Thursday, April 8, 2021

Helping Doctors to reduce the risk of compassion fatigue

I often hear that counseling work can be very emotional draining. This is especially true for highly empathetic individuals.

When we sense another person’s pain, suffering, and sadness, we may unconsciously take on those feelings as our own feelings, and then hold their feelings with those same feelings of pain, suffering, sadness.

If this rings true for you, then this may be the perfect recipe for compassion fatigue. It will be very exhausting.

There is an alternative...

We can learn to hold the pain, suffering, and sadness of others, with our own feelings of care, compassion and kindness. So what WE FEEL is care, compassion, and kindness, and not pain, suffering, and sadness.

Those feelings of care, compassion, and kindness, are what will make counseling enjoyable, rewarding, and sustainable.

The question is, which way are we adopting?

If we choose the first way, then it’s probably not going to be very emotionally sustainable in the long term.

The key is to be mindful or “defused/unhooked” from the feelings of others, and zoom in or “fuse” with our feelings or values around compassion and kindness to guide our actions. 

Many make the mistake of “fusing” with the feelings of others, and this will increase the likelihood of compassion fatigue.  

The other common mistake in counseling is to try and detach from all emotions....  Theirs and ours. 

That’s probably not an enjoyable experience either. 

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