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what is compassion fatigue

"Compassion fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it is traumatizing for the helper.

 

"The helper, in contrast to [those] being helped, is traumatized or suffers through the helper's own efforts to empathize and be compassionate. Often, this leads to poor self care and extreme self sacrifice in the process of helping. Together, this leads to compassion fatigue and symptoms similar to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)." Charles Figley (2005)

 

compassion fatigue and the animal care community

Compassion fatigue occurs when the delicate line between helping and burnout is lost.Helpers in the animal care community are at notable risk for many reasons. They are faced with a massive volume of animals in need, and the choices made can mean the difference between life or death. There are often limited resources, financially and socially, and animal care helpers are often fighting to be recognized as the first responders they truly are. 

 

why seek treatment

Compassion Fatigue is the cost of caring for those we help - it can arisd when we do what we do well. It is manageable, but if left unrecognized and untreated, its consequences can be life shattering. Learning the tools for recognizing our own level of stress and burnout, knowing when we are at risk of entering into compassion fatigue, and self care strategies for reducing our risks we care improve the quality of the care we provide and the lives we lead.

  • a sense of isolation

  • feelings of uselessness

  • relationship conflicts

  • changes in sleep patterns

  • increased use of addictive substances

  • increased anger or irritability

  • an extreme sense of responsibility

  • negative thoughts about self

  • sadness or lack of enjoyment of life

  • resentfulness

  • hopelessness or helplessness

  • avoidance of certain work activities

 

possible symptoms:

Curious about your level of

compassion fatigue & burnout?

 

Take the:

Professional Quality of Life Scale (PROQOL)