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Trauma Recovery: Wellness for Counselors and Teachers. Dr. Vaughn Millner. Objectives. As a result of this viewing this presentation, participants will be able to: Identify personal signs of compassion satisfaction and fatigue Examine various components of mental health

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As a result of this viewing this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Identify personal signs of compassion satisfaction and fatigue
  • Examine various components of mental health
  • Begin an individual wellness plan
helpers also cope with disaster and trauma
Helpers Also Cope with Disaster and Trauma

It is essential that as you care for others during disaster recovery, you take care of yourself.

How are you

  • Mentally?
  • Physically?
  • Emotionally?
  • Spiritually?
  • Mind
  • Body
  • Spirit
stress at work 2005 wellness councils of america
Stress at Work (2005 Wellness Councils of America)
  • 40% of individuals say that job is “very” or “extremely” stressful
  • 43% of adults suffer health problems due to stress – about 90 million people
  • 75% to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are stress-related
general adaptation syndrome hans selye

When stress strikes, the following occurs:

  • Alarm Reaction. Prepares the body for flight or fight.
  • Resistance. Your body releases stress hormones. Blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature increase.
  • Exhaustion. Body’s ability to adapt runs out.
  • Condition of feeling “wasted physically, emotionally, spiritually, interpersonally, and behaviorally (MacClusky and Ingersoll)
three stages of burnout texas medical association
Three Stages of Burnout(Texas Medical Association)
  • Stress Arousal (persistent irritability, anxiety; high blood pressure; bruxism; insomnia; forgetfulness; heart palpitations; unusual heart rhythm; inability to concentrate; headaches)
  • Energy Conservation (lateness for work, procrastination; need 3 day weekends; decreased sexual desire; tiredness in mornings; turning work in late; social withdrawal; cynical attitudes; resentfulness; increased caffeine consumption; increased alcohol consumption; apathy)
  • Exhaustion (chronic sadness or depression; stomach or bowel problems; mental fatigue; headaches; desire to “drop out”
burnout results in
Burnout results in:
  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Tense exchanges with others including students Particularly impacts those in caring professions
  • Low level, chronic fuzziness of caring for others to feeling emotionally “numb”
compassionate caring
Compassionate Caring
  • Compassionately caring for others without taking time for self is a recipe for burn-out.
  • The higher your level of conscientiousness, the higher the danger of burnout (American Academic of Family Physicians, 1997).
secondary traumatic stress sts sometimes called compassion fatigue or vicarious traumatization
Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) (sometimes called compassion fatigue or vicarious traumatization)
  • Risk related to empathy with another’s traumatic information
  • Can result from hearing emotionally shocking material from others over time
  • Can result in depression, insomnia, loss of intimacy; “numbing” of feelings
watch for these signs
Watch for these signs:


  • Clock watching
  • Postponing contact with children
  • Postponing returning phone calls
  • Generalizing others (Example: When faced with a few children misbehaving in the classroom, thinking “They’re all the same”)
  • Increased use of drugs to control mood/sleep
  • Marital conflict
  • Absenteeism
watch for these signs1

Resistance to going to work every day

Sense of failure

Feelings of resentment

Feelings of discouragement or indifference



Feelings of powerlessness

Rigidity in thinking and resistance to change



Feelings of guilt and blame

Suppressing emotion

Suppressing problems

Refusing to handle stress effectively

Difficulty in saying “no”

Assuming additional responsibility

Sacrificing personal life for work

Watch for these signs:
watch for these signs2
Watch for these signs:


  • Tired during workday
  • General fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Sleep problems
  • Frequents colds and/or flu
  • Frequent headaches
  • Frequent gastro-intestinal problems
  • Frequent aches and pains
  • Long time to rebound in enthusiasm and energy about work
helper traits and burnout
Helper Traits and Burnout
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Lacking intimacy in personal life
  • Isolation
  • Need to rescue others
  • Need for reassurance about self worth
  • Substance abuse
avoiding compassion fatigue burnout
Avoiding Compassion Fatigue & Burnout
  • Increase personal capabilities
  • Enhance support systems
meeting your needs
Meeting your needs
  • After trauma, the school system will attempt to meet students’ basic needs, such as providing physiological support and a sense of safety. The school and you also help to provide a sense of belonginess to students. Remember: you have these needs, as well.
  • Getting your needs met results in you:

a. Feeling self-determined

b. Interpersonally connected

c. Feeling competent

assume personal responsibility
Assume Personal Responsibility

Compassion fatigue can be avoided.

  • Main Optimism
  • Take control over personal well-being. No one will do this for you.
  • Make wise choices through each day.
  • Take personal action. Do not put off taking care of self.
wellness focus
Wellness Focus
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms
  • Correct thoughts and attitudes that are hurting you. (Example: Change “I can’t keep doing this” to “I can do most things over a brief period of time. I really do care about others.”)
  • Talk to responsive and responsible colleagues
  • Be assertive; set limits; learn to say “no”
  • Listen to your body.
  • Reassess your values.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Maintain your sense of humor.
living with our values
Living with our Values
  • “Better to fail at doing the right thing than to succeed at doing the wrong thing”

~ Guy Kawasaki

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

~ Stephen Covey

take a moment now contract with self
Take a Moment Now: Contract With Self
  • What will I do by the end of this week that will help me take better care of myself?




Signature __________________________

intention and persistence
Intention and Persistence
  • Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

~John Wooden

cognitive restructuring
Cognitive Restructuring
  • Experience is not what happens to you - it’s how you interpret what happens to you.

~Aldous Huxley

develop a wellness philosophy
Develop a Wellness Philosophy

I suggest you express these thoughts to yourself

  • I have all the time I need to accomplish my work.
  • I give myself personal time.
  • I provide myself with good nutrition.
  • I exercise myself (body, mind, spirit).
  • I have fun.
  • I spend time with friends and family.
  • I connect with a higher being.
  • My life has purpose.
self reflection
  • The biggest change we can make is to make a change within ourselves.
  • Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

~Winston Churchill

leisure take time for yourself
Leisure: Take Time for Yourself
  • “As I must repeat once again, the first principle of all action is leisure.” (Aristotle, Po., Bk VII,3)
  • Time is “of the essence”
  • Now is the time of your life.
  • You are free to choose your thoughts and free to be. Play during free time.
investing in life
Investing in Life

Click below for a reminder to take time for yourself (from

thank you
Thank you.
  • You have been given a tremendous task. You have children and adolescents in your care who particularly need to feel safe and wanted. They may not know how to express this. Of all the lessons they learn throughout life, the lessons they learn now will be among those not soon forgotten.
  • Thank you so much for being there.
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February 28, 2005 from