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During our Combatting Compassion Fatigue virtual learning event, there were some informative and interesting conversations taking place in the chat pod. Some questions were prompted by the speaker for the audience to answer, and other conversations were sparked by audience members. Here are a few conversations that you might find helpful.

Who might experience compassion fatigue?

Family Members: Service Providers:
Other family or friends
Social Workers
Domestic/sexual violence
Emergency responders

As a family member, how do I learn/know what are my husband’s triggers to distressing memories, thoughts or feelings?

Response from audience member #1: One thing you can try is to look for ABC – antecedent, behavior & consequences. Try to establish a pattern. Is it a time of day? Is it a crowd of people? Is it a disruption in his routine? Also, look at the behaviors and consequences…then try to adjust your reaction to them perhaps. Sometimes reframing your reaction or the situation may help stem the behavior.

Response from audience member #2: The veteran may not “know” why or what sets them off, control of the surroundings, the situations they are going into, hostility, anger (the only acceptable emotion to use in many settings is anger) and the veteran may not know why they are uncomfortable. 

How have you been impacted by compassion fatigue?

  • Personal therapy – reminding myself it is not about me, rather the client that is in front of me
  • Excessive worry if I’m getting everything done
  • Guilt
  • Loss of interest in friendships/doing things
  • Hypervigilance

Have any of you found that your own experience with trauma or in dealing with those who have experience trauma found that it provided risk or protective factors?

Audiencemember #1: So the stronger empathetic tendencies are more at risk (besides the inexperienced workers)?

Audience member #2: It’s a risk factor for similar trauma, but protective for others

Audience member #3: As a Veteran working with other Veterans and witnessing similar events – felt more like a protective factor.

Audience member #4: By having experience with the trauma (explosions and death), I’m aware of it…it’s not the first time I’ve heard it. Whereas if you’ve never seen or heard of the event this would be a story you may be hearing for the first time.

Audience member #5: Would it be protective in that the individual who experienced similar trauma may have developed coping skills for that particular trauma?

Audience member #6: For those overseas it is also the persistent stress of being in a war zone, effecting physiological changes in the adrenal system, hypothalamus, amygdala, etc… Also, the erosion of values and world view from the European/USA value system when exposed to the horrors of war.

To watch the virtual learning event click here: Combatting Compassion Fatigue.

This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on December 11, 2015.