Saturday, September 3, 2011

Compassion Fatigue

Two weeks ago Momma attended a seminar on Compassion Fatigue offered at the shelter where she volunteers, Wayside Waifs. So we told her she could our blog to tell you about it. 

(grumbles: I still think we shoulda charged her a usage fee. Like TREaTS for a WEeK! But noooooo, Maxie had to go and be all Gracious and stuff. *sigh*)

For those of you who aren't familiar with Compassion Fatigue, it's what can happen when a caregiver (of humans or animals) focuses on others without taking care of themselves.

Last Monday, Wayside Waifs flew in an expert on Compassion Fatigue. I know it's not the same as being there, but Jana Svoboda has also written about it on her blog, and there's some really helpful information there.

Here's how she describes CF:

Animal shelter workers and other workers in fields where needs outweigh resources, and where empathy is a crucial part of the call to service are at high risk for compassion fatigue.  Like burnout, CF can suck the joy out of doing important work.  But while one can burn out at any job, compassion fatigue is associated with jobs in which the worker is exposed to suffering and trauma.  Also known as secondary traumatic stress or vicarious trauma, one doesn't have to be the victim of life's precariousness to feel the effects of witnessing it. "

I hope passing this info along can help someone else as much as Jana's lecture helped me.




  1. Excellent post dear friend. I certainly think that can happen - I just never knew the name for it. Take care of yourself first dear friend.

  2. Fanks U Mario! We plan to SIT on Mommy allweekend - MOL!! You do same for M,'k?

  3. I'd not heard of the name either, but I have seen it in people. Thanks for blogging about it.

  4. What a great post. We've seen fellow volunteers go through this, we just never knew there was a name for it. Thanks for the great info!


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