A Shift in Perspective

Why It’s Time to Stop Using Compassion Fatigue

A Shift in Perspective

Why It’s Time to Stop Using Compassion Fatigue

About the Video

Over the past 25 years, the term compassion fatigue has become widely recognized. There are also many other terms being used by researchers, educators, and laypersons to describe the negative and cumulative effects of working in the helping professions: burnout, empathic strain, secondary traumatic stress, and vicarious trauma – just to name a few

This can lead to confusion as there is no consensus about what these concepts mean and what phenomena they are describing.

In this panel discussion, Françoise Mathieu, Diana Tikasz. Dr. Ginny Sprang, and Dr. Brian Bride explore the history of the term compassion fatigue and offer an evidence-informed argument for why the term empathic strain is more accurate.

About the Presenters

Françoise Mathieu
M. Ed, RP

Françoise Mathieu is an educator, speaker, and trauma-trained therapist. She is the author of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook, founding member of the Secondary Traumatic Stress Consortium, and the Executive Director of TEND.

Diana Tikasz

Diana Tikasz has worked in the teaching and health care sector for over 30 years and specializes in trauma-focused work. Diana is a TEND Associate and Organizational Health Specialist for the Roadmap to Organizational Health program.


Ginny Sprang

Dr. Ginny Sprang, is a Professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky and the Executive Director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children.

Brian Bride

Dr. Brian Bride is a Distinguished University Professor and Director of the School of Social Work at Georgia State University. His is the developer of the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale.

Where to go next?

Sympathy, Empathy, or Compassion?

Why It Is Time to Stop Using "Compassion Fatigue"

In this article, Françoise Mathieu shares four tips to manage communication expectations for remote workplaces.

August 2021


Contributing Factors

Identifying Work-Related Stress

This model can help you to identify sources of work-related stress that may lead to burnout, secondary traumatic stress, empathic strain, or moral distress.

February 2023


A person walking through the airport with a suitcase and backpack

Coming Home to Secondary Traumatic Stress

The Impact of Trauma-Exposed Work On Our Loved Ones

In this article, Françoise Mathieu reflects on the impact of secondary traumatic stress on our loved ones and the importance of transitions for those who work in trauma-exposed professions.

March 2022


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