Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue is defined as the cumulative physical/emotional/psychological effects of continual exposure to traumatic or distressing stories/events when working in a helping capacity where demands outweigh resources. The two largest contributing factors are:
1) high volume work load,
2) exposure to client distress and trauma.
How do you avoid burnout? Well, the easy answer to say is keep your life in balance, but not so easy to do. Work and family demands, children, financial stressors all contribute. However, exposure to conflict, listening to clients that are angry, depressed who make demands and expect you to fix all of their problems can wear you out creating a series of other consequences. What happens to sleep, longer work hours, less time with friends, plan, fun or nutrition? Some waring signs of compassion fatigue: 

  • excessive workloads the encroach on personal time,
  • Feeling exhausted all the time; nightmares,
  • becoming pessimistic, irritable and losing faith in humanity,
  • becoming generally unhappy and unproductive and no longer feeling on top of your game.

This is when other more serious problems can emerge like excessive drinking to cope or even more destructive coping mechanisms. Eventually, health breaks down, marriages fail, and addiction can take over. 

To determine if you have compassion fatigue, this link will take you to a brief self-scored test. Compassion Fatigue Self-Assessment

Research based suggestions (increase self-awareness, debrief, self-inventory, be more intentional about balance and self-protection)
Buffers (humor, exercise, adequate sleep, friendships, hobbies, vacations, healthy team environment, supervision and support)
Re-establish boundaries (work, family)

Conclusion. . . . Get Help, Refresh, Renew, and Feel Rewarded

For a more extensive self-evaluation, click on the link below. 

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Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor brings thirty years of experience in practicing counseling psychology with individuals and couples. His approach is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Specific specialties include; anxiety and stress management, chronic pain & chronic illness management, depression, substance abuse evaluations, employee assistance and executive coaching for workplace performance and leadership.