Lori Fralick ~ (775) 333-7789 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Why I became interested in this topic• Over 15 years in the field• Workaholic• I like to juggle a million things• Volunteer• Unhealthy boundaries• Not very good at saying no• No formal training on this topic from employers
How many of you…• Have been to a self care workshop before• Think your bosses/organizations recognize the need for self care• Have a self care plan
What We Will Cover• Why Are We Drawn to this Work?• Definitions of Compassion Fatigue/SPTS Vicarious Trauma /Burnout• Identify a “Healthy Advocate” Mindset• The Depths of Truly Renewing Your Spirit vs Bubble Baths, Candles, and Spa Treatments• Self Assessment of How the Work Affects You• Developing Your Own Self Care Plan ~
What Draws You to this Work?• Gives you value• Provides you satisfaction• Adrenaline• Truly wanting to help others• Huge heart and lots of empathy• Feel needed
Why Do We Need to Renew ourSpirit?• Exposed to terrible things• Emotionally exhausting• Long hours• Lack of recognition and/or appreciation• Organizational Trauma
Compassion Fatigue• Enduring negative psychological consequence of caregivers exposure to the traumatic experiences of victims in their care.
Secondary Post Traumatic StressSpecific form of PTSD• SPTS is a normal reaction to the stressful and sometimes traumatizing work with survivors.
Vicarious Trauma• In contrast to the cumulative nature of compassion fatigue, burnout, and SPTS, vicarious traumatization can emerge suddenly. It happens when you are actually traumatized during your job; for example, you have a traumatic reaction upon hearing a survivor’s account of her assault that is particularly painful to you, or you witness violence or its immediate aftermath.
Burnout• Depletion of physical and intellectual energy that happens when you are overworked, stressed, and involved in demanding situations over a long period of time.
“The effect and change on us comes from a multitude of directions; the stories from women and children, fellow staff members,volunteers, funders, management, boards of directors, our own personal stuff, the community “it’s everything.” – A rural anti-violence worker with 15 years’ experience
Not always just about WHATwe are exposed to, as much as it is about our own expectations,what we do or don’t do, and how and if we process it.
Impact on Organization• Morale • Client satisfaction• Stressful Environment • Reputation• High turnover • Low productivity• No turnover (economy) • Employee attendance• Lack of trust • Liability• Funding
Individual Impact• Physical • Inability to be open-• Emotional minded to others• Psychological beliefs ~ frustration ~ creates conflict and• Spiritually tension• Relationships suffer • Take things personally • Unhealthy boundaries
Some Effects Advocates MayExperience Include:• Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness• A sense of never being able to do enough• Hypervigilance• Fear• Guilt• Anger and Cynicism• Dissociative moments• Numbing• Diminished creativity
What Does All of this Mean? Inadequate level and quality of services to survivors.• A sigh on the phone, abruptness, a hint of irritation, or any interruption taints the trust and support victims need.• Are we self aware enough to notice them?• Are we looking for them?
This is Not About Us• Taking things personally is disastrous on so many levels. – Causes a defensiveness that stifles personal, systems, or organizational growth – Destroys relationships
PROFOUND THOUGHTProfessionals who work with victims gauge success on the victim’sactions rather than their experience with us which is all we can really control.
As Advocates We Know That~For most victims, their needs will change as their recovery processes and life circumstances shift, and new needs will emerge.~So, why do we not afford ourselves as advocates this same right?
“The work environment is sometimes moretraumatic on advocates than the violence we hear about.” – Rural front-line staff member for 15 years
“We are not healthy with each other even though we often provide a healthy environment or opportunities for the women we serve.” – Shelter staff
Victims:• Trying to get through each day• Stressing about finances• Exposed to violence• Unhealthy relationships• Environment may challenge personal values and beliefs• No rights• Fear• Distrust• Sadness• Stress• Etc.
The Reality Is…• All the yoga, bubble baths, candles, massages, chocolate, and pedicures in the world will do no long-term good if you do not change the way you think about your work. You will feel the same after a day or two because you have not changed the circumstances or your approach/mindset.
What is Self Care?• Effective self-care means raising your awareness of how well you are eating, sleeping, exercising, socializing, enjoying life, spending time with family, and participating in the hobbies and activities you love; then taking measures to make your own needs a priority.
Self Assess• How long have you been in the field?• Do you feel happy?• Do you feel satisfied?• Do you feel your stress/burnout is more related to the victims you serve or your work environment?• Do you feel hopeless?• Do you feel under appreciated?• Do you feel angry about your work situation?• Do you feel angry for the victims?• Do you question how you could be a part of the system?• Have you noticed any changes in yourself since you began this work (positive or negative)?
Continued• Have you been reprimanded for: – Absenteeism/tardiness – Poor communication – Negative attitude – Increase in mistakes – Conflicts with co-workers – Decrease in quality or quantity – Defensiveness/Not taking responsibility
Develop Creative Selfishness• The behavior that allows you to care for yourself without feeling guilty. Living your life with respect to you!• When to Do It – If the idea of taking time for yourself if so foreign you needed me to explain it to you. – Saying no to someone makes you cringe. – You are clueless what a personal boundary is.
Personal Strategies to Renew YourSpirit• Awareness – Be attuned to needs, limits, emotions, and resources. Mindfulness and acceptance.• Balance – Among activities, work/play/rest. Inner balance.• Connection – To oneself, others, and something larger.
Other Tips• Stop being mean/territorial/negative• Mend or build a professional relationship• Debrief• Celebrate• Sing, dance, laugh• Identify toxic people and avoid• All the good stuff ~ massage, pedicure, exercise, aromatherapy, good food, journaling, vacations, shopping, music, read, etc.
Professional Strategies toRenew Your Spirit• Create a Balance in Duties• Re-adjust work loads• Creativity• Mindset• Projects• Propose change• Change work environment
Make a Commitment to Yourself• Write down 3 things in the following areas to help you Renew Your Spirit: – Personally – Professionally – Organizationally
Your Great Worth Activity• Objective is to overcome barriers that keep advocates from receiving the full measure of self-esteem and self-worth available from their work.
IF YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO, YOU WILL NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE.
References• Health Canada (2006). Guidebook on Vicarious Trauma: Recommended Solutions for Anti-Violence Workers.• Hook, Melissa (2005). Ethics in Victim Services. MD: Sidran Press• Rosenbloom, D., A. Pratt, and L. Pearlman. 995. “Helpers’ Responses to Trauma Work: Understanding and Intervening in an Organization.” In B. Hundnall Stamm (Ed.), Secondary Traumatic Stress: Self-Care Issues for Clinicians, Researchers and Educators (pp. 65–79). Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press.• Schauben, L., and P. Frazier. 1995. “Vicarious Traumatization: The Effects on Female Counselors of Working with Sexual Violence Survivors.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 9: 49–54.