A Components-Based Practice and Supervision Model for Reducing Compassion Fatigue by Affecting Clinician Experience

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Published approaches to compassion fatigue in psychotherapists typically emphasize clinician self-care strategies. Implicit in the self-care emphasis is the assumption that trauma therapy encounters are inherently fatiguing, and that recovery occurs during the clinician’s off-duty time. In contrast, the components for enhancing clinician engagement and reducing trauma (CE-CERT) model addresses the experience of the clinician concurrent with the treatment encounter. The clinical skill components are synthesized from evidence within the psychological treatment and neurophysiology literature relating to the management of difficult emotional states. The 5 proposed components are synthesized into an integrated model for the purpose of positively affecting the experience of clinicians during trauma treatment. We propose that effective use of these evidence informed strategies will allow the clinician to remain emotionally regulated during treatment and, will, therefore, reduce compassion fatigue. The 5 skill categories comprising the components of the CE-CERT model are experiential engagement, managing rumination, intentional narrative, reducing emotional labor, and parasympathetic recovery strategies. These skills are defined and evidence is provided to support their use within the model. The model has immediate application for clinical training and supervision and can be used as a basis for operational definitions for use in effectiveness trials.

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