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Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Trauma, &


Compassion fatigue is a term commonly associated with the "cost of caring" for others. It is a term that is sometimes referred to as vicarious trauma. Compassion fatigue is the emotional residue of exposure that helping professionals have from working with people as they are hearing their trauma stories and become witnesses to the pain, fear, and terror that survivors have endured. Compassion fatigue is a state of tension and preoccupation of the experiences described by clients. The emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another is referred to as secondary trauma. Its symptoms mimic those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

This training will explore potential impacts of caring roles as it relates to “burnout”, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma. Participants will review the activities they engage in for self-care, but this training will also take a deeper look at how personal, professional, and cultural factors create barriers in how we think that prevent us from setting healthy boundaries and using our self-care activities.  This training will include some personal practice of a few strategies to address these thoughts, will help participants assess their current risk for compassion fatigue and secondary trauma, and will help participants create individualized plans for how to fully engage in self-care within their lives.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will demonstrate the ability to define compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary trauma, and identify the differences among these concepts.

  2. Identify symptoms and warning signs of compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary trauma.

  3. Describe personal vulnerabilities to these concepts.

  4. Describe at least four self-care/prevention strategies.

Presenter: Lynette Downing, LCP, LCAC

Lynette Downing attended Pittsburg State University, earning  a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She was employed as a mental health professional at Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, KS for three years prior to returning to Pittsburg. In 2005, she began working at Crawford County Mental Health as an outpatient therapist in adult services. After 10 years, Lynette was named the Director of Adult Services for the agency. Lynette has also worked as an Instructor at Pittsburg State University in the Clinical Psychology graduate program and is currently a Practicum and Internship Site Supervisor for the Department of Psychology and Counseling at PSU. In 2013, Lynette was elected as a Board Member of the Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council and served in this position for two years. She continues to provide psychological services at CCMH, including Competency to Stand Trial evaluations and Law Enforcement Personnel Screenings for Crawford County. Lynette is a strong believer in the importance of public education and advocacy for those living with mental illness, and serves on the NAMI Southeast Kansas Steering Committee.

Friday, September 29, 2017
9 am - noon 
Pittsburg Law Enforcement Center
$10 per participant
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