Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Trauma and Burn out

Categories: Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue refers to stress that occurs from helping and willingness to help those people that are undergoing through trauma. It may cause apathy, sickness, and anger and it may be hard to come back from that feeling (Figley 1433). Burn out, on the other hand, refer to physical and emotional exhaustion. While secondary trauma may occur when an individual is exposed to people who have experienced trauma themselves (Jenkins 425). To respond in compassion fatigue, burn out and secondary trauma, one needs to watch out for the signs and work to prevent them.

One requires to take notes and indicate the symptoms and also self-asses on a regular basis. The other way one can respond is by being kind to themselves. This help to prevent further damage. One should also access and nurture support to help one recover. One may even respond by writing in a journal. Getting ones feeling and thoughts down on a piece of a paper are found to be very therapeutic.

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Journaling is free and does not take much time. It thus helps one to process thoughts and may help one to find solutions and also be able to make hard decisions.

I feel that I can help reduce my risk of burn out, compassion fatigue and secondary trauma by using positive ways to cope with stress. After a tough day, one requires coping strategies that are positive and healthy. One may meditate, take a hot bath, call a friend or work out. I should always be aware of changes in my level of burn out and compassion fatigue.

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The level of stress and how one feels about caregiving can change depending on one health. I can hence rate my feeling on a scale of 1-10. This may help one take a significant action before reaching a severe stage.

Spending quality time with friends can also help me to reduce the risk of burn out, compassion fatigue and secondary. Social connection helps one to maintain balance while caregiving. This is a great way to take one’s mind away from worries associated with caregiving. I also feel that I can help to reduce my risk of burn out, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue by spending time on hobbies. Taking time regularly on hobbies is a great way to take a break from caregiving. This help to improve great health and quality of life.

My self-care plan is to make myself care a priority. I believe self-care is very essential for long term caregiving. It helps one to maintain mental and physical health and also protect one from compassion fatigue, burning out and also from secondary trauma. It might feel a bit selfish for one to take time for themselves but taking care of oneself isn’t a luxury. Hence, myself care plan involves exercising regularly, having a good sleep routine and also having quality sleep. Eating a healthy diet is also a part of my program. I should also take time to myself each day and get help when necessary.

I also plan to join the caregiver support groups since they are filled with people who have similar situations. These groups can help one to significantly improve their quality of life since one feels less alone. Hence, one is in a position to obtain advice on how to handle different situations and also learn new coping skills (Zastrow 143). My self-care plan also include accepting where I am on my path at all times. Hence, am in a position to understand that that those individual that are close to I may not be present when I need them to be.

I feel that compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and burn out can affect the investigation and intervention of child abuse. First, a person experiencing compassion fatigue or burnouts may have trouble when making decisions. The decisions made by a caregiving person who is suffering may end up affecting the interventions and investigations of child abuse cases. A caregiver who is responsible for the situation may feel irritated and angry and hence may end up skipping some information which may be useful in the case. They end up having a feeling of empathy or sympathy to their patients, and they end up taking sides. Taking sides in such cases hinders the intervention since it becomes hard to tell whether child abuse act was intentional or caused by other factors. Emotionally unstable parents and other individuals may mistreat the kids, and this factor should be put into consideration.

Secondary trauma, compassion fatigue and burn out may also affect the intervention and investigation of child abuse since one is affected by other people’s trauma. The person affected by either burn out, compassion fatigue or secondary trauma may have increased emotional intensity. This may affect the investigation of child abuse. Hence, these factors have an adverse outcome on a person which may leave some of the child cases unresolved. Also, these factors may also contribute to resolving the child abuse case without considering all the evidence. This is because the caregiver example police is too exhausted to perform through research. They hence proceed to pass their judgment based on their instincts.


  1. Figley, Charles R. ‘Compassion fatigue: Psychotherapists’ chronic lack of self care.’ Journal of clinical psychology 58.11 (2002): 1433-1441.
  2. Jenkins, Sharon Rae, and Stephanie Baird. ‘Secondary traumatic stress and vicarious trauma: A validational study.’ Journal of Traumatic Stress: Official Publication of The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 15.5 (2002): 423-432.
  3. Ochberg frank. Criminal justice. Compassion fatigue, secondary PTSD, vicarious PTSD, Difference. 2011.
  4. Office of victims of crime. Criminal justice. Addressing vicarious trauma in first responders. 2017.
  5. Zastrow, Charles. ‘Understanding and preventing burn-out.’ The British Journal of Social Work 14.1 (1984): 141-155.

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Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Trauma and Burn out. (2021, Dec 17). Retrieved from

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