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When Helping Gets Heavy

Each of us have gravitated to the helping professions for a multitude of reasons.
Reasons include our cultural and family values (“The Golden Rule”), our intimate and personal connections to suffering, our spiritual beliefs associated with faith, hope, and alleviation of pain, and the innate feeling of being useful to another human being.  Much of the time we are able to adjust to the daily demands of our work. But at certain points – whether as the result of circumstances or the unexpected consequence of choice – helping gets heavy. The care of others starts to feel like real work; and a growing burden of personal and professional responsibility can often lead to exhaustion and frustration. And, can have a devastating impact on our personal and professional lives, as well as the lives of those we serve.

Halifax, J. (2012, May 12) Inside Compassion: Edge States, Contemplative Interventions, Neuroscience. Lecture conducted from the U.S. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Lester, G. Why Management Stress Doesn’t Work for Social Service Professionals and What to Do About It [Audio recording]. United States. Available from
Professional Quality of Life Elements Theory and Measurement.

Day, J. R., and Anderson, R. A. (2011). Compassion fatigue: An application of the concept to informal caregivers of family members with dementia, Nursing Research and Practice, Article ID 408024. doi: 10.1155/2011/408024

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