Do You Have Compassion Fatigue?
Many times professional boundaries, time alone and self-care in general are seen as selfish. However, the opposite is actually true. Whether employing one’s talents as a counselor, nurse, church professional, or any other occupation that involves continual giving, careful consideration of self must be a priority.
The following is an except of an excellent article about compassion fatigue written by Dr. Paul Carlisle, professor of pastoral counseling and care at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Liberty, Missouri:
Imagine walking down a wooded path. You come upon a man pinned under a huge boulder. He writhes in pain and cries out to you for help. You find a strong limb and with great effort pry the rock off the man. This is a picture of burden-bearing, which the apostle Paul encourages in Galatians 6:2. But in this passage, the word burden denotes a “crushing weight.” That’s a warning flare that burden-bearing is fraught with danger and requires extreme caution. Return to the woods for a moment. You are leveraging the boulder and your strength gives way. The huge rock rolls back onto you and the person you’re trying to rescue. Rather than lifting a burden, you, too, are now pinned by its weight. Clearly, you’re to help those crushed by life’s problems. Yet imbalanced burden-bearing makes Christians vulnerable to a serious condition known as compassion fatigue (CF) — that’s when the pain, hurt, and suffering of others crushes you. It’s the stress of caring too much.