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Workshops & Courses


The Heart of Helping: Understanding Vicarious Trauma & Compassion Fatigue

February 27 - March 26, 2017  | Online

About the Presenter

Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW is a registered social worker and a life and wellness coach specializing in serving the well-being and growth needs of people who make a difference. She has over 20 years of social work experience including 10 years combined work within child welfare, children's mental health, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and medical social work. For the past 12 years, through Creative Wellness, she has been offering training, consulting, speaking, and coaching in the areas of employee and workplace wellness in the health, human, social and emergency services sectors. She specializes in self-care, stress management, and burnout prevention and regularly speaks and teaches about the healing power of expressive writing and therapeutic journaling as key tools for reflective practice and personal/professional well-being.

Lynda is the author of Life Source WritingTM: A Reflective Journaling Practice for Self-Discovery, Self-Care, Wellness and Creativity, as well as the producer of the Creative Wellness Guided Meditation CD.

Workshop Summary

Vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue are common occupational hazards for social workers, counsellors, healthcare professionals, educators, and others in high-care fields.  This 4-week online course is designed to teach those in the helping, human service and healthcare professions about these work-related risks that can result from the very nature of the work itself.  You will gain a deeper understanding of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue, what they are, how they manifest and how to prevent and/or intervene with the negative effects that can flow from the heart of helping.  Discover how to balance caring for yourself while caring for others, in order to stay healthy while you make a difference. 

You will have the opportunity to learn, reflect and connect with others in a caring, dynamic and respectful online learning environment.  This course uses transformative learning principles and combines video teaching, engaging reading assignments, and reflective learning activities such as journaling exercises, guided meditation, coaching tools and assessments to support participants to deepen their learning, enhance resiliency and forward their action specific to replenishing from within and reducing the risk of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue in order to thrive personally and professionally.

Course Overview

Week 1:  The Occupational Hazards within Helping Professions

  • Getting started, introductions and course learning objectives
  • The power of intention setting
  • Definitions, descriptions and distinctions of the relevant occupational hazards: job stress, burnout, primary trauma, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
  • Motivation for entering the field/anticipated results and impact

Week 2: Risk Factors, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma (VT) and Compassion Fatigue (CF)

  • Nature of the work and risk for vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
  • Risk and resiliency factors for VT and CF
  • Signs and symptoms of VT and CF
  • Self-assessment
  • Relax and renew:  techniques for grounding and replenishing

Week 3:  Self-Care and Wellness for Helping Professionals | Walk the Talk Inspiration

  • What is self-care, really?
  • Assess your current self-care in for key dimensions of wellness – emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual with a Whole Person Self-Care Assessment
  • Addressing and transforming vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
  • Walk the Talk inspiration

Week 4:  Wellness and Resiliency in Caregiving Organizations | Self-Care to WE Care | Gifts, Joys and Hope in Practice

VT and CF are not just concerns for individuals.  The impact of these costs of caring are also high in organizations in terms of lost productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover and conflict in the workplace.  Workplace wellness strategies can help to mitigate these risks and they are proven to offer both employees and employers greater productivity, enhanced engagement, less stress, increased quality of work, as well as contributing to a positive overall workplace culture where helping professionals can DO and BE their best.

  • Explore the key factors for wellness in caregiving organizations
  • Shifting from self-care to WE care
  • Taking stock and taking action
  • Time for you – comfort and renewal
  • Gifts, joys and hope in practice – connect with a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in within helping work

“Today, I focus on a simple truth:  To be kind to another, I need to be kind to myself.”  -- Gail Straub

Technical requirements: A computer with a high speed internet connection and an up-to-date browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) is required. The course site is both Mac and Windows-compatible. 

This course requires approximately 3 hours of online study time per week for a total of 12 Continuing Education Credit hours.

Regular registration (paid after January 16, 2017) $290
Registration deadline: February 3, 2017  
Registration Policies