Were do you land on the compassion fatigue trajectory?

We know that Compassion Fatigue isn’t something that just comes out of the blue.  This is something that is going to fluctuate based on a variety of factors.  Having a compassion fatigue scale to see where you land on the trajectory can be a helpful tool.

Some of the factors that can contribute to where you land include; the type of work you are doing, how long you have been in the field, the type of clinical support you have, your level of training for your field, personal supports and so on.

Here are the five phrases of Compassion Fatigue:

Compassion Fatigue Scale

Compassion Fatigue Trajectory

1)   The Zealot Phase – you know who you are!  You would be in this phase very early in your career.  You are so committed and available to the people you help.  You enjoy solving problems and are passionate about making a difference.  You are willing to put in extra hours and volunteer for extra projects.  Self-care is great and you have good balance in your life. You’re adorable here – and thriving.

2)   The Irritability Phase – hmm…It’s not quite the same anymore.  You start to lose your energy and passion.  You may begin to cut corners or avoid certain clients.  This is where “dark humor” can begin – less than respectful conversations about client’s or colleagues.  You may start to become distracted while interacting with clients and may start to make mistakes. You start to lose your self-care. This is where your warning signs are going off.

3)   The Withdrawal Phase – uh oh – something is not right.  You have lost your enthusiasm and begin to feel defeat.  Clients may become a blur and become an annoyance.  You are tired all the time and no longer want to talk about work or your profession.  You start to neglect family and friends and yourself. You’re complaining about personal and professional life.

4)   The Zombie Phase – there’s nothing fun about the zombie phase! You are on total automatic pilot and are disconnected from your thoughts and feelings.  You no longer connect with your family, friends or colleagues.  You have lost your ability to empathize with clients.  You have lost your meaning and value in your role.  You are likely experiencing noticeable health problems.

5)   Pathology & Victimization VS. Maturation & Renewal – it’s do or die, so to speak.  This is where you either become completely overwhelmed, have physical illness and leave the profession…..

OR you realize how you are being impacted and you learn how restore your health and protect yourself from Compassion Fatigue.  You transform the way you approach your work and your life and you build your resiliency.  You learn how to regain your passion and your compassion and you use your skills for a long, fulfilling career.

I am happy to report that over five years ago I was in the Zombie Phase and ended up moving into Maturation and Renewal. I am so grateful that I learned about Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma and have learned the skills to keep myself safe while doing the work I love.  I’ll admit, I spend most of my time between the Zealot Phase with the occasional pit stop in the Irritability Phase.  Thankfully I know my warning signs and use my tools to get out of there ASAP – always reflecting where I fall on the Compassion Fatigue Scale.

Now I want to know where you think you fall on the Compassion Fatigue Trajectory.  I hope that you’re in the Zealot phase and that you can stay there – it’s a great place to be.  If you think that you may be in one of the other phases and you want to make some changes – I can support you.  Click Here to learn more.

Leave a comment and let me know about your experience and how you manage the phases.

Much love,