When you spend so much of your time focusing on the wellbeing of others, it can feel as though their trauma becomes your trauma, in something known as secondary traumatic stress.
The populations we work with often have systematic barriers to accessing care and maintaining their own wellbeing. It can feel as though we are trying to plug a small hole in a sinking boat when our actions seem to have no lasting impact. This feeling of helplessness and anger at the seeming futility of your actions is called burnout.
These two factors together combine in compassion fatigue, a group of symptoms typically characterized by a reduced capacity for empathy towards those you serve. Compassion fatigue is a type of work-related stress common in the caring and protective professions.
|Symptoms of Burnout||Symptoms of secondary traumatic stress|