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Addressing Compassion Fatigue: How to Support Students Without Sacrificing Your Wellbeing

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Alyssa Penner

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of Addressing Compassion Fatigue: How to Support Students Without Sacrificing Your Wellbeing

Addressing Compassion Fatigue: How to Support Students Without Sacrificing Your Wellbeing
Why Examine Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, and Secondary Trauma?
Session Objectives
Define and identify the major impacts of compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout.

Improve understanding of why addressing compassion fatigue is essential for one’s advising practice.

Examine the Professional Quality of Life Scale to determine own levels of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burnout.

Review resources for students and staff experiencing compassion fatigue.

Learn concrete strategies for working with students in distress.

Reflect on ways to improve your own levels of compassion satisfaction.
Compassion Fatigue
Secondary Trauma, Vicarious Trauma

Alyssa Penner, MSW
Academic Adviser, Law, Societies, & Justice
University of Washington

But first,
What drew you to this session?
Compassion Fatigue
"The profound emotional and physical erosion that takes place when helpers are unable to refuel and regenerate."

(Mathieu, 2012, p. 14)
Symptoms & Impacts of Compassion Fatigue
Vicarious Trauma
The fundamental shifts in our worldview when working with people who have experienced trauma. Occurs when "the stories we hear from our clients transfer onto us in a way where we too are traumatized by the images and details, even though we did not experience them ourselves. We then find it difficult to rid ourselves of the images and experiences they have shared with us."

(Mathieu, 2012, p. 9)
Describes the "physical and emotional exhaustion that workers can experience when they have low job satisfaction and feel powerless and overwhelmed at work."

(Mathieu, 2012, p. 10)
Those experiencing burnout are at a higher risk of CF and VT.
Physical Exhaustion
Headaches and migraines
Getting sick more often
Anger and irritability
Exaggerated sense of responsibility
Increased use of alcohol
Compromised care of students
Avoidance of students
Reduced ability to feel sympathy and empathy
Negative Self Image
Intrusive Imagery
Difficulty separating personal and professional lives
Loss of hope
Failure to nurture and develop non-work-related aspects of life
Develop your own Compassion Fatigue Scale!!!
(Mathieu, 2012)
Advising Examples
Avoiding responding to emails from students facing significant hardship/trauma, like being away from family facing war in their home country or experiencing relationship violence

Intrusive thoughts about a particular student's situation when you're not at work

A student confides to you that their mother was just diagnosed with cancer and you immediately show them the hardship withdraw website
The Four Steps to Wellness
Increasing Compassion Satisfaction
1. Take stock of your stressors

2. Look for ways to enhance self-care and work/life balance.

3. Develop resiliency skills

4. Make a commitment to implement changes

(Mathieu, 2012)
Avoiding the Negative Rut
The Complaining and Whining Session (AKA Fake Workout)
Supporting Students in Distress
Step 1: Empathy
Supporting Students in Distress: Main Strategies
Active Listening & Empathy
The pitfalls of personal disclosure
Resist Solution-Focused Advising (usually)
Being vs. Doing (Arbore, Katz, & Johnson, 2006)
Refer strategically
Keep notes in EARS & your own files
Who can you "wrap in?"
Know when your job ends and someone else's begins
Consult with colleagues
Use UW Campus Resources
Foster protective factors and resiliency
Acknowledge what you cannot control
Seek support for yourself to process and reflect
Borrow from social work's concept of "Supervision"
UW Campus Resources
Trauma Stewardship
The Compassion Fatigue Workbook
Academic Advising Compassion Fatigue Study
Pais & Morrison, 2013
The Professional Quality of Life Scale (PROQOL)
The ProQOL is the most commonly used measure of the negative and positive affects of helping others who experience suffering and trauma. The ProQOL has sub-scales for compassion satisfaction, burnout and compassion fatigue.
Complete and score on your own time
Great resources on proqol.org
How the Terms are Connected
Key Scholars/Researchers
Source: proqol.org, 2014
Charles R. Figley, 1995,
Compassion Fatigue

Laurie Anne Pearlman, 1999,
Notes from the field: What is vicarious traumatization?

Babette Rothschild & Marjorie Rand, 2006
, Help for the Helper

Francoise Mathieu, 2012,
The Compassion Fatigue Workbook

Christina Maslach, 2003,
Burnout: The Cost of Caring

Joshua D. Morrison, 2013,
Improving Compassion Satisfaction and Understanding Compassion Fatigue Among Academic Advisors

"When you're in the red zone of compassion fatigue, a bath ain't gonna cut it!"

-Robin Cameron, Counselor
"As part of Take Our Children to Work Day, I took my 14-year-old daughter to our busy clinic. She spent the day with me, watching us work with patients and families. At the end of the day, over supper, I turned to her eagerly and said: 'So, honey, what did you think?' She replied, 'Well, I found out that you're a heck of a lot nicer at work than at home.' "

-Community Health Nurse
Health & Wellness
Counseling Center
Hall Health
Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Information Service (SARIS)
Safe Campus
UWPD Victim Advocate
Counseling & Assessment Team (CAT)
Community Standards & Student Conduct (CSSC)
Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity
Veteran's Center
Q Center
Women's Center
International Student Services
Housing & Residence Life
Student Legal Services
UW Care Link (staff)
Turn and Share
Turn to a person next to you and share a story of how you responded to a student in distress. What did you do well? What would you do differently today?
Individual Reflection
What three concrete steps (big or small) do you commit to take to improve your compassion satisfaction?
Example: I will identify 2 Advisers whom I will meet with monthly for consultation and support.
"Mind Yourself!"
-An Irish Saying
Alyssa Penner
Laura van Dernoot Lipsky &
Connie Burk, 2009
Francoise Mathieu, 2012
Research questions:
To what extent do academic advisers experience CS and CF (and stress)?
Do these experiences vary by gender, experience, or workload?
Instruments: ProQOL (Stamm, 2012) and Index of Clinical Stress (Abel, 1991)
Participants: 21 Full-Time Advisers at Large Urban Midwest University
No significant differences based on gender
Advisers with <5 years experience reported significantly higher levels of burnout and higher stress levels (not sig)
Advisers who saw 100+ students per week reported significantly higher levels of secondary traumatic stress
(B. Hunnall Stamm, 2012)
Arbore, P., Katz, R. S. & T. A. Johnson (2006). Suffering and the caring professional. In R. Katz & T. Johnson (Eds.),
When professionals weep: Emotional and countertransference responses in end-of life care (pp. 13-26).
New York, NY: Routledge.

Figley, C. R. (1995).
Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized.
New York, NY: Routledge.

Hundall Stamm, B. (2012).
Professional quality of life: Compassion satisfaction and fatigue
version 5 (ProQOL). www.proqol.org.

Maslach, C. (2003).
Burnout: The cost of caring.
Cambridge, MA: Ishk Book Service.

Mathieu, F. (2012).
The compassion fatigue workbook: Creative tools for transforming compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatization.
New York, NY: Routledge.

Morrison, J. D. (2013).
Improving Compassion Satisfaction & Understanding Comapssion Fatigue Among Academic Advisors
[PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://emas.illinoisstate.edu/downloads/aaac/CF-CS%20Illinois%20State%20University%202013.pdf

Pearlman, L.A. (1999).
Notes from the field: What is vicarious traumatization?
In B.H. Stamm (Ed.),
Secondary traumatic stress: Self-care issues for clinicians, researchers & educators (2nd edition),
pp. xlvii-lii. Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press.

Rothschild, B. & Rand, B. (2006).
Help for the helper: The psychophysiology of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.
New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Van Dernoot Lipsky, L. & Burk, C (2009).
Trauma stewardship: An everyday guide to caring for self while caring for others
. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

Source: The New Yorker
The Resiliency Wheel
Special thanks to Nova Schauss and Kerry Thomas, Advisers at Oregon State University,
who encouraged me to give this presentation.
Full transcript