Do you remember the last time you picked up a book that you could not put down until you had read every last word?
I just had that great pleasure with Laurie Barkin’s book The Comfort Garden: Tales from the Trauma Unit. This is a story of how a dedicated and highly experienced psychiatric nurse found her way into the depths of vicarious trauma and burnout and travelled her way back out again, having learned many important things along the way: Lessons about a dysfunctional health care system, the lack of support often experienced by patients and staff alike, about moral distress, repeated trauma exposure, about the price health care professionals pay when managed care has stripped away the structure that allowed them to do their work safely and ethically.
Sometimes I feel like that’s what we do at the hospital. We hold up the weight of the world. And, in doing so, we hear screams and witness the suffering that sometimes becomes our screams and our suffering, only we choke it back and continue bearing the weight without complaining and without acknowledging that we too need relief. L. Barkin “The Comfort Garden” (2011)
Journal articles on Compassion Fatigue/Vicarious Trauma and Child Protection
For an extensive bibliography, please visit the Child Welfare Information gateway: Secondary Trauma in the Child Welfare Workforce 2000-present. Compiled bibliography:
Bennett, S., Plint, A., & Clifford, T.J. (2005) Burnout, psychological morbidity, job satisfaction, and stress: a survey of Canadian hospital based child protection professionals. Arch. Dis. Child. 90; 1112-1116.
Conrad, D. & Kellar-Guenther, Y. (2003) Compassion Fatigue, burnout and compassion satisfaction among Colorado child protection workers. Child Abuse & Neglect 30(2006) 1071-1080.
Osofksy, J. (2009) Perspectives on helping traumatized infants, young children and their families. Infant mental health journal. Vol. 30(6), 673-677.
Books/Articles on Compassion Fatigue/Vicarious Trauma/Trauma
Baranowsky, A. (2002). The silencing response in clinical practice: On the road to dialogue. In C.R. Figley (Ed.), Treating compassion fatigue. New York: Brunner/Routledge.
Bober, T. & Regehr, C. (2005) Strategies for Reducing Secondary or Vicarious Trauma: Do They Work? Brief treatment and crisis intervention advance access, Dec 30, 2005.
Courtois, C.A., & Ford, J.D. (2009). Treating complex traumatic stress disorders. New York: Guilford Press.
Figley, C.R. (Ed.). (1995). Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Figley, C.R. (Ed.). (2002). Treating compassion fatigue. New York: Brunner/Routledge.
Gentry, E. (2002). Compassion fatigue: A crucible of transformation. Journal of Trauma Practice, 1(3/4), 37–61. Note: To obtain a PDF of this article, simply Google “Gentry crucible of transformation” and download the article from his Web site: www.compassionunlimited.com. (For some reason, visiting his Web site directly does not work but using Google does.) Do not download the version from Gift From Within as it is not the complete article.
Killian, K. (2008). Helping till it hurts? A multimethod study of compassion fatigue, burnout, and self-care in clinicians working with trauma survivors. Traumatology, 14(2), 32–44.
Mathieu, F. (2012). The compassion fatigue workbook: Creative tools for transforming compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatization. New York: Routledge.
McCann, I.L., & Pearlman, L.A. (1990). Vicarious traumatization: A framework for understanding the psychological effects of working with victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 3, 131–149.
Pearlman, L.A., & Saakvitne, K.W. (1995). Trauma and the therapist: Countertransference and vicarious traumatization in psychotherapy with incest survivors. New York: W.W. Norton.
Remen, R.N., (1996). Kitchen table wisdom. New York: Riverhead Books.
Richardson, J. (2001). Guidebook on vicarious trauma: Recommended solutions for anti-violence workers. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: National Clearinghouse on Family Violence.
Rothschild, B. (2006). Help for the helper: The psychophysiology of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. New York: W.W. Norton.
Saakvitne, K.W., & Pearlman, L.A. (1995). Treating therapists with vicarious traumatization and secondary traumatic stress disorders. In C. Figley (Ed.), Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Saakvitne, K.W., Pearlman, L.A., & the staff of the Traumatic Stress Institute (1996). Transforming the pain: A workbook on vicarious traumatization. New York: W.W. Norton.
Stamm, B.H. (Ed.). (1999). Secondary traumatic stress: Self-care issues for clinicians, researchers, and educators (2nd Ed.). Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press.
van Dernoot Lipsky, L. & Burke, C. (2009). Trauma stewardship: An everyday guide to caring for self while caring for others. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
The University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work recently published a document called CW360 “Secondary Trauma and the Child Welfare Workforce.” It offers reflections from a number of child welfare specialists on secondary trauma from various perspectives: supervisors, foster parents, judges, rural workers, etc. It also has a comprehensive resource list and an “agency discussion guide” that provides key questions and discussion points for staff and managers. The best part about this compilation is that it’s free! Click here to access CW360.
Helping Those Who Help Traumatized Children: CII Hosts National Conference on Vicarious Trauma in November
Current research, prevention and self-care practices will be shared at “Vicarious Trauma: Wellness Strategies for Helping Professionals and Their Organizations,” this year a two-day event planned for November 8 and 9, 2012, at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. This national conference is part of an ongoing calendar of professional support activities presented by Children’s Institute’s S. Mark Taper Foundation Child Trauma Training Academy. Co-sponsors include the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and Joyful Heart Foundation.
Secondary trauma and burnout are pressing issues for family service professionals nationwide, yet few opportunities exist to address the subject and offer valuable resources and solutions. This conference brings together some of the country’s leading experts in the field, including Françoise Mathieu, MEd, CCC, director of Compassion Fatigue Solutions, Inc.; Thema Bryant-Davis, Ph.D, director of the Culture and Trauma Research Lab at Pepperdine University; Jerry Tello, author and expert on multicultural healing; and Jaiya John, Ph.D, founder of Soul Water Rising. Presentations will provide useful tools and skill-building to help professional caregivers recognize traumatic stress and practice greater self-care.
“The number of children in Los Angeles who suffer from trauma is staggering and to compound the problem, child welfare professionals and caregivers often do not have access to the latest knowledge and tools to effectively help them,” says CII President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Emmons. “The Vicarious Trauma Conference provides them with significant support and resources while raising public awareness of this critical need.”
CII has created one of the nation’s strongest models for working with children who have been affected by violence—child abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, domestic violence, gang violence, and violence in schools and neighborhoods. The S. Mark Taper Foundation Child Trauma Training Academy draws on the agency’s long history of providing professional trainings and disseminating innovative program models by offering evidence-based practices—treatments that have been shown over time to be effective—to large agencies like the L.A. County Departments of Mental Health (DMH) and Children and Family Services (DCFS), as well as community-based organizations.
Here is the audio recording of the Virtual Book Launch held on April 16 2012 of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook. The full webinar, with slides and audio is available by clicking here.
Thank you to those who attended the live webcast! I was very touched by your emails and your feedback.
Please remember that the book draw, referred to in the audio file was only for the live event and is now closed. If you wish to purchase a copy of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook, you can go to our Store and follow the links.
Thanks! I hope to offer more webinars in the future.
Update: The winner of the book draw is Rhonda Leblanc from Nova Scotia. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Focusing on Organizational Health and Hands-on Wellness Strategies
Full Program now available!
Here is the amazing lineup for the June 12-13, 2012 Compassion Fatigue Conference which will be held in Kingston, Ontario. I am thrilled to be able to bring together such a talented and diverse group of presenters. Take a look below – your biggest challenge will be deciding which workshops to attend! Please don’t delay in signing up, though – last year, this was a sold out event. Click here for registration information.
Over ten years ago, Robin Cameron and I met over coffee and talked about the pressing need for more resources on compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. That conversation lasted for hours and at the end of that day, we had decided to do as much research as we could and design a compassion fatigue workshop that would speak to the needs of helpers around us. Walking the Walk, our one day compassion fatigue workshop, was the product of this meeting of the minds.
For the past decade, we have wanted to offer a coaching group for helpers but the time was never right (babies, a round the world trip, work, life got in the way). Well, now we are ready!
Robin and I are thrilled to be able to offer this unique experience: an eight week coaching group for 8 helping professionals in Kingston! This group starts on April 17th and will offer 5 in person sessions as well as email support and tons of additional resources for eight weeks.
Click here to read more
Here is an interesting new blog post by Dr Robert Muller of York University which explore the ways in which professional interpreters (aka translators) can be deeply impacted by their work, particularly with trauma survivors and refugees. I remember being told the same thing by a sign language interpreter last year. She said (and I quote loosely) “you know when the signer is angry? Well I have to express that anger to the listener, I am the channel through which the anger, or whatever other emotion is being expressed, passes through. It can be very draining work from that perspective.”