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Compassion fatigue and resilence: a qualitative analysis of social work practice

Kapoulitsas, Maryanne and Corcoran, Tim (2014) Compassion fatigue and resilence: a qualitative analysis of social work practice. Qualitative Social Work. ISSN 1473-3250 (print) 1741-3117 (online)

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Abstract

Compassion fatigue is a term used to describe behaviour and emotions experienced by those who help people who have experienced trauma. It is viewed as a potential con- sequence of stress related to such exposure and is understood to be influenced by the practitioner’s empathic response. The aims of this study were to obtain greater under- standing of social workers experience of working with distressed clients; examine what develops personal, professional and organisational resilience; and explore ways in which workers can be better protected from compassion fatigue. The research design was qualitative using semi-structured interviews involving six social workers presently work- ing with distressed clients or clients known to have experienced distress. Four major themes were identified using thematic analysis: (i) the complexities of social work, (ii) supportive and unsupportive contexts, (iii) promoting personal well-being/self- protection and (iv) resilience as a changing systemic and complex process. The findings provide important insights into the participants’ experiences of working with distressed clients and, more specifically, their experience of compassion fatigue and stories of resilience. The research provides clear direction for future research at organisational, educational and interpersonal levels

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: resilience, compassion fatigue, practitioner experience, social constructionism
Subjects: FOR Classification > 1607 Social Work
FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Education
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2014 05:49
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2018 22:42
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/24738
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325014528526
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Citations in Scopus: 23 - View on Scopus

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