The Effectiveness of Group Counselling on Compassion Fatigue - The Case of Taiwan’s Animal Protectors
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


Full Text

Other information
AbstractAnimal welfare workers are prone to compassion fatigue caused by prolonged and intense emotional involvement in helping animals. The staff of animal shelters are subjected to a higher level of compassion fatigue when compared with veterinarians. However, government officials of animal protection in Taiwan are likely to suffer from even more severe compassion fatigue as they are responsible for multiple tasks of medical care, refuge and investigations of cruelty cases of animals.
Previous studies of the causes of and cures for compassion fatigue chiefly focused on healthcare professionals and social workers. There is a lack of such analysis of animal protectors. Even though there were empirical investigations, discussion never came close to how counselling may help alleviate compassion fatigue.
This study introduces four types of counselling and psychotherapy, namely: 1. direct instruction; 2. Gestalt psychology; 3. interpersonal process in psychotherapy; and 4. psychoanalysis. Through mixed-methods research, it examines the impacts of different counselling approaches on compassion fatigue.
A total of 75 animal welfare workers were publicly recruited to participate in the two-day counselling workshops. They were uninformed about the four different approaches during recruitment and were randomly divided into four experimental groups and one control group. Each experimental group was introduced to a different type of counselling approach. Surveys were conducted right before and after the two-day workshops for hypothesis testing by regression analysis. At the same time, journals of the counselling process were analysed to understand the actual impacts of the four counselling approaches.
The Compassion Fatigue Short Scale (CFS) developed by Adams et al (2008) was translated and used. The questionnaire was slightly modified according to animals as the objects of compassion. In the questionnaire, compassion fatigue was divided into occupational burnout and secondary traumatic stress which were used as sub-dimensions of measurement. There were 13 questions, 8 on occupational burnout and 5 secondary traumatic stress. To examine the differences of the four counselling workshops, analysis of variance was employed and no significant differences of compassion fatigue were found between the four experimental groups and the control group. Hierarchical regression was then employed to examine the impacts on compassion fatigue after the counselling workshops.
The research findings show: 1. the counselling workshop effectively mitigated the compassion fatigue of the participants; 2. the impacts of Gestalt psychology workshop and Psychoanalysis workshop were more significant than that of the other two workshops using different approaches; 3. the ways of conducting these counselling workshops had different impacts on the participants. Based on the findings, we would like to make recommendations for the government to provide related training courses in the future to effectively alleviate the compassion fatigue of animal welfare workers.
Due to time and resources constrains, there were no follow-up observations of the development and changes of the counselling impacts on compassion fatigue. Further studies may be carried out on the long term impacts of different counselling approaches.
All Author(s) ListWU Chuang-Hsien, CHAN Yin Ha
Name of ConferenceUFAW Conference 2018
Start Date of Conference25/10/2018
End Date of Conference26/10/2018
Place of ConferenceCity University of Hong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Year2018
Month10
LanguagesEnglish-United States
Keywordsanimal protection, compassion fatigue, group counselling training

Last updated on 2018-06-12 at 10:58