The helping field has gradually begun to recognize that workers are profoundly affected by direct or secondary exposures to traumatic events. Working with people who are chronically in despair and witnessing their inability to improve very difficult life circumstances can change the way we view the world.
Compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma have been described as "the cost of caring" for those in emotional pain, and can strike even the most dedicated. Compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma accumulate over time and begin to impact our personal and professional lives.
Ironically, helpers who are burned out, worn down, fatigued and/or traumatized tend to work more and work harder. As a result, they go further and further down a path that can lead to serious physical and mental health difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic pain, stress related illnesses and even suicide.
K&M Trauma Consultants will be presenting an educational workshop at the 2016 Blue Line Expo that will review and define various forms of occupational stress and trauma, including compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, moral dilemma, burnout and PTSD, as well as the symptoms associated with these ailments.
The workshop will also focus on the importance of proper debriefing after being exposed to a traumatic event, and will provide guidelines to avoid the transference of trauma during an informal debrief. Tips and ideas for building resiliency, ensuring a healthy work-life balance, the importance of self-care and the impact of stress on families and loved ones will also be discussed. We will review the importance of getting help when you need it and where to find proper support.
Although compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma are not preventable, they can be mitigated, transformed and treated. The aim with this education and awareness workshop is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health illness in the helping field and to open the lines of communication for those who are suffering, in turn, making the healing process easier and quicker.
K&M Trauma Consultants is comprised of Peggy Campbell-MacLean and Lambia Karitsiotis, certified compassion fatigue educators. They have more than 24 years of combined experience working with an offender population within the criminal justice system, giving them first-hand knowledge of the effects that working with a traumatized population has on the helping professions.
They deliver training to health care professionals, mental health workers, child protection workers, police, paramedics, probation and parole officers. The goal of this workshop is to educate and encourage supportive connections in order to promote self-awareness and understanding of the challenges of caring for others in physical and emotional pain.