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

Kapoulitsas, Maryanne and Corcoran, Tim 2015, Compassion fatigue and resilience: a qualitative analysis of social work practice, Qualitative social work, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 86-101, doi: 10.1177/1473325014528526.

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Title Compassion fatigue and resilience: a qualitative analysis of social work practice
Author(s) Kapoulitsas, Maryanne
Corcoran, TimORCID iD for Corcoran, Tim
Journal name Qualitative social work
Volume number 14
Issue number 1
Start page 86
End page 101
Total pages 16
Publisher Sage Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015-01
ISSN 1473-3250
Keyword(s) social workers
distressed clients
practitioner resilience
Summary 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 consequence 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 understanding 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 working 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/selfprotection 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.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1473325014528526
Field of Research 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
1606 Political Science
1607 Social Work
Socio Economic Objective 940105 Children's/Youth Services and Childcare
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, The Authors
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Document type: Journal Article
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School of Education
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