Building Compassion Fatigue Resilience: Awareness, Prevention, and Intervention for Pre-Professionals and Current Practitioners
Compassion fatigue (CF), or the extreme stress and burnout from helping others, is widely considered to be harmful to professional well-being. Due to a lack of awareness and education around CF in healthcare professionals, mental health clinicians may feel particularly unsure about how to treat these common symptoms. There is considerable symptom overlap between CF and several other presentations, including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, insomnias, and substance abuse disorders. Evidenced-based assessments designed to measure symptoms of CF are discussed, as well as screening measures for overlapping presentations. Treating fellow clinicians and pre-professionals comes with unique ethical considerations, most notably privacy concerns that may impact professional development. The culture of training programs does not adequately prepare pre-professionals for psychological well-being. As psychologists, it is our ethical responsibility to advocate for changes in graduate education and at our training sites. By utilizing evidenced-based strategies, such as acceptance and commitment therapy, we can assist professionals and pre-professionals in building resilience as they navigate a career in the helping professions.