A message from the Project during this time of crisis

Compassion fatigue is a set of symptoms, not a disease.

Compassion fatigue and its kin, such as secondary traumatic stress, PTSD, empathic distress and vicarious trauma, create issues in our lives. Providing authentic, sustainable self-care daily can help manage and lessen the disruptive issues associated with compassion fatigue.

The origins of compassion fatigue most likely took hold during our formative years. Surviving a dysfunctional childhood aids in creating behaviors and patterns that can lead to high levels of compassion fatigue in caregiving. Studies show that children who suffer Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as alcoholism, physical abuse or mental abuse, are at risk for future violence victimization, chronic health conditions, low quality of life and even early death. When we are put in the position of caring for others at an early age, we learn to put the needs of others before our own needs. Additionally, we grow up lacking strong personal boundaries, experience an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and carry the unresolved trauma within.

While there is no silver bullet to “cure” compassion fatigue, authentic, sustainable self-care daily can help manage the symptoms. Learning and practicing new life skills is also necessary to become self-directed as opposed to other-directed. Providing authentic, sustainable self-care daily can help manage symptoms such as isolation, emotional outbursts, sadness and apathy, persistent physical ailments, and recurring nightmares or flashbacks.

You are not alone.

High levels of compassion fatigue can be managed with a number of authentic, sustainable strategies. This site has numerous resources we have found for caregivers working in many professions. The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project also offers original training materials, workbooks, and texts through our parent organization, Healthy Caregiving LLC.

Webinars: The New Standard

We're here to help, even when we can't be there. Upcoming speaking engagements have been reimagined and rescheduled as webinars, allowing for a dynamic interaction with your organization, even when particpants are working remotely.

 Webinar information and upcoming schedule are here.

The Caregiver's Bill of Rights

James Madison had his Bill of Rights in 1789. Finally, more than 200 years later, caregivers worldwide have theirs! They may not be law, but they will certainly help us with our continuing journey toward resiliency and compassion satisfaction.

Download the PDF here

The Ten Laws

The following 'Ten Laws' help us create a healthy workplace for ourselves, provide healthy care to others, and promote healthy, life-affirming changes. Print them out and post them where others can see. Make people aware of our commitment to creating positive change in our lives by following these simple rules...

Download the PDF here!  

ProQoL Pocket Card

Dr. Beth Hudnall Stamm developed this revised 'pocket card' about caring for yourself in the face of difficult work for the current COVID-19 health crisis. Please use, copy, and distribute it freely, as long as the authors are credited, no changes are made, and it is not sold. We hope you find it useful.

Download the PDF here!  

Our Statement on Workplace Violence

Recent workplace violence highlights the need for employers to do everything possible to protect their employees. This is particularly important in caregiving environments in all of the helping professions due to the emotional and often intense interactions caregivers experience on a daily basis.

The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project has compiled a “Zero Tolerance” workplace violence template for concerned caregiving organizations to post within plain view of staff, visitors, consultants and anyone else who enters the premises. We urge you to use this template as is, or edit it to mirror the language of your distinct corporate culture.

For further information and materials on workplace violence, go to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website at www.osha.gov.

Download the template here!  

TEDx: Quality of Life

CFAP Founder Patricia Smith presented a talk titled How to Manage Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving at the 2016 TEDxSanJuanIsland event highlighting Quality of Life. The full list of inspirational talks can be found at www.tedxsanjuanisland.org/2016

Awareness Begins Here: Books from our Founder

CFAP Founder Patricia Smith's seminal book, To Weep for a Stranger: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving, is a comprehensive look at compassion fatigue, its causes and symptoms, and how to begin the healing process. Her follow-up book, Compassion Satisfaction: 50 Steps to Healthy Caregiving, guides readers through 50 steps toward authentic, sustainable self-care and compassion satisfaction. We've also created a Presenter's Guide and Student Guide for organizations that are conducting their own workshops for caregivers in the workplace.

To Weep for a Stranger 50 Steps Presenter's Guide Student Guide

New book for the veterinary practice!

Patricia Smith has joined with veterinary surgeon, Inmaculada Perez Madrigal, to co-author Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout Handling in Veterinary Practice, published by Grupo Asis. The comprehensive look at the veterinary field worldwide brings into focus the challenges the profession now faces. The book is now available through Amazon Spain and will be available from Amazon in the United States in the near future.

Veterinary Stress