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August 22, 2019 - Forbes

Five Ways Fighting Animal Cruelty Taught Me To Combat Empathetic Distress

Five Ways Fighting Animal Cruelty Taught Me To Combat Empathetic Distress

As a leadership coach for people driving humanitarian change throughout the world – and as someone who’s spent decades fighting animal cruelty – I’ve seen countless people walk away from careers they love because they cannot endure another day.

All workers are susceptible to career-related stress and burnout, but fields that involve exposure to high levels of suffering – healthcare, child and animal welfare, social services and many nonprofit sectors – are especially conducive to secondary or acquired trauma, also known as empathetic distress or more commonly thought of as compassion fatigue.

With this in mind, here are five strategies I use myself and with clients to mitigate the harmful effects of acquired trauma.


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