Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue, sometimes called "secondary traumatic stress disorder," is a combination of symptoms most commonly seen among those who work directly with victims of trauma, disaster, or illness, especially in the healthcare industry. When caregivers don't have the opportunity or energy to practice self-care in the midst of helping others, compassion fatigue can result. Symptoms of compassion fatigue can mimic those of chronic stress and often include feelings of apathy and isolation. Working with a mental health professional can help prevent the onset of compassion fatigue by helping caregivers develop mechanisms to manage and cope with stress, and build in time for self-care. If you are already feeling the stress of compassion fatigue, a qualified therapist can help you to recover. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s compassion fatigue experts today.

Meet the specialists

As a helper myself, I know that I need to be fully supported in order to do my best work. No matter what your work is, we all need help and care to do our best.

— Jeanie Winstrom, Therapist in Troy, MT

When you give of yourself in an emotionally charged environment and exposed to other people's pain it can take a toll and negatively effect your daily life.

— DEANA KAHLE, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Bernardino, CA

After working for nearly a decade in the field of geriatric mental health, supporting family and professional caregivers, I have developed a particular passion for teaching and supporting clients to care for themselves in order to be more effective, compassionate, and healthy caregivers to others. After moving into private practice that passion has branched out into a deeper understanding of how we are ALL caregivers, responsible for (at a minimum) caring for ourselves within a culture that actively prevents or detracts from a healthy balance between what we need to be healthy and what we have to give to our loved ones, our clients, our jobs, our children, or our passion projects. We’re an exhausted culture with no permission to slow down or give our sacred and compassionate “NO,” and it’s my professional mission to give every one of my clients those permission slips. Less burn out, more balance.

— Brandice Schnabel, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in North Canton, OH

Are you a fellow therapist, social worker, crisis responder, activist, or caregiver? Do you feel burned out, numb, and empty? Do you feel chronically stressed, overreactive, unable to sleep or to slow down your racing thoughts? Do you despair at the fate of the world? Do you resent your clients and loved ones, while at the same time feeling guilty that you cannot do more to help? I specialize in compassion fatigue and burnout using a social justice and integrative self-care framework.

— Stephanie Winn, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

Compassion fatigue/caregiver burnout impacts individuals working in a caregiver capacity. Nurses, doctors, mental health professionals, individuals caring for their aging parents, parents with children having special needs . . . many professions and circumstances. Often individuals are so busy caring for others, they lose sight of how to care for self. Therapy assists in developing greater awareness of symptoms and offers healthy coping strategies for self care.

— Robin Leichtman, Counselor in Lyndhurst, OH

Compassion Fatigue can impact those who work in healing professions (such as therapists, nurses, teachers, etc.), caregivers to others who struggle with physical or emotional health, as well as those who have a pattern of taking on the role of caregiver in their relationships. Together we can explore your experience, establish effective support and self-care, and implement effective boundaries to prevent you from career or relational burn-out.

— Kayla Estenson Williams, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , MN

It has been especially gratifying to me over the years to be a helper to fellow helpers. Whether you are a counselor, medical professional, firefighter/EMT or other first responder, a pastor or other person on the front lines of human suffering, if would be my honor to support you in relieving the burdens you carry and gaining some tools to prevent such fatigue in the future.

— Christie Bates, Licensed Professional Counselor in Oxford, MS

Looking at symptoms of burnout (especially for those in the helping fields), performance anxiety, loss of passion, work anxiety.

— Aimee Monterrosa, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles,

You’ve noticed you are burned out from taking care of everyone else. You’ve tried taking some time away, clearing your mind to de-stress, but it hasn’t worked out as well as you’d hoped. You’re looking for ways to feel energized again but the hectic pace of your life, and the intense needs of those you take care of, are holding you back. When you schedule time with Jeanene, you will start to see that finding ways to take care of yourself is possible.

— Jeanene Wolfe, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

One of my passions and focus in therapy has been to help the helper. I work with Social Workers and Therapist who experience compassion fatigue as occupational hazard. Because of the situations that lead us to compassion fatigue part of the direction of therapy is to be the sounding board for you to empty the weight you carry and then fill your bucket with hope, direction, and renewed strength.

— Tiffany Pardo, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Vacaville, CA

It is also best to slow down, heal, and make deliberate, rather than reactive decisions, regarding compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue includes elements of burnout, but adds a dimension of being 'traumatized second-hand'. That is, those at risk for compassion fatigue deal with or hear about struggles, injuries, illness, and upsetting stories, repeatedly. It can be a major help to have a place and therapeutic relationship to help steady you in such pursuits / responsibilities.

— Christopher Michael, Clinical Psychologist in Claremont, CA

First Responders and caregivers suffer from Compassion Fatigue which can interfere with living a healthy & happy life. Let me help you enjoy your job again, bring you closer to your family, and find true joy in your life.

— Melissa Smith, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Louisville, KY

I specialize in Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma. I am a Certified Compassion Fatigued Professional (CCFP). If you are a professional helper beginning to feel burnt out or traumatized by your work, this is a normal reaction that occurs to professional helpers. You can grow and cope with it! You owe it to yourself, family, friends, and clients to take action.

— Deah Partak, Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

Christine provides clinical supervision to graduate interns as well as professionals who are working towards licensure. She encourages professional caregivers to make self-care a priority, become more mindful, practice balance, and thrive rather than exist. She has worked to support physicians as they navigate professional pressures and attempt to maintain balance in their lives.

— Christine Turo-Shields, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Greenwood, IN

Does caring for other leave you feeling drained. Is your calendar full of events and activities to support others. Do you have problems with guilt or second guessing doing things for yourself? Are you loyal so much to other things, causes, and responsibilities that are you just your title or your role but cannot identify with who you are outside of your role as a mom, dad, business owner, therapist, fire fighter, police officer, student, advocate, employee, and ____________ (insert yours here).

— Jessica Jefferson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Davie, FL

My work in the field of trauma has led me to understand how secondary trauma & burnout (compassion fatigue) impacts helping professionals. I am passionate about helping helping professionals THRIVE in the work we do for our communities. The experience of compassion fatigue is not your fault. Instead, it is often caused by increasing caseloads, ongoing trauma that clients and those we help experience, and policies that are not conducive to a culture of self-care. My role as a therapist is to help you to create/enhance your self-care plan, increase self-compassion in the midst of healing from compassion fatigue, and to help facilitate trauma processing as you seek to heal from the impacts of compassion fatigue on your mind, body, and spirit.

— Jaja Chen, Social Worker in Waco, TX

It is common for animal care professionals (veterinarians, vet techs, wildlife rehabbers, zoo keepers, support staff, etc) to develop burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, suicidal thoughts, and depression. As a fur-mom and animal lover, it is my honor to give you a space to process, build coping skills, and set boundaries to improve work/life balance, improve self-care, and carry on with the important work you do.

— Ashton Burdick, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Mooresville, NC

Working with stress creates trauma for the professionals. Training in compassion fatigue is so helpful!

— Jessica Wright, Clinical Social Worker in Vandalia, IL

I understand the complexities of compassion fatigue that it plays a part in all areas of your life.

— Rachel Moore, Counselor in Denver, CO

We all have inaccurate, negative self-talk we habitually hang onto and so strongly believe. It limits us from honestly, and clearly seeing and experiencing ourselves, others, and moments. Picture a life where your personal satisfaction is unconditional. It means you don’t need anything to change or be different for you to be happy. You can learn to say “it is what it is” and move on with your day rather than over-analyzing everything.

— Keesha Parker, Licensed Professional Counselor in Fort Smith, AR

Being a therapist, healer, caregiver is hard, but compassion fatigue isn't just stress. Biologically your body is firing up mirror neurons which can cause unexplained symptoms, no matter how many manicures and massages you get. Lets look at this holistically and create a plan for healing and prevention.

— Shannon Perrone, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Safety Harbor, FL

We as helpers and healers are at the front line of listening to traumatic stories, long work days, and high stressful environments. This leads to a state of indifference to those that are suffering and is one of the number reasons people leave their jobs and often times their careers in the helping professions. I have taken several training's in this area and pending approval will be certified as a compassion fatigue professional. I have a first hand knowledge of how this affects an individual and also what it feels like to overcome the pain of fearing your memories.

— Jennifer Webb, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Lexington, KY

I have direct experience supporting healthcare providers with the inevitable hazard of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue. It can be scary to feel this way as a healer, and it is my job to help you get back to feeling fulfilled at work!

— Jennifer Hughes, Psychologist in , TX

If you nurture others as part of your day to day job then you likely have experienced "compassion fatigue". We are told to take care of ourselves but trying to figure out exactly how to do that seems almost impossible! I would love to help you learn more about what self-care REALLY is, how to find the right system for your lifestyle and personality, and develop habits that actually mold into your daily life so that you feel the relief and self-love that accompanies a good system.

— Karen Harris, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Clackamas, OR

Are you a fellow therapist, social worker, crisis responder, activist, or caregiver? Do you feel burned out, numb, and empty? Do you feel chronically stressed, overreactive, unable to sleep or to slow down your racing thoughts? Do you despair at the fate of the world? Do you resent your clients and loved ones, while at the same time feeling guilty that you cannot do more to help? I specialize in compassion fatigue and burnout using a social justice and integrative self-care framework.

— Stephanie Winn, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

In a world that is in constant need, it is easy to experience burnout, compassion fatigue or secondary trauma. Did you set out to help others to find that you need help yourself? Let's get you the care you need, so that you can be well and continue helping others.

— Liz Adcock, Counselor in Atlanta, GA

In my 9-year career serving 8+ populations, I got a thorough understanding of the way Burnout and Compassion Fatigue syndromes show up for people. I provide informative talks in the community on this subject, as helping professionals are underserved. The focus is on developing sustaining practices that help them stay in positions they love longer, gain power in intervening in their own burnout cycles, and experience outcomes like Compassion Satisfaction and Post-traumatic Growth.

— Ginelle Krummey, Counselor in Asheville, NC

As a therapist and pastor I know first hand about compassion fatigue. I can discuss the never ending anxiety that accompanies helping others, working for justice and serving others. It's tiring. I get it. And having somewhere to process the fatigue is where I step in. Let's talk!

— Dawnn Pirani Brumfield, Pastoral Counselor in Chicago, IL

As a therapist that provides care to complex cases I am familiar with the potential of experiencing burnout & compassion fatigue. It is an honor to work with professionals across a variety of settings, such as nurses, physical therapists, doctors, military members, and all others within the helping professional world to explore stressors and identify ways to practice self-care. I am well-versed in working with individuals prone to compassion fatigue to ensure their valued work has limited impact

— Christina Wohleber, Psychologist in King of Prussia, PA

Are you exhausted? Running on empty? Too busy taking care of others to make time for yourself? I'm your person! I gave away all of my energies to others and left nothing for me at the end of the day. Finding a therapist for myself years ago, well, this made all the difference in the world to me! I'm no longer afraid to say "no", I have clearly defined boundaries, and more energy and time for my family - and for ME! Self care is NOT selfish!

— Shelley Shaffer, Counselor in Moose Lake, MN