Video: The Helper’s Journey: Empathy, Compassion, and the Challenge of Caring in a Challenging Time

Author: TAPS

Working with people confronting grief, loss, trauma, illness and tragedy in all its forms is an intensely personal endeavor, bringing us into contact with the deepest parts of ourselves, and exposing us to the well-documented risks of burnout, moral distress, and compassion fatigue. This applies to all helpers within the TAPS community—professional clinicians, volunteers, and family caregivers as well. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are elevating these risks, making even greater attention to care for the caregiver essential. Fortunately, a growing body of research and clinical wisdom now also tells us we can exert significant control over stress and its effects on us, and that we can often even wrest personal and professional growth from it. These positive outcomes are linked to an array of coping strategies and skills for strengthening emotional resilience, optimizing self-care, and increasing clinical effectiveness emerging from the fields of positive psychology, neurobiology, and psychotherapy.

In this workshop we will explore some of these key strategies and skills, including balanced empathy, mindfulness, cognitive-affective stress management techniques, self-compassion, strengthened social support, and a deepened sense of purpose and mission in the work. With these building blocks of resilience in place, we can counter exhaustion with vigor, moral distress with moral courage, and our suffering as helpers with its restorative meaning; we can transform and transcend stress, fulfill our purpose in the work, and live a life aligned with cherished values. This program and learning is meant to provide an opportunity to reflect on how you can find balance on the helping journey—balance between the demands you face and the resources you have to meet them, between giving to others and giving to yourself.

This video was recorded and presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®.

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