Francoise is a Compassion Fatigue Specialist. She writes:
Compassion fatigue is characterized by deep emotional and physical exhaustion and by a shift in a helping professional’s sense of hope and optimism about the future and the value of their work. It has been called “a disorder that affects those who do their work well” (Figley 1995) The level of compassion fatigue a helper experiences can ebb and flow from one day to the next, and even very healthy helpers with optimal life/work balance and self care strategies can experience a higher than normal level of compassion fatigue when they are overloaded, are working with a lot of traumatic content, or find their case load suddenly heavy with clients who are all chronically in crisis.Compassion fatigue is a normal consequence of working in the helping field. The best strategy to address compassion fatigue is to develop excellent self care strategies, as well as an early warning system that lets the helper know that they are moving into the caution zone of Compassion Fatigue.