TITLE

Professional Burnout, Vicarious Trauma, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Compassion Fatigue: A Review of Theoretical Terms, Risk Factors, and Preventive Methods for Clinicians and Researchers

AUTHOR(S)
Newell, Jason M.; MacNeil, Gordon A.
PUB. DATE
July 2010
SOURCE
Best Practice in Mental Health;Summer2010, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p57
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The emotional and psychological risks associated with providing direct social work services to vulnerable populations have been largely overlooked in social work educational curriculum and agency training (Cunningham, 2004; Courtois, 2002; Shackelford, 2006). These risks should be conceptualized as occurring in two separate forms: trauma-related stress and professional burnout. Vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue are conditions related specifically to work with trauma populations, while professional burnout is considered a more general phenomenon which may occur within any social service setting. The forms of trauma-related stress conditions and professional burnout are often erroneously discussed either interchangeably or grouped together as one condition in the literature. It is best to conceptualize each of these conditions separately in order to have a comprehensive understanding of these complex phenomena. It is important that direct practitioners and educators understand the risk factors and symptoms associated with these phenomena in order to identify, prevent, and/or minimize their effects. As a best-practice initiative, it is appropriate that information on these conditions be infused into social work curricula as a first-line preventive measure for the training of inexperienced social workers who may be more vulnerable to the effects of these conditions (Lerias & Byrne, 2003). Information on these topics should also be included as part of agency training for practitioners already working in the field. This article provides a brief review of professional burnout, vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue, including the risk factors and symptoms associated with these conditions. Particular attention is paid to the inclusion of this material and the practice of self-care in both macro and micro social work education, as well as agency-training curriculum.
ACCESSION #
60132515

 

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