Care, compassion, empathy, sincerity, and selflessness. These are the traits that keep our world intact and breed healing and love. For many individuals, these important traits are a part of their everyday world in the form of their career. Although these traits are highly esteemed, they can quickly disappear if taken for granted. Like a well that runs dry when the rain ceases, so can individuals run dry if they are not seeking to be filled and refreshed. They are left in a state of spiritual, emotional, and even physical bankruptcy.
Caregivers can suffer from Compassion Fatigue, a term referring to the gradual lessening of compassion over a period of time. Many professionals are prone to Compassion Fatigue, including therapists, doctors, nurses, teachers, and others.
The following signs may be an indication of Compassion Fatigue:
- Feeling separated or isolated from others
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Heightened level of irritability or outbursts of anger
- Overworking or difficulty separating work from personal life
- Constant feelings of exhaustion or burnout
- Cynical or hopeless attitude, or feelings of failure
- Significant decrease in compassion or empathy
- Feelings of resentment or bitterness towards clients or co-workers or family
- Troublesome dreams, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts related to work with difficult clients or patients
- Increased physical symptoms
- Decreased feelings of joy
Some of these misconceptions may make a caregiver more vulnerable to Compassion Fatigue:
- I can fix their problems and make everything okay
- If I just care enough, everything will be okay
- I am totally responsible for the outcomes concerning my students/clients/patients
- The sufferer will appreciate everything I do for them
- I shouldn’t be selfish and seek help for myself when others are in need
- I will have all that it takes to fix things
- I can do it alone
- If I’m spiritual enough, I can deal with the stress of working with suffering people
At The Antioch Group we want to help our clients lift the weight off their shoulders, by helping them learn to invest in their personal well being. We want our clients to be more effective as caregivers and we understand that strength to give to others comes from within. Our desire is for our clients to become as effective as they can be. Prevent burnout and compassion fatigue, and reach for support today.
- Valerie Arnett, LCPC, CAADC, CSAT
- David B. Bucknam, MA, M.Div., LCPC
- Patricia J. Edwards, LCSW, ACSW
- Steven A. Hamon, Ph.D.
- Marty Hanson, LCPC
- Suzanne Jost, LCSW
- Ellen Kiesewetter, LCPC
- Jeanine R. Standard, Ph.D.
- Donna S. Wasson, LCPC
See our Find a Therapist page for a complete list of specialties.