Online Therapy for Burnout and Compassion Fatigue
Compassion Fatigue. Burnout. Spent. Exhausted. Depleted. Weary.
And my favorite: CRISPY
Any of those terms sound familiar to you? I spoke with a clinician this evening who said she felt a “heaviness” that she could not explain. She feels like the weight of the world of her shoulders. She worried that this is a feeling that could only be understood by someone who was also a helping professional. I totally understood what she meant, as a helping professional, I have felt this weight too.
These Feelings are Avoidable, With Help
My graduate students ask me if becoming “burned out” happens to everyone in this field. My answer always remains the same, only if you allow it to happen.
Ouch. That hurts to read, doesn’t it? Becoming crispy is something that is completely in our control. But, it’s also something that we tend to ignore when it’s happening to us. As helping professionals, we to be great at educating other people about self-care and burnout, but we don’t follow our own advice. Because we assume, that we can transcend the signs and symptoms of burnout. We think we can just power through. I bet you’ve told yourself that if you can just get through this crazy week, month, or year, then there will be time to sleep, engage in self-care or find a healthier work-life balance.
But that week never seems to happen, does it? You have one crazy week after another crazy week. Then, before you know it you are scheduling a vacation simply to sleep.
Then let’s add in a pandemic. Four months later and most are wondering when we will be able to get that break. Especially, when we’re still managing the emotional issues of all of our clients who are reacting to the world we are living in right now.
Compassion Fatigue vs. Burnout
According to the American Institute of Stress, the terms are defined as follows:
Also called “vicarious traumatization” or secondary traumatization (Figley, 1995). The emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events. It differs from burn-out, but can co-exist. Compassion Fatigue can occur due to exposure in one case or can be due to a “cumulative” level of trauma.
Cumulative process marked by emotional exhaustion and withdrawal associated with increased workload and institutional stress, NOT trauma-related. https://www.stress.org/military/for-practitionersleaders/compassion-fatigue
So what does that mean for you? Not much in the grand scheme of things. The residual impact feels the same for you and the intervention. However, there is a clear difference:
Compassion fatigue has a more rapid onset while burnout emerges over time. Compassion Fatigue has a faster recovery (less severe, if recognized and managed early). As a reminder (since I am aware that you teach all of these symptoms daily!) the symptoms vary from person to person but the symptoms include some of the following:
Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue and Signs of Burnout
- Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, helpless, or powerless when hearing about others’ suffering
- Anger, irritability, sadness, and anxiety
- Feeling detached from your surroundings or from our physical or emotional experience
- Emotional, psychological or physical exhaustion
- Reduced empathy
- Feeling hypersensitive or insensitive to stories we hear or to emotional material you hear or see
- Limited tolerance for stress.
- Thinking or dwelling around the suffering of the trauma survivors
- Self-blame or thoughts of “I should/could have done more”
- Changes in belief systems (such as belief about self, others, world, future) or meaning in life
- Reduced sense of personal and occupational accomplishment or efficacy
- Difficulty concentrating, focusing or making decisions.
- Nausea, dizziness, headaches
- Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
- Being tense, agitated, and on edge.
- Self-isolation and withdrawal
- Poor coping: alcohol use, self-medicating, and substance use
- Relationship conflict
- Feeling less efficient or productive at work
- Reduced pleasure in activities we used to enjoy and reduced work satisfaction.
See yourself on that list? Honestly, at certain times in my career, I have felt them. So, I get it. I know that you might be considering those umbrella drinks on a beautiful beach in Fiji…
You Can Reclaim the Passion You Once Had In Your Career
I know that there is a side of you that wants to continue to help your clients or patients. You’re looking for a way to continue to do what you love to do in a way in which you THRIVE instead of just surviving.
You need a plan. A plan to slow down, become grounded and participate in self-care activities. The pandemic has forced us to slow down and re-evaluate our lives. But, for helping professionals, the pandemic has only increased our hours and our fatigue. This means it has only increased our need to follow our own advice.
If the things I have discussed resonate with you, then let’s chat! I have a feeling we would be a great fit to work together. I offer online therapy for compassion fatigue and burnout. I’m committed to working with you to get you back to the high achiever you are – with realistic expectations of life, self, and those around you.
Begin Online Therapy for Burnout and Compassion Fatigue in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee
If you’re ready to feel good about yourself your life, and your career, then I’m here to help! I offer online therapy for burnout and compassion fatigue in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, California, and Pennsylvania. I also offer online therapy for busy professionals, online therapy for helping professionals, online anxiety therapy, online therapy for imposter syndrome, and Therapy for Therapists™. I specialize in using The Daring Way™ and offer online workshops to people wanting to overcome shame. Reach out to me today and let’s talk!