Factors affecting burnout and compassion fatigue in psychotherapists treating torture survivors: Is the therapist's attitude to working through trauma relevant?



In this study, a group of trauma therapists (N = 100) working with torture survivors was investigated with respect to the extent to which they advocated and practiced working through traumatic events as well as levels of symptomatology including compassion fatigue, burnout, and distress. Results showed that a combination of high advocacy and low degree of working through traumatic events was related to high symptomatology. Therapists with this combination showed more compassion fatigue, burnout, and distress than therapists who advocated and practiced working through traumatic events, as well as therapists who neither advocated nor practiced it. Results are discussed with respect to the pathogenic role of fear avoidance in therapists.