Compassion Fatigue Training

A New Way to Navigate in the Helping Professions

Compassion fatigue is an occupational hazard that affects to various degrees those in the helping professions. Meeting the physical and emotional needs of clients/residents/patients can be extremely rewarding work but can also bear the characteristics of a stress full work environment, negativity from clients as well as co workers, working in a field with increasingly dwindling resources and for some, the risk of even physical assault by those whom they serve.

Compassion Fatigue has been described as the “cost of caring for others” in emotional or physical pain. (Figley, 1982) It is characterized by deep emotional and physical exhaustion and a significant change in the helper’s ability to connect empathetically in interpersonal relationships that not only include those they serve, but coworkers and loved ones.

Addressing this directly beyond just basic stress management and self care allows those in the helping profession to recognize signs and symptoms and develop strategies that start at the personal level and can extend to the organizational level. Participants in this presentation will be empowered to acknowledge the effects of witnessing suffering and explore a new way of navigating that introduces a 5 step process with hands on tools for self regulation. Participants will create a framework for a self care plan and select an accountability partner.

Goal: Participants will recognize signs and symptoms of occupational stress and develop self care strategies that allow for self reflection with the possibility of personal transformation. During this presentation participants will:

  • Gain an awareness of their current coping skills by filling out a self care assessment
  • Define compassionate care as inter relational as perceived by both the giver and receiver of care.
  • Identify the signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue and how it pertains to them.
  • Examine the relationship between caring for self and ability to care for others
  • Construct plan for self care
  • Name an accountability partner. 
  • Engage in hands on practice of 5 step process 
    1. Expanding the container: Centering and Grounding
    2. Focusing on inquiry: living and leaning into the questions
    3. Enhancing our perspective: scarcity vs abundance
    4. Cultivating Compassion: The difference between compassion and fear.
    5. Creating Balance: writing your self care plan and choosing an accountability partner.

Materials needed:

  • Space with room that allows for gentle movement and no interruptions.
  • Chairs with preferably no tables although round tables work well with this presentation.
  • Notebooks and pens

Rachel has a strong passion for serving caregivers in healthcare, human services, and other backgrounds experiencing compassion fatigue and working with marginalized populations. She has experience working in conjunction with non-profits providing healing arts programs to adults with mental illness, at risk youth and facilitates, and trauma informed yoga and expressive healing arts programs with a trauma therapist for women survivors of rape and sexual abuse. She teaches compassion fatigue workshops and trainings to those committed to service in healthcare, behavioral health, caregivers and environmental non profits