Monday, February 11, 2013

A New Compassion Satisfaction Resource ...

Compassion satisfaction is the pleasure you derive from being able to do your work. For example, you may feel like it is a pleasure to help others through what you do at work. You may feel positively about your colleagues or your ability to contribute to the work setting or even the greater good of society through your work with people who need care.

Beth Hudnall Stamm, PhD

Hi everyone! Here is a new book for your compassion fatigue library. Compassion Satisfaction: 50 Steps to Healthy Caregiving was published in the fall of 2012 by Patricia Smith, an American CF Specialist and author of the first popular literature on compassion fatigue. (Her first books were To Weep for a Stranger: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving and Healthy Caregiving: A Guide to Recognizing and Managing Compassion Fatigue.)

Patricia's new book on Compassion Satisfaction (CS)  offers several brief, readable chapters divided into three sections, one each for caregivers, care recipients and organizations. It's the perfect book to keep handy for quick inspiration and refreshment as you begin a day of care-giving or to dip into before going to bed at night.

Compassion satisfaction is an important concept to remember any time we speak about compassion fatigue. Our helping experiences are complex, not all bad nor all good. There is usually a mix of stressors and rewards. Reflecting upon the rewards helps us to balance the difficulties and reminds us why we chose to be helpers in the first instance. It brings into bold relief what keeps us going as we do the work. When we recognize what sustains us, we can increase our focus in these directions. 

In her book, The Compassion Fatigue Workbook, another CF Specialist, Francoise Mathieu, offers these questions (paraphrased) for reflection and journalling on compassion satisfaction:

1.  What made me choose this work?
2.  What keeps me going and sustains me, as a person and a professional, given the challenges of my work?
3.  What concrete strategies have made a significant difference for me and have allowed me to remain healthy and well in this work? (Strategies at work and strategies at home)
4.  If I were to do it all over again, is there anything I would do differently?
5.  Reflecting on successes, how have I made a difference to others?
6.  Can I think of a particular client, patient or loved one whose story has touched me profoundly in a positive way? What is it about his or her story that has moved me?
7.  Is this still the right work for me?  (p136

Why not make a hot drink, curl up with your journal, and reflect for a little while upon what it is about your care-giving that still makes your heart sing?

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