Peer to Peer Counseling
Individuals in the “helping” professions are at the highest risk for compassion fatigue and burnout. Both may occur over time; however, there are differences.
Compassion fatigue is relational and generally occurs when professionals take it personally and make it their duty to help others. It has less to do with career-related goals and more to do with perceived “failure” of one’s caretaking strategies and desire to “rescue” others.
Compassion fatigue occurs:
- Acutely and suddenly.
- Tends to lead to emotions such as Guilt, frustration, lowered morale, powerlessness, and negative stress.
Burnout is reactional in nature and occurs due to work-related stressors. It can occur when several situations occur simultaneously or sequentially leading to a desire to withdraw and reduced empathy. Burnout is directly related to failed initial career-related goals.
- Gradually when compared to compassion fatigue.
- Tends to lead to emotions such as Withdrawal, fatigue, powerlessness, frustration, decreased empathy, and the desire to leave the place of employment.
Both compassion fatigue and burnout share similarities such as:
- Reduced sense of accomplishment.
- Less meaningful connection with work.
- Emotional exhaustion.
- Mental exhaustion.
- Physical exhaustion.
- Isolation and less social interaction.
- Depersonalization and disconnection.
Over the years, I have worked with other professionals to help them regain a sense of purpose and the passion they had for helping others. I work together with them to help them identify the ABCs of compassion fatigue and burnout. Together we regain:
- Awareness – that one is experiencing either a relational or reactional response to their work, relationships, and environment.
- Balance – identify ways to regain a healthy balance of work and home life.
- Connection – rebuild a sense of self-worth, efficacy, and interpersonal relationships with self and others.