U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Compassion Fatigue: A Crucible of Transformation

NCJ Number
Journal of Trauma Practice Volume: 1 Issue: 3/4 Dated: 2002 Pages: 37-61
J. Eric Gentry
Date Published
25 pages
This article explores the problem of compassion fatigue among practitioners who counsel people who are experiencing feelings of trauma, especially in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
The author explains that trauma practitioners are at risk of developing compassion fatigue as a result of the work they do with trauma victims. Compassion fatigue is described as vicarious traumatization brought on by observing or hearing others’ stories of traumatic events. In this article, the author explores how working with victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks has affected trauma workers. These trauma practitioners are at special risk for developing symptoms of secondary traumatic stress and burnout, which comprise the diagnosis of compassion fatigue. The author discusses the Accelerated Recovery Program for Compassion Fatigue and how this program, coupled with the Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist Training, has successfully treated hundreds of trauma workers suffering from symptoms of compassion fatigue. The author also identifies seven enduring principle techniques in the treatment of compassion fatigue that always lead to a positive treatment outcome. According to the author, recovering from compassion fatigue requires that the trauma worker make significant changes in their lifestyle that will eventually transform the way they perceive their work and themselves. In conclusion, the author cautions that the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks will have emotional and psychological consequences for the practitioners caring for those in pain. More research is called for in this emerging field of study. Tables, references


No download available