Presentation on theme: "Protecting the Career Practitioner from Compassion Fatigue and Burnout"— Presentation transcript:
1 Protecting the Career Practitioner from Compassion Fatigue and Burnout Wellness WorksProtecting the Career Practitioner from Compassion Fatigue and Burnout
2 Based on the work of Charles Figler and Francoise Mathieu The compassion Fatigue workbookWebinar : Walking the Walk
3 Are compassion fatigue and burnout inevitable consequences of our work?
4 “The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.This sort of denial is no small matter. The way we deal with loss shapes our capacity to be present to life more than anything else. The way we protect ourselves form loss may be the way in which we distance ourselves from life. We burn not because we don’t care but because we don’t grieve. We burn out because we’ve allowed our hearts to become so filled with loss that we have no room left to care. Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom, 1996
5 Our Caring Profession THE GOOD Helping people meet goals Matching the seeker to the jobKnowing people change their lives for the betterHonouring their trustMotivating with hopeMaking a difference for my communityMeeting the needs of our employersWorking for our futureHelping people get the tools they need to move forwardTHE BADAdministration and record keepingFunders’ data basesGovernment bureaucracy, politicsLack of control over budgetsHaving to meet outcomes that don’t match the needs of the folksNever having enough timeCan’t meet all the needsLittle PDFew places to refer for further help, mental health, financial, literacyInternet job search processEmployers’ Hiring practices
6 The Ugly Compassion Fatigue Burnout Related to caring about, taking care of, or exposure to trauma victims and others in needCreated by caring about the suffering of othersTry to continue to give of themselves and feel as though they have failed at their professionGradual erosion of all the things that keep us connected to others in our caregiver role: empathy, our hope, and our compassion, for others and ourselvesCan result from any type of stress in any kind of settingLow job satisfaction from feeling powerless and overwhelmed at workOur view of the world has not been damaged changed in a negative wayExperience emotional withdrawal and diminished empathyStill retain the ability to feel compassion for othersMakes us more vulnerable to CF
7 Compassion Fatigue is: The profound emotional and physical erosion that takes place when helpers are unable to refuel and regenerateA secondary traumatic stress disorderA set of symptoms, not a diseaseCan lead to a wide range of destructive or unproductive behaviors
8 When I have CF I am: Over-reactive Unprofessional Having a saviour complexOverly invested in the outcomes and peopleAngry, unable to focus, no patience for my clients or family membersA ‘cranky fusspot’‘No matter how much I do at work, I can’t do enough to really make a difference’.
9 Sound Familiar? Bottled up emotions Impulse to rescue anyone in need Isolated from othersSadness, apathyOften feel the need to voice excessive complaints about co workers and or management, increasing bitterness about workViolate client boundaries, lack of respect of clientsIntense psychological distress at exposure to cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
10 Symptoms, continued Lack of interest in self – care practices Reoccurring nightmares/flashbacksPersistent physical ailments such as allergies, colds, gastrointestinal problemsLatenessDifficulty concentrating, mentally tiredForgetfulnessAccident prone and error prone, judgment suffersHyper vigilance and exaggerated startle response
11 What Causes Compassion Fatigue? Placing the needs of others firstContinual exposure to sad or traumatic stories or eventsUnresolved past trauma and painLack of healthy professional skillsLack of self awareness that limits your growth and potential
12 Causes - continued Giving care to others who are under stress Giving care to others when you are burnt outLack of healthy life coping skillsLack of personal boundariesInability to communicate your own needs
13 The ‘Fatigued’ At Work: Excessive amount of Worker’s Comp claims, stress leaveHigh absenteeismChanges in co-workers’ relationshipsInability for teams to work well togetherStaff challenges organizational rules and regulationsAggressive behaviours between co-workers and clientsInability of staff to complete assigned tasks
14 At Work - continued Lack of flexibility with other staff Constant changes in organizational policiesRampant rumor and gossipUnhealthy competition between staff membersIncreasingly negative work environmentSiege mentality
15 The Eventual Outcome? Mental health issues, depression, stress leave Social supports break downEventually in order to recover, you may have to leave the occupation completely!
16 Who Us? Really?Over 60% of Career Practitioners surveyed in NS are mental health consumers themselves – depression and anxietyRealities of our work – high paced, results oriented, negative economies, pressure and stress, little cloutClients’ personal histories increasingly ‘traumatic’Labour market pressures could create a moral dilemma, hiring practices incomplete or unethical
17 Ways to Reduce Compassion Fatigue Strong social support both at home and workIncreased self awarenessGood self careBetter work/life balanceJob satisfactionRebalancing case load and workload reductionLimiting trauma inputsAccessing coaching, counseling, and good clinical supervision as neededAttending regular professional development and training
18 We Can defend Ourselves Educate ourselves about CF , Burnout, and secondary trauma, vicarious traumaIncrease our self awareness of our warning signs, our feelings of overwhelm and vicarious trauma before we get to full blown ‘fatigue’Build strategies to de-brief upsetting events in a low impact way. Decrease the ‘sliming
19 Vicarious Trauma in our work? Vicarious trauma – occurs when the stories we hear from our clients transfer onto us in a way where we too are traumatized by the images and details, even though we did not experience them ourselves. We then find it difficult to rid ourselves of the images and experience they have shared with us.
20 Low Impact Debriefing – setting boundaries What kind of conversation is this? Case conference, case consultation, work lunch, soccer game, party?Is the listener aware that you are about to share graphic details?Able to control the flow of what you are about to share with them?If it is consultation or case conference has the listener been informed that it is a debriefing or are you sitting in their office chatting about your dayHave you given fair warning?How much detail is too much? How much do we need to tell to be productive in our work?
22 We have choices .. Reduce our ‘trauma load’ on a daily basis Become aware of media enhanced disaster ‘porn’, violent crime dramas. Even the Weather Network can have a negative cumulative impact on your already overloaded dayWhere do the stories we hear at work go at the end of the day?
23 Techniques“Helpers who bear witness to many stories of abuse and violence notice that their own beliefs about the world are altered and possibly damaged by being repeatedly exposed to traumatic material” Transforming the pain p.49
24 Healthy teams make us stronger Build strong support networks at work, supportive teams, strategic alliances:No more Bitching, Moaning and Whining (BMW) -Gossip adds dramatically to the negativity loadCommit to building your self esteem in healthy ways, not on the backs of others.(‘Nurses eat their young’)
25 Better managed case/work loads Pace and size of the case load make a huge difference to work satisfactionLook for ways to manage this differently if possibleBuild ‘micro breaks’ into our schedules ( mindfulness meditation) if nothing elseWork with Management to alter the work day in some way, part time , some other task one day a week
26 Are you in the Danger Zone? Surveys and self tests canhelp you identify your current state of work and life satisfactionMany tools to capture your current level of positivity, happiness, your values, your curiosity, anxiety can be found in The Compassion Fatigue Workbook or atAuthentic happiness .org
27 Learn about and commit to better self care. Take baby steps to make big changes beginPut your health firstSavour the positivity in your life, gratitude, curiosity, applications from Positive Psychology researchIncrease self compassionReconnect with the satisfaction with your work
28 To Increase Personal Happiness 1. Work on positivity2. Practice gratitude2. ‘Three good things’ exercise3. Use your strengths in novel ways4. 15 minutes a day of doing nothing5. Learn something new
29 Resources, Credits Francoise Mathieu The Compassion Fatigue Workbook Webinar -Walking the walk , creating CF solutionsBlog, YouTube videos, websitePositivity -Barbara FredericksonMindfulness meditation -Jon Kabat ZinnPatricia Smith