, set times for relaxation
Learn containment- make a plan for how to leave work at work- switching yourself on and off
Learn how to contain emails, paper,and to-do lists
Cultivate an awareness of resilience
Work on a Plan B
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Get your own house in order ($, Rx)
Other concrete things that you can do:
Exercise! We know it works. (aerobic is best to drain adrenals/ cortisol levels)
Personal hobbies- keep one thing you dont let go of no matter what!
Meditation and Prayer
Consultation/ Supervision/ Professional Development
Relaxation time with all electronic devices off- POWER DOWN!
Tasks where you are not in charge
Have fun!!
Practice doing things opposite to the emotion
Our enthusiasm sours and our bubble bursts
Our students become a blur and run together
We lose our ability to see our students as individuals and they become irritants
Complaints may be made about our work
We have problems in our personal life
We neglect our family, coworkers, and ourselves
Students are neglected
Our shield gets thicker which block pain & sadness
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