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Helping the Helping Professional:
Compassion Fatigue
Secondary Trauma

One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” – Unknown

Image by Ave Calvar

Secondary traumatic stress is the emotional distress that results when an individual hears or has exposure to the firsthand trauma experiences of another. Human service professionals are at an increased rate for exposure to indirect trauma experiences. For therapists, child welfare workers, case managers, nurses, attorneys, law enforcement officers, and other helping professionals involved in the care of traumatized persons, the essential act of listening to traumatic  stories may compromise a professional's emotional functioning and diminish their quality of life. 

Compassion fatigue can also occur for professionals who work in the human service field.  They are at risk for compassion fatigue as a result of the caring nature of their work.  The greatest strength of the helping professional is usually the empathy they display in their interactions with others.  However, this empathy can also challenge them over time, as they begin to feel overwhelmed and fatigued, which could lead to burnout.  

At Connected Therapy, we have made a conscious decision to seek out therapists who have worked in the human service fields, in many capacities.  Our therapists have served the community in various roles, such as first responder, child welfare, juvenile probation, palliative care, hospice care, hospital social work, emergency room social work, community mental health, inpatient psychiatric care, and the legal justice system.  We not only can connect to the community of helping professionals in a unique way, we also have specialized trainings in the areas of secondary trauma and compassion fatigue.

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