Compassion Fatigue

Recurring emotional stress can lead to compassion fatigue. Those in healing professions need to know how to recognize, treat, and prevent compassion fatigue.

Therapists and caregivers working in environments rife with emotional stress may become susceptible to a condition known as compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is synonymously used to describe secondary traumatic stress, which is stress resulting from helping or wanting to help traumatized or suffering people. It has also been referred to as vicarious trauma, second-hand shock, and secondary stress reaction.


Although compassion fatigue is sometimes called burnout, it is a slightly different concept. Unlike burnout, compassion fatigue is highly treatable and may be less predictable.