Help for the Helper: The Psychophysiology of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma

Author(s) : Babette Rothschild, Author(s) : Marjorie Rand

Help for the Helper: The Psychophysiology of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma

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Good therapy cannot occur without empathy. Empathy, however, can jeopardize a therapists well-being and eventually compromise the therapeutic process itself. Here Babette Rothschild draws on the powerful mind-body perspective put forward in her highly successful 'The Body Remembers' in order to help therapists help themselves through an understanding of the role the body plays in mental health and overall well-being.

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Therapist burnout is a pressing issue. Self-care and risk-avoidance are possible only when therapists actively help themselves.

Self-care, however, needs to be grounded in neurophysiological theory and must be practiced correctly and consistently in one's mental health work. The difference in the new awareness that Rothschild recommends will be felt not just in the life and well-being of the therapist, but also in the therapy hour as this attentiveness has its affect on the exchange between therapist and client. Help for the Helper offers readers a comprehensive approach to somatic empathy and therapist self-care.

Based on the scientific foundation of the phenomenon of somatic empathy, Rothschild offers clinicians practical skill-building advice to manage burnout and stress inside and outside the consulting room.

Contents in Detail -

* Preface: Using Common Sense
* Introduction: Overview
* Organization
* Disclaimer
* Chapter 1 Psychotherapists at Risk: Therapist Assets and Deficits
* Identifying Terminology
* Countertransference
* Projective Identification
* Empathy
* Chapter 2 Managing the Ties That Bind: Theory-The Neurophysiology of Empathy
* Somatic Empathy
* Mirroring and Mimicry
* Skill Building-Facial and Postural Awareness
* Conscious Postural Mirroring
* Unmirroring
* Chapter 3 Keeping Calm: Theory-The Neurophysiology of Arousal
* Skill Building-Arousal Awareness
* The Therapist's Brakes
* How Close is Too Close?
* Controlling Empathic Imagery
* Chapter 4 Thinking Clearly: Theory-The Neurophysiology of Clear Thinking
* Skill Building-Know Thyself
* Strengthening the Observer
* Controlling Self-Talk
* Nurturing Your Work Space
* Structured Self-Care
* Chapter 5 Concluding Reflections: Revisiting Projective Identification
* To Each Her Own Chair
* Final Words
* Appendices: Assessment
* Pilot Research

About the Author(s)

Babette Rothschild, MSW, LCSW, has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1976. Author of 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery and the best-selling The Body Remembers, and member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, she gives lectures and professional trainings around the world. She is the editor of Norton's 8 Keys to Mental Health Series. She lives in Los Angeles.

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