Compassion fatigue describes “the overall experience of emotional and physical fatigue that social service professionals experience due to chronic use of empathy when engaging with service users who are suffering in some way” (Newell & MacNeil, 2010). There is evidence that compassion fatigue increases when a social care worker sees that a client is not “getting better” (Corcoran, 1987). Yet, a large part of compassion fatigue is built directly into the fabric of the kind of work social care workers do. It is acknowledged that social care workers often work in challenging environments, where traumatised and vulnerable service users can present with challenging, aggressive or even violent behaviours (Keogh & Byrne, 2016). Research indicates that as a result of these challenges, the incidences of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and burnout is significantly high within the social care profession.
Moreover, research highlights the significant detrimental effects, on the individual, the organisation and service users themselves, of compassion fatigue, where not recognised and addressed appropriately. This workshop aims to enhance understanding and awareness of the signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue, identify steps to prevent and/or minimise risk of experiencing compassion fatigue as well as providing participants with a self-care toolkit from which to draw that aims to aid resiliency in professional practice.
Course Learning Outcomes
The course provider is Jennifer Reidy, BA Social Care is extremely passionate about the issue of compassion fatigue having undertaken her research dissertation on this topic. As a workshop facilitator and social care practitioner, she regularly practices self-care techniques developed and provided as part of a self-care tool kit. She regularly presents and delivers workshops on compassion fatigue and related topics. She has many years of experience working in the social care field, thus understands the complexities and challenges of frontline practice.