"Empathic Discernment " by Dr. Charles Figley

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"Empathic Discernment " by Dr. Charles Figley

  1. 1. Empathic Discernment: The Key to Preventing Compassion Fatigue<br />Charles R. Figley, Ph.D.<br />Professor and the Henry Kurzweg, MD Chair in Disaster Mental Health<br />Tulane University School of Social Work, New Orleans, USA<br />
  2. 2. Purpose:<br />Recognize and avoid the Compassion Fatigue and promote resilience<br />Caring as much for ourselves as we care for the traumatized<br />Appreciate the importance of empathic discernment for both.<br />
  3. 3. Objectives:<br />Appreciate the various sources of stress among counselors including the demand to be compassionate with suffering clients – especially fellow survivors of Katrina.<br />Define the critical concepts, including empathic discernment. <br />Describe two useful models for predicting compassion fatigue and the role of empathic discernment.<br />Note the various ways counselors cope with these demands – effectively and ineffectively.<br />Be better prepared to prevent and be resilient in a post-Katrina work environment.<br />
  4. 4. Working with the suffering requires compassion<br />Compassion requires empathy, interest, and contact<br />Exposure to clients’ distress can be distressing for the caregiver, particularly if the distress is associated with the counselor’s own experiences.<br />4<br />Basic Caregiver Resilience Assumptions <br />
  5. 5. Basic Assumptions (cont.)<br />Exposure can also be inspiring. The services provided generate a sense of pride and satisfaction.<br />Most counselors have the ability to survive, be resilient, and thrive <br />Resilience is the antidote to compassion fatigue.<br />5<br />
  6. 6. Definitions of Critical Concepts<br />Work-related stress: The demands of one’s job that are applied in the work setting but affect other settings as well.<br />Caregiver Resilience: The tendency to cope with the work-related stress naturally or through the help of others (organization and or colleagues, friends, and family<br />
  7. 7. Psychological Burnout:<br />the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in one’s work that is most often corrected by changing work settings or clients (Altman & Jackson, 2005). <br />
  8. 8. Compassion stress<br />The perceived demands derived from experiencing the suffering of others and wanting to help relieve their suffering in some way (Figley, 1995; 2002)<br />
  9. 9. Compassion Satisfaction<br />The perceived joys derived from experiencing the suffering of others and succeeding in helping to relieve their suffering in some way (Figley, 2002)<br />
  10. 10. Empathic Discernment<br />Effectiveness in accurately selecting and using the best empathic response for both client and self (Radey & Figley, 2007)<br />
  11. 11. Compassion Fatigue (CF) is<br />the experience of short-term exhaustion and traumatic stress reactions associated with exposure to the suffering one’s clients(Boscarino, Figley & Adams, 2004). <br />
  12. 12. Plain old job burnout stems from dissatisfaction with the work environment<br />Vs<br />compassion fatigue stems from absorbing the suffering of clients<br />
  13. 13. Empathic Discernmentis the key ingredient for <br />Avoiding both burnout and compassion fatigue<br />A case example: Animal caregivers<br />
  14. 14. Humane Society of the US<br />Organization dedicated to helping and managing abused, neglected, and abandoned animals<br />Members of the animal care community include those who rescue animals, care for their medical and psychological needs, or who must euthanize them.<br />Here is a short film about compassion fatigue<br />
  15. 15. Compassion Fatigue Research<br />Example of the Animal Care Community research (2003-2006)<br />Resulting in a book <br />and a short film<br />
  16. 16. National sample of animal care workers (Roop & Figley, 2006) (cont.)<br />Compassion Fatigue risk<br />53.1% extremely high risk<br />12.4% high risk<br />11.9 %moderate risk<br />Burnout risk<br />45.6% extremely low <br />35.9% moderate risk <br />Compassion Satisfaction<br />43.0% good<br />21.4% high<br />3.9% extremely high<br />
  17. 17. CF Theory: Based on more than 10 years of research<br />The following 11-factor model identifies the major factors contributing to compassion stress, fatigue, and management.<br />
  18. 18. The Compassion Fatigue Process:<br />
  19. 19. Implications<br />1. Compassion fatigue hurts counselors of the suffering<br />2. Compassion fatigue blues can be avoided or stopped<br />3. The way to do it is focusing on EMPATHIC DISCERNMENT<br />
  20. 20. Figure 1: Transformation to compassion fatigue or compassion satisfaction: ROLE OF POSITIVE AFFECT (Radey & Figley, 2007)<br />
  21. 21. (Positive) Affect<br />Provides essential foundation in meeting client needs (e.g., empathic response, therapeutic alliance) <br />as well as the caregiver needs (e.g., joy of service and its appreciation by all). <br />
  22. 22. Figure 2: Transformation to compassion fatigue or compassion satisfaction: SELF CARE!<br />
  23. 23. Self-care<br />Self-care involves <br />Self-monitoring<br />Social supportive monitoring<br />Utilizing an individually-designed and updated self-care plan<br />Following recognized standards of self-care<br />
  24. 24. Self-care (cont.)<br />The negative consequences of poor self-care:<br />Harm to clients<br />Lowered compassion satisfaction<br />Harm to the caregiver’s health and relationships<br />
  25. 25. Figure 2: Transformation to compassion fatigue or compassion satisfaction: Increasing RESOURCES (Radey & Figley, 2007)<br />
  26. 26. Resources ARE IMPORTANT<br />They include Intellectual, unit morale, effective leadership, and physical resources <br />Intellectual resources includes helping and other practice skills<br />
  27. 27. Resources (cont.)<br />Physical Resources from<br />Enhanced recreational resources<br />Opportunities to exercise <br />Good nutrition through the cafeteria<br />Contact with nature <br />Personal space and opportunities to use it<br />
  28. 28. Figure 2: Transformation to compassion fatigue or compassion satisfaction: EMPATHIC DISCERNMENT (Radey & Figley, 2007)<br />
  29. 29. Empathic Discernment<br />Helps in balancing and increasing three independent factors in the process of human services with the suffering: Resources, Affect, and Self-care (RAS)<br />It is the gateway to determining how much fatigue and satisfaction can be derived from the work of caregiving<br />Thus, empathic discernment ultimate is a measure of caregiver resilience<br />
  30. 30. Stress Management Strategies for Enhancing Empathic Discernment<br />
  31. 31. Stress Management Resiliency<br />In vivo (working with clients)<br />Breath-work<br />Self-talk<br />Physical movement (walking, bikes, basketball, etc.)<br />
  32. 32. Stress Management Resiliency (cont.)<br />Between Clients at Work <br />Breathing Meditation <br />Prayer and Meditation <br />Visualization (e.g., safe place) <br />Dance and Other Kinesthetic Treatments <br />
  33. 33. Stress Management Resiliency (cont.)<br />Journaling <br />Art Therapy <br />Music Therapy <br />Poetry Therapy <br />All hobbies and absorbing activities <br />Music and Other Creative Therapies <br />
  34. 34. Treating Compassion Fatigue<br />Caregivers deserve as good a treatment as they are providing.<br />Most treatments of anxiety disorders are relevant for CF<br />The challenge is establishing and maintaining a strong therapeutic alliance with the caregiver client<br />
  35. 35. September 2008<br />35<br />Treatment Implications<br />Focusing on Desensitization of the traumatized worker<br />Assessment of currently available approaches<br />
  36. 36. Conclusions<br />1. You deserve as good a treatment as you provide the traumatized<br />2. Caring for yourself results in being a more effective <br />counselor,<br />Family member and friend, and<br />Human being <br />
  37. 37. Questions, Answers, Discussion <br />Contact information:<br />CharlesFigley.Com<br />Figley@tulane.edu<br />

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