About Compassion Fatigue 

Essential Professional Development for Workers and Carers in Disability Services

A crucial element of training in caring for others has long been omitted from our practices of caring. With increasing interest in mental health, statistics are now available to support the need for Compassion Fatigue training for health workers and carers.

Of the 2,500 suicides in Australia annually[1], figures on the professions of those lost are alarming. Of the top 6 professions, 4 are in the fields of caring. This is not a coincidence!

Along with this statistic is another of concern, the most abandoned professions in career change are in the caring professions[2], with women citing the “pressures of work” as the main reason.

The Australian Counselling Association, and in particular the West Australian Branch urges the West Australian Government through the Health Department, to recognise the need for training in this field. We have a program in progress that addresses specifically workers and carers of those with disabilities.

This program includes:

  • The definitions and understanding of Compassion, Compassion Satisfaction, Compassion Fatigue, burn out and Secondary Trauma Stresses.

  • Elements of Compassion Fatigue

  • Identifying Symptoms of Compassion fatigue

  • Strategies Preventing Compassion Fatigue for individuals and in the workplace

  • Treatment and coping strategies for those suffering from Compassion Fatigue


This will be a low cost, one day workshop to educate workers and carers on caring for themselves to be better able to care for others.

Our work in this field has shown that most caring, professional people are unaware of the symptoms of compassion fatigue but when aware, most recognise some symptoms in themselves. This has also been true of counsellors and we as an association feel obligated to educate our members. Many veterinarian clinics are also on board with this mental health education.

Better mental health for carers and disability workers means better care for those with disabilities.

“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” (Rachel Remem, 1996)

“The very act of being compassionate and empathic extracts a cost under most circumstances. In our effort to view the world from the perspective of the suffering, we suffer.” (Charles Figley)


[1] https://www.lifeline.org.au/ArticleDocuments/250/FrequentCallersOnline.pdf.aspx

[2] August 2015 issue of Labour Force, Australia,

Skype/Phone Counselling

We offer counselling via Skype and phone where circumstances prevent attendance at our office.

These circumstances include:

  • Distance, we counsel anywhere in the world that has the hardware to enable this.

  • FIFO workers who wish to continue counselling when they are away from home

  • People with disabilities that prevent them from attending our office

  • People who are ill

  • Those who are unable to gain transport to our office


Skype counselling and phone counselling work very similarly to face to face sessions lasting an hour. They are also charged at the same rate.