Compassion Fatigue (CF) refers to the profound emotional and physical erosion that takes place when helpers are unable to refuel and regenerate.
Unfortunately, with a main focus on self-care and work-life balance as the sole solutions to CF some helpers have felt blamed for their CF. They have received a strong (and incorrect) message from their workplace – “If you feel burnt out, it means you are not taking good enough care of yourself”.
This can further silence people in pain and it is actually not true. The biggest contributors to CF are where you work, your workload, your working conditions and the amount of high quality training you have received in trauma-related areas – not the amount of kale you eat and yoga you practice (although those are great things to do as well!)
The term Vicarious trauma (VT) was coined by Pearlman & Saakvitne (1995) to describe the profound shift in world view that occurs in helping professionals when they work with clients who have experienced trauma. Helpers notice that their fundamental beliefs about the world are altered and possibly damaged by being repeatedly exposed to traumatic material.
Symptoms of VT include: