empathy fatigue

English translation: compassion fatigue (switching off and losing ability to empathise)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:empathy fatigue
English translation:compassion fatigue (switching off and losing ability to empathise)
Entered by: Yvonne Gallagher

15:39 Feb 13, 2018
English to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Psychology
English term or phrase: empathy fatigue
Hi,
I was wondering about the meaning of “empathy fatigue” in the passage below.
I’ve also found this definition of “empathy fatigue”:

Emotional detachment brought about by prolonged exposure to emotional situations.

Is “empathy fatigue” to be interpreted as “depletion/exhaustion of empathy”, in the sense that a person temporarily loses his capacity for empathy? Or does “empathy fatigue” mean “personal - physical or emotional - exhaustion because of too much empathy”? Or maybe both?

Thank you very much in advance for your help!

**********************************

When we repeatedly sense others' pain and distress without acting to alleviate it, we can experience ** empathy fatigue ** and burnout. But studies show that taking action to address suffering leads to increased joy.
haribert
Local time: 07:45
compassion fatigue
Explanation:
I think it is more commonly known as compassion fatigue...after seeing so much suffering and hearing so many sad stories all the time (especially if working in the area or helping with refugees etc.) means that you may eventually just switch off and just lose your ability to empathise...appearing to be cold or hard hearted.

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Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:07:44 GMT)
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here's an article about it

https://hbr.org/2016/01/the-limits-of-empathy
Problem #1: It’s exhausting.
Like heavy-duty cognitive tasks, such as keeping multiple pieces of information in mind at once or avoiding distractions in a busy environment, empathy depletes our mental resources. So jobs that require constant empathy can lead to “compassion fatigue,” an acute inability to empathize that’s driven by stress, and burnout, a more gradual and chronic version of this phenomenon....
People who work for charities and other nonprofits (think animal shelters) are similarly at risk. Voluntary turnover is exceedingly high, in part because of the empathically demanding nature of the work; low pay exacerbates the element of self-sacrifice. What’s more, society’s strict views of how nonprofits should operate mean they face a backlash when they act like businesses (for instance, investing in “overhead” to keep the organization running smoothly). They’re expected to thrive through selfless outpourings of compassion from workers...Problem #2: It’s zero-sum.
Empathy doesn’t just drain energy and cognitive resources—it also depletes itself. The more empathy I devote to my spouse, the less I have left for my mother; the more I give to my mother, the less I can give my son. Both our desire to be empathic and the effort it requires are in limited supply, whether we’re dealing with family and friends or customers and colleagues...
Problem #3: It can erode ethics.
Finally, empathy can cause lapses in ethical judgment. We saw some of that in the study about terrorists. In many cases, though, the problem stems not from aggression toward outsiders but, rather, from extreme loyalty toward insiders. In making a focused effort to see and feel things the way people who are close to us do, we may take on their interests as our own. This can make us more willing to overlook transgressions or even behave badly ourselves.
etc...


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Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:08:35 GMT)
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion_fatigue


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:09:39 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/compassion fatigue

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Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:14:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Haribert, yes I came to that conclusion instantly. Now I see Tony sees it the same way.

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Note added at 23 hrs (2018-02-14 14:52:45 GMT)
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your link says "some psychologists are starting to argue that the term should be changed to “empathy fatigue" but really, I believe the two expressions mean the same thing in effect. I for one have not seen "empathy fatigue" (15, 500 Ghits) very often but then "compassion fatigue" has 830,000 Ghits.

This is the definition by the person who coined the term "empathy fatigue". Rather touchy-feely, New Age "shamanic practices, references to native merican practices etc.)!
http://ct.counseling.org/2013/01/qa-empathy-fatigue/

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 23 hrs (2018-02-14 14:53:46 GMT)
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oops (native) American!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 days (2018-02-19 13:41:59 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Glad to have helped
Selected response from:

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 06:45
Grading comment
Thank you so much, Gallagy, for your help!
Many thanks also to all other contributors!
Have a nice week!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +3compassion fatigue
Yvonne Gallagher
3Mental/emotional fatigue caused by intuiting/sensing the emotional states of others
Posted via ProZ.com Mobile
Jessie LN
Summary of reference entries provided
Guilherme Silva

Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Mental/emotional fatigue caused by intuiting/sensing the emotional states of others


Explanation:
I think your second suggestion is more accurate - that one can feel depleted themselves from intuiting/sensing/feeling the emotional states of others.

If we became so fatigued by empathising that we couldn't do it anymore, we'd all be in serious trouble 😀

Jessie LN
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:45
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you Jessie, for your contribution!

Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
compassion fatigue


Explanation:
I think it is more commonly known as compassion fatigue...after seeing so much suffering and hearing so many sad stories all the time (especially if working in the area or helping with refugees etc.) means that you may eventually just switch off and just lose your ability to empathise...appearing to be cold or hard hearted.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:07:44 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

here's an article about it

https://hbr.org/2016/01/the-limits-of-empathy
Problem #1: It’s exhausting.
Like heavy-duty cognitive tasks, such as keeping multiple pieces of information in mind at once or avoiding distractions in a busy environment, empathy depletes our mental resources. So jobs that require constant empathy can lead to “compassion fatigue,” an acute inability to empathize that’s driven by stress, and burnout, a more gradual and chronic version of this phenomenon....
People who work for charities and other nonprofits (think animal shelters) are similarly at risk. Voluntary turnover is exceedingly high, in part because of the empathically demanding nature of the work; low pay exacerbates the element of self-sacrifice. What’s more, society’s strict views of how nonprofits should operate mean they face a backlash when they act like businesses (for instance, investing in “overhead” to keep the organization running smoothly). They’re expected to thrive through selfless outpourings of compassion from workers...Problem #2: It’s zero-sum.
Empathy doesn’t just drain energy and cognitive resources—it also depletes itself. The more empathy I devote to my spouse, the less I have left for my mother; the more I give to my mother, the less I can give my son. Both our desire to be empathic and the effort it requires are in limited supply, whether we’re dealing with family and friends or customers and colleagues...
Problem #3: It can erode ethics.
Finally, empathy can cause lapses in ethical judgment. We saw some of that in the study about terrorists. In many cases, though, the problem stems not from aggression toward outsiders but, rather, from extreme loyalty toward insiders. In making a focused effort to see and feel things the way people who are close to us do, we may take on their interests as our own. This can make us more willing to overlook transgressions or even behave badly ourselves.
etc...


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:08:35 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion_fatigue


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:09:39 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/compassion fatigue

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2018-02-13 19:14:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Haribert, yes I came to that conclusion instantly. Now I see Tony sees it the same way.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 23 hrs (2018-02-14 14:52:45 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

your link says "some psychologists are starting to argue that the term should be changed to “empathy fatigue" but really, I believe the two expressions mean the same thing in effect. I for one have not seen "empathy fatigue" (15, 500 Ghits) very often but then "compassion fatigue" has 830,000 Ghits.

This is the definition by the person who coined the term "empathy fatigue". Rather touchy-feely, New Age "shamanic practices, references to native merican practices etc.)!
http://ct.counseling.org/2013/01/qa-empathy-fatigue/

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 23 hrs (2018-02-14 14:53:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

oops (native) American!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 days (2018-02-19 13:41:59 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Glad to have helped

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 06:45
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 33
Grading comment
Thank you so much, Gallagy, for your help!
Many thanks also to all other contributors!
Have a nice week!
Notes to answerer
Asker: Hi, Gallagy, thanks for your help! I've also thought that as a sort of "numbing" of your empathy towards other people... Have a nice evening

Asker: Thank you Gallagy for your useful links! there seems to be a tendency now to distinguish "empathy fatigue" from "compassion fatigue", but I think the concept of "fatigue" in the two expressions is the same... https://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-neff/caregivers_b_1503545.html


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  magdadh
2 hrs
  -> Many thanks!

agree  Robert Forstag
22 hrs
  -> Many thanks:-)

agree  katsy
1 day 21 hrs
  -> Many thanks:-)
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Reference comments


14 mins peer agreement (net): +1
Reference

Reference information:
http://ct.counseling.org/2013/01/qa-empathy-fatigue/

Guilherme Silva
Brazil
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese
Note to reference poster
Asker: Thank you very much Guilherme! A very interesting article, really! From this article, it actually seems that both aspects are present: Empathy fatigue results from a state of psychological, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and occupational exhaustion AND The cumulative effects of multiple client stories throughout the week may lead to a deterioration of our resiliency, coping and empathic abilities.


Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Daryo
12 mins
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