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Archive for the ‘Counseling’ Category

Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

Some of the tell tale signs of compassion fatigue are listed below.

Lack of enjoyment in day to day activities

Not deriving any joy from things that used to excite the person earlier

Difficulty in concentrating in any task

Feelings of anxiety and perpetual fear

Feelings of irritability triggered by trivial things

Isolation from family and friends

Detachment from work and life

Inability to take big or small decisions

Lack of interest in work

Avoidance of certain situations and people at work

Unprovoked outbursts of anger

Constant feeling of dread and imagination of doom

 

Causes of Compassion Fatigue

Some common causes of compassion fatigue are listed below.

Interacting with and taking care of terminally ill patients day in and day out

Caring for a physically or mentally challenged child

Counseling grief stricken families in times of grave environmental disasters

Counseling victims of sexual abuse

Working in a help line to support and encourage trauma victims

Working in close association with mentally challenged people

Providing support to people suffering from depression

via Compassion Fatigue Causes.

 

As an advocate the key to success is being able to balance compassion so that fatigue is avoided, or if it occurs that it is quickly diverted and conquered.  I am fortunate that I work at a place that takes “wellness” seriously and we are allowed to go into a wellness session for almost 2 hrs each month paid for and flexed time away from the phones, giving one an option and opportunity to balance a 40 hr work week on the phones with folks in various crisis situations  with some downtime to take care of you (the advocate).

Sometimes the wellness sessions would include meditation methods, a bit of art therapy, a bit of learning of various techniques that we can also share with the callers, some yoga, some zumba, pottery making, learning to laugh, and so much more.

More important is to take application of the things learned from the wellness sessions to make a better quality of your own life.    Healthy eats, exercise/movement, quiet time, time to voice and be an activist outside of the work environment, and so much more.

A great book that wasn’t mentioned in the connective article to read about compassion and taking care of yourself is a book called 

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

 by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk, which can be found on Amazon.com.  It’s definitely a worthwhile book to read and may become your “Bible” beside you if you are a caregiver in any aspect.  Their website is something that is valuable for continued support in your own journey for continued caregiving of others — http://traumastewardship.com/.

What ideas do you have to focus upon to combat compassion fatigue in your everyday life and continue on the enjoyment of the journey of Caregiving in the sense that it is really meant to be?  Would love to hear more ideas from you.

 

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Empathy can be literally defined as:

em·pa·thy [ émpəthee ]   Audio player

  1. understanding of another’s feelings:the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties
  2. attribution of feelings to an object:the transfer of somebody’s own feelings and emotions to an object such as a painting

[ Early 20th century. < Greek empatheia “affection, passion” ]

 Ashoka Fellow Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on the Run International®, who has been working to build-up Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative. suggests the following:

Empathy has been a hot topic at the summit. Typically considered a soft skill and not necessarily essential to leadership (at least in the traditional sense), Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, has uncovered a number of thematic connections between all of those folks who are social entrepreneurs. Empathy has been and continues to be at the top of that list.

Empathy is one of those things … “things” because I’m not sure precisely what to call it … that I’ve taken for granted. I was raised in a very empathetic home. My family members are empathetic. My children are empathetic and most everyone – heck, EVERYONE! – I work with is empathetic. I’ve naturally, based on my own experiences, assumed that most people would understand why empathy is essential to being human … a kind of “duh” sort of thing. A clear and VERY obvious outcome of Girls on the Run is the ability of every girl and coach to give and receive within an empathetic context.

In my mind, without empathy we lack the ability to deeply connect with another living creature. Empathy affords us the experience of being one in experience with another, putting aside our own ego, the need to be right, and being with the emotions of another. It doesn’t mean fixing them, making the emotions go away or enabling the individual. To me it simply means being with their emotions without interference from me.

via So how do you get empathy, anyway? (Hint: You won’t find it in a lecture.) | Ashoka.org.

As an advocate, I am always under the impression that being with empathy is demonstrating a concern and understanding of the here and now of the caller/person communicating with (no matter the mode of communication).  It isn’t a time of formulating one’s opinion of the situation; it is more important to sort through options and more options for the situation given at hand, as well as providing emotional support and guidance for catapulting forwarding to the light at the end of the tunnel, in order to move forward to, hopefully, without the burdens of the crisis situations at hand.

People need to have a voice in their lives moving forward, they need to see and weigh out the options available for them (because when in crisis mode, you rarely see through the mist of the tears caused by the emotional and/or physical pain currently enduring); however, they need to know that they aren’t crazy, that they have lives that are valued, and that they can do things and make great decisions that affect their own lives, as well as those around them.

How do YOU see empathy?  How do you apply empathy in your daily lives?

 

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The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a great fact sheet resource to Domestic Violence  and Children:  Questions and Answers for Domestic Violence Project Advocates, answering such questions as:

How do children react to domestic violence?

What are some typical short-term responses?

What about children’s responses in the long term?

What are the factors that help children recover?

What should parents tell their children about domestic violence?

How much information is enough but not too much?

What should a parent tell a child about the parent who was abusive?

How can advocates protect children from adult information?

How should parents respond to and cope with their children’s feelings about them?

What are some strategies for managing children’s behaviors that may occur in families with domestic violence?

How can advocates determine when a child needs more help?

and,

What is secondary trauma and how does it affect me?

 

 

Click on the link below to learn more:

http://www.nctsnet.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/DomViolenceFactSheet_final.pdf

 

 

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Jamie Olive is my hero.  Last year, when he came to the United States and make a debut in the small, sleepy town in West Virginia, he clearly made an impact and difference in their lives.

This year, he might have taken on more than he could chew by tackling the enormous Los Angeles Community.  By the end of the last show, though, he gained the support of the new supertindent of the LA School system.

He’s got the right ideas though.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and is aiming to put things into good perspective with good eats, starting in the schools.

I thank him for his perseverance in keeping on the school systems.  I look forward to see the long range effects of his efforts.

What’s next for this hero?  Can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve for the next leg of his crusade!

News | Jamie Oliver (US).

 

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One of the most creative and latest/greatest social sites being placed out on the world wide web recently is a site called, Soul Needs!

It really works on getting to know people for their wholesome goodness, as well as a place for each and every person to come and explore fitness by way of the mind, body and soul.

Create your own profile.

Explore the “Circles”, various communities centered around specific topics or needs for fulfillment — or, create your own.

Take the many quizes available on the site to explore where you stand with your mind, body, and soul.

There are also other areas in development — entertainment and events, to begin with.

If you are wanting something a little more fulfilling than the social sites you have been to lately, you really should take the time to explore this more by clicking on the link below:

 

SoulNeeds Beta – Dashboard – txbluebonnet.

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Everyone needs a place to go to where they can heal, be safe to talk, and empower others along their healing journey.  For those traveling the healing journey due to domestic violence issues, Facebook’s page called, Domestic Violence Voices, offers just one such place.

It’s just a great feel good place with a great community spirit.

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OMG, just read a blog posting that an author stated that,

“There is an oft-repeated, but false, myth that Super Bowl Sunday is the worst day for violence against women.” 

Of course, the author then adds,

“Would that it were that easy.  Domestic violence doesn’t care what day it is.  It is an every day (and everyday) problem of individuals, families, and society as a whole.  The solution to domestic violence cannot, by definition, take place only within the family unit.  It is a public health issue if ever there was one.”

The first sentence sent the hair up on the back of my neck — MYTH?  a fallacy???  I don’t think so!!  I have been working in the domestic violence field for more than 5 years now, not counting the 15 years that I have been a paralegal and the many years of physical and emotional domestic violence that I personally encountered for many years, and yesterday was probably the first experience I had had with working specifically on Superbowl Sunday in this industry and I wrote the following on another site…..

entitled, “Underdogs come up and win! Thank goodness someone did!!!”

Today has been a rough day for me. For many that know, I answer crisis calls for a living. That, in itself isn’t too bad because I generally can separate myself from their pain and move forward to the next caller.

Today, it has been different. Perhaps, it is because I have never worked in this field on Superbowl Sunday; I don’t know. It seems like I had before, but I don’t remember it being this rough.

Superbowl for most people can be all fun and games, but from the domestic violence perspective it can be quite the opposite. I have been receiving higher risk crisis calls today percentage wise than I ever have, I believe. I mean, usually, it is just calls wanting more information or how to plan to help from friends or family members OR understanding how they need to understand why they need to stay away from the abusive person OR some students wanting help on their projects.

Today, though….

* a woman’s face was bashed in by her ex and she just returned home from the hospital. Her ex was on the way to p/u the kids and she needed to ensure their safety until she could reach the attorney and the district attorney in the morning….

* callers calling from places they are hiding from their abusers….

* callers from the other room while there abusive partner was enjoying the superbowl game after having beaten them up. They were seeking shelter space….

* callers wanting us to call 911 for them…

* caller stating that her husband had just “disciplined” her daughter by yanking her hair and dragging her through the house and throwing her into the doorway. The daughter now has a concussion….

* other child abuse calls being called in….

and sooooo much more.

It is times like these when one gets these sort of calls you would like to be able to hang up the phone and call “The Equalizer” to take care of things. I guess I always loved that show because the actor would do so in a not necessarily violent way to get the point across to the aggressor — a sort of person who advocated for the underdog.

It is sort of the peace de la resistance (sp?) in the fact that, at least, one underdog has won today — even if it is from an event that seems to masks the pain of others in the same day.

Some day — I wish the pains of the victims away and the abusive/aggressive folks of this world find peace so that we can all live in the world as one happy family. Is it really too much to ask for???

Now, try to tell me, after my experience yesterday on a domestic violence hotline, that Superbowl Sunday isn’t one of the worst days ever for domestic violence.

In all fairness though, there are hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of calls received day in and day out throughout the entire year.  Domestic violence isn’t just domestic violence on Superbowl Sunday; however, the intensity culminates to something that is both exasperating and emotional.

Some day…..

the violence in the home has to end!

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