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Compassion Fatigue Among Officers

Compassion fatigue involves not only being exposed to or witnessing trauma but caring for those who experience it.

Law enforcement is considered a high-stress helping profession. Officers are exposed to secondary trauma throughout their careers and sometimes experience primary trauma. Mixed with the stress of the job, this trauma can produce symptoms of compassion fatigue, which impacts the emotional and physical well-being of officers and can exacerbate volatile situations or incidents.

This article reviews the literature on behavioral outcomes of compassion fatigue in law enforcement officers and implications for the field of counseling. The findings of this review infer great success and benefits pertaining to the implementation of psychotherapy, psychoeducation, and workplace peer support programming among officers and the agencies that implement these counseling practices.

Commonly associated with caring professionals, such as nurses, mental health providers, and first responders, compassion fatigue is generally described in the literature as the result of routine exposure to trauma, which creates symptoms of psychological distress resembling those of the traumatized victims. It presents as a specific set of behaviors that can negatively impact job performance and other areas of life. Compassion fatigue involves not only being exposed to or witnessing trauma but caring for those who experience it; therefore, the terms secondary traumatic stress or vicarious trauma were used interchangeably with compassion fatigue throughout the literature.

Read more at FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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