Compassion fatigue: Psychotherapists' chronic lack of self care
Article first published online: 29 OCT 2002
Copyright © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 58, Issue 11, pages 1433–1441, November 2002
How to Cite
Figley, C. R. (2002), Compassion fatigue: Psychotherapists' chronic lack of self care. J. Clin. Psychol., 58: 1433–1441. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10090
- Issue published online: 29 OCT 2002
- Article first published online: 29 OCT 2002
Psychotherapists who work with the chronic illness tend to disregard their own self-care needs when focusing on the needs of clients. The article discusses the concept of compassion fatigue, a form of caregiver burnout among psychotherapists and contrasts it with simple burnout and countertransference. It includes a multi-factor model of compassion fatigue that emphasizes the costs of caring, empathy, and emotional investment in helping the suffering. The model suggests that psychotherapists that limiting compassion stress, dealing with traumatic memories, and more effectively managing case loads are effective ways of avoiding compassion fatigue. The model also suggests that, to limit compassion stress, psychotherapists with chronic illness need to development methods for both enhancing satisfaction and learning to separate from the work emotionally and physically in order to feel renewed. A case study illustrates how to help someone with compassion fatigue. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol/In Session 58: 1433–1441, 2002.