Counseling for Compassion Fatigue
Helping women find escape from reminders of their patients
You have that patient that you just can’t get out of your mind. They haunt your dreams. And when you’re not asleep, the memories come up when you don’t want them to. You know you’re supposed to help people and then let them go. But for some reason, you just can’t get this patient and what happened to them out of your head.
What is wrong with you? You ask that question multiple times a day. It’s like you’re an alien to yourself. Sometimes, you even feel like you’re such a terrible person that you don’t deserve to be alive. But you keep going because there is no other choice.
When you get off work, you crash. You numb yourself with Netflix, video games, or wine. You really wish you had hobbies you still enjoyed, but the truth is, you don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything.
To make matters worse, you don’t even feel connected to the people you used to find supportive. And as bad as you’re feeling, you’re afraid that you’ll drag them down with you. It’s just easier to withdraw.
And when you do try to connect, it doesn’t quite go as planned. Irritability seems to be calling the shots lately, and you react harshly with your loved ones. Of course you regret and apologize for how you’ve talked to them, but you’re worried that you’re going to push them away for good.
And you are so fucking tired.
You are emotionally and physically exhausted. Work seems to need more and more of your time and effort. And you never really get to refresh after work. You feel like you’re burnt out, but you’ve got so much going on, you just don’t know what to do about it.
Work slogs along, and you know you haven’t done your best in a while. You worry that you might start making mistakes that might really hurt someone. It seems like your only real option is to quit.
You can feel okay again.
Picture this. You go about your day and reminders of your patients don’t pop up when you don’t want them to. Sleep isn’t a problem because your patients aren’t haunting your nightmares either.
Maybe it’s because you’re sleeping better or maybe it’s something else, but your mood is better. Positive thinking somehow is in your reach again. And you can enjoy things and actually get motivated to participate in hobbies.
Your relationships are meaningful again. The people you care about really listen to you and really care about you. You wouldn’t be able to push them away, even if you tried. But you don’t have to because you know they don’t need to be protected from you.
Perhaps best of all, you don’t ask yourself what is wrong with you. You know how to manage things when work won’t stay at work. And instead of quitting or worrying about making mistakes, you’re living in the moment and enjoying your job again.
Counseling for compassion fatigue can help.
I am Regina Marie Stiffler, LPC. That combination of burnout and overwhelming reactions to your patients is compassion fatigue. I am living proof that leaving the job you loved doesn’t make the reminders of your patients go away. Instead, after I left, I felt worse. And then I didn’t have the support I used to have. You don’t have to have the same experiences I did. Let me help you.
I look at counseling as a collaborative effort. We will work together using my experiences and yours to find the find things that work best for you. Your feedback helps guide work, as not everything will work for everyone. I send surveys after each session so you have an opportunity to give feedback without having to tell me directly.
While I have plenty of personal experience to help, I also have the professional training to back it up. I offer choices about how you’d like to address the reminders of your patients. If one doesn’t work well for you, we can move onto the next. In addition to my training in trauma resolution, I am also a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional.
It’s hard to find time to see a therapist when you’re working. Therefore, I offer a limited number of Sunday sessions and all sessions are telehealth, eliminating the need to drive to therapy. I also know that plans change. So I offer the flexibility to change your session within the same week to (Monday through Sunday) avoid paying a late fee.
You want a counselor that you feel you can trust. It makes sense that you’d expect your therapist to be willing to talk about be a real person in therapy. I show up for sessions without make-up, in my real clothes. And I’m not afraid to talk about my own experiences when it’s appropriate. You don’t want a therapist that’s going to blow smoke up your ass. That’s not me.
When you are considering counseling for compassion fatigue, it is natural to have some questions. Here are some of the most common.
How do you know if counseling will help?
The truth is there is no guarantee counseling will fix everything. But most people find that they’re able to get relief and start living comfortably again. You can increase the likelihood of counseling helping by giving your therapist feedback when things aren’t working for you. If nothing else, counseling provides you the opportunity to be heard and understood for a full 50 minutes without anyone expecting your time or energy in return.
How is counseling for compassion fatigue different?
Counseling for compassion fatigue combines two main goals. First, we will work together to improve your satisfaction with your job. We’ll do this by helping you find your purpose and build resilience. Then, we’ll resolve any problems you’re having because of the memories of your patients.
As with therapy for other concerns, we will start with a period of assessment and trust building. Then, we’ll move into a period of stabilization. After those two periods, we can move into addressing the bigger concerns you have, like burnout and the effects your patients have on you.
How long will you be in therapy?
Therapy is a different experience for everyone, so it is difficult to estimate exactly how long you will need to be in therapy. It would be great to say you will complete therapy in 12 sessions. However, in saying that, that sets the expectation that if you don’t do that, there’s something wrong with you. Instead, the reality is that most people take more than 12 sessions. And even after that, many people choose to continue therapy to maintain the ongoing support.
How much does therapy cost?
The cost of counseling for compassion fatigue depends a lot on your preferences. Since therapy will typically include some sort of time for talking trauma, some clients prefer to have extended 90 minute sessions for these. Therefore, the cost of your session will vary depending on whether you elect to use a regular 50 minute session or an extended session. Session fees will range from $140 to $210. A sliding scale is available for clients who need it. You can read more about the fees for therapy on our FAQs.
You are entitled by law to receive a good faith estimate of the anticipated costs of therapy. This estimate offers a snapshot of the total cost throughout the year, based on your therapists expectations. If you have any questions about this estimate, please feel free to ask.