What is Compassion Fatigue?

Studies confirm that caregivers play host to a high level of compassion fatigue. Day in, day out, workers struggle to function in care giving environments that constantly present heart wrenching, emotional challenges. Affecting positive change in society, a mission so vital to those passionate about caring for others, is perceived as elusive, if not impossible. This painful reality, coupled with first-hand knowledge of society's flagrant disregard for the safety and well being of the feeble and frail, takes its toll on everyone from full time employees to part time volunteers. Eventually, negative attitudes prevail.

Compassion Fatigue symptoms are normal displays of chronic stress resulting from the care giving work we choose to do. Leading traumatologist Eric Gentry suggests that people who are attracted to care giving often enter the field already compassion fatigued. A strong identification with helpless, suffering, or traumatized people or animals is possibly the motive. It is common for such people to hail from a tradition of what Gentry labels: other-directed care giving. Simply put, these are people who were taught at an early age to care for the needs of others before caring for their own needs. Authentic, ongoing self-care practices are absent from their lives.

If you sense that you are suffering from compassion fatigue, chances are excellent that you are. Your path to wellness begins with one small step: awareness. A heightened awareness can lead to insights regarding past traumas and painful situations that are being relived over and over within the confines of your symptoms and behaviors. With the appropriate information and support, you can embark on a journey of discovery, healing past traumas and pain that currently serve as obstacles to a healthy, happier lifestyle.

Many resources are available to help you recognize the causes and symptoms of compassion fatigue. Healing begins by employing such simple practices as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, enjoyable social activities, journaling, and restful sleep. Hopefully, the information on this website will be of use to you and help you jump-start your process.

Accepting the presence of compassion fatigue in your life only serves to validate the fact that you are a deeply caring individual. Somewhere along your healing path, the truth will present itself: You don't have to make a choice. It is possible to practice healthy, ongoing self-care while successfully continuing to care for others.

The CFAP Newsroom features articles and interviews written by Founder Patricia Smith or reference CFAP's ongoing mission to raise awareness and promote authentic, sustainable self care...

Read all about it here!

Help us create another exciting venue for raising compassion fatigue awareness! We'll post new information on a regular basis. Become a fan!

With more than 20 years of training experience, CFAP Founder Patricia Smith writes, speaks and facilitates workshops in service of those who care for others.

If you're interested in having Patricia address your organization or group, click here!

For every $1,000 we receive in donations, we are donating 50 sets of Patricia Smith's books to organizations across the nation that are in need of this vital first step toward authentic, sustainable self-care.

Join the Challenge here!

CFAP Founder Patricia Smith's newest book guides readers through 50 steps to Compassion Satisfaction.

Pick up a copy here!