"The term 'compassion fatigue' has been used to describe the negative effects experienced by caregivers, service providers, and other employees in certain high-stress fields resulting directly from repeated exposure to traumatized victims. Research has shown that compassion fatigue leads to an increase in direct negative impacts on clients."* To ensure we are providing zealous representation to our clients, we must address compassion fatigue. Here are five ways to get you started:
- Take care of yourself. Start small. Have a cup of coffee, take a nap, read for pleasure, write, take a walk, listen to music, or find 5 minutes to meditate.
- Connect with a friend. Pick up the phone and have a conversation or find a time to meet in person.
- Learn to say no. Say no to working over lunch, bringing work home with you, or scheduling your most problematic cases for Friday afternoons.
- In the work place: Find two people in your workplace who are a positive resource for you. Celebrate the silly and the irrelevant, bring in birthday cakes and have potlucks.
- Find opportunities to purposefully engage in conversations about moving the work forward both locally and nationally.
If you want to learn more:
Addressing Compassion Fatigue: An Ethical Mandate (90-minute teleconference)
» Download the Materials
The Hidden Cost of Empathy: How to Address Secondary Trauma Stress in a Child Law Office (article)
Tips for Young Lawyers: How to Avoid Burnout as a Children's Lawyer (article)
Compassion Fatigue: Caveat Caregiver? (article)*