Mindfulness Training Could Help Combat ‘Compassion Fatigue’
Equine practitioners are passionate about their work, caring deeply about what they do for horses and horse owners alike. Combining this passion with the challenges of being an equine health provider, however, can come at a cost to the veterinarian. Distress, with its roots in a phenomenon often called compassion fatigue, can wear on individuals—study results have demonstrated that the veterinary profession has one of the highest rates of suicide. One researcher reports that improving resiliency (the ability to adapt and heal from trauma) with a concept called mindfulness training can equip veterinarians to combat distress and burnout, and help them lead healthier lives.
At the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Daniel Siegel, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, addressed an audience of several thousand equine veterinarians about how to improve their resiliency as health providers. In his research focus on interpersonal neurobiology, he integrates all fields of science into one framework when he conducts this mindfulness training, which he described as a nonjudgmental moment-to-moment awareness of self.
Siegel began exploring this avenue of mental health resiliency while in medical school, where he realized that the medical profession rarely took into account the feelings of either the patient or the health care provider. Medicine was approached very clinically without the empathy so necessary for empowerment and
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