Compassion Fatigue - Simpson, L. R., & Starkey, D. S....

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Simpson, L. R., & Starkey, D. S. (2006). Secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, and counselor spirituality: Implications for counselors working with trauma . Retrieved March 22, 2007, from http://www.counselingoutfitters.com/Simpson.htm Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Counselor Spirituality: Implications for Counselors Working with Trauma Laura R. Simpson LSimpson@cableone.net Donna S. Starkey dstarkey@deltastate.edu Laura Simpson,Ph.D., is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and Approved Clinical Supervisor. She currently serves an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at Delta State University, as well as an active clinician. Her special interests include spirituality, secondary traumatic stress, supervision, and group work . Donna Starkey, PhD, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and Approved Clinical Supervisor. She is currently employed as an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Her career experiences include counseling in a community mental health setting, serving as the counseling lab director in a university setting, private practice, teaching, and supervision of counselors for licensure. As a career, counseling is recognized as emotionally demanding. Therapists are called upon to be empathic, understanding, and giving, yet they must control their own emotional needs and responsiveness in dealing with their clients. When engaging empathically with an adult or child who has been traumatized, clinicians are at risk of experiencing a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion (Figley,1995; McCann & Pearlman, 1990; McCann & Saakvitne, 1995; & Pearlman & MacIan, 1995). Empirical studies support the theory that counselors who work with the trauma of others have an increased likelihood of experiencing a change in their own psychological functioning (Chrestman, 1995). Reactions may include avoidance of the trauma, feelings of horror, guilt, rage, grief, detachment, or dread, and may possibly lead to burnout and countertransference. Additionally, these responses can impact the counseling relationship. If counselors are unaware of this stress response, they may implicitly convey a message to clients that they are unwilling to hear the details of the client’s trauma, or be less likely to ask questions to facilitate dialogue related to the event. This can result in a revictimization of individuals who often have limited environments in which telling their story is safe and acceptable (McCann & Perlman, 1990). The effects of post traumatic stress disorder to the primary victims of trauma are well established. Of key importance to counseling practitioners is the examination of the effects that working with the primary victims of trauma can have on the psychological well-being of the counseling professionals. These ancillary effects, frequently experienced by those not directly traumatized are often defined as secondary trauma or compassion fatigue.
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This note was uploaded on 09/12/2011 for the course MHS 6803 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of Central Florida.

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Compassion Fatigue - Simpson, L. R., & Starkey, D. S....

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