An Expert Panel Discussion of Terminology and Its Impact on Research and Best Practice Recommendations

There are many terms being used in the literature, online, media and by trainers in our field to describe the potentially negative and cumulative effects of working in the helping professions: burnout, compassion fatigue, empathic strain, secondary traumatic stress, and vicarious trauma, to name a few.

This can lead to confusion as there is currently no consensus about what these concepts mean and what phenomena they are describing

.In addition, these terms are not always used consistently, and we often see them applied interchangeably. These can lead to problems when conducting a literature search, when attempting to measure and compare incidence rates, and when seeking evidence-based best practice recommendations.

In this panel discussion, Françoise Mathieu is joined by three experts in the field of provider impairment to bring clarity to the current state of terminology and discuss why the term “Compassion Fatigue” should be replaced by “Empathic Strain”

This panel discussion is also available to listen on the TEND podcast.

To access the panel discussion, please sign up for our mailing list below.



Françoise Mathieu, M. Ed, RP, is the Executive Director of TEND. She provides expert consultation and training to leaders from a range of sectors including military, police, healthcare, university, child advocacy centers and many other high stress, trauma-exposed work environments. She is the author of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook which was published by Routledge in 2012 as well as several articles and publications.

Diana Tikasz, MSW, RSW has worked in the teaching and health care sector for the past 29 years. She sits on numerous community and provincial committees focused on violence against women and children. She has spearheaded numerous educational initiatives such as a rape drug campaign, a dating violence awareness video/manual, unfounded sexual assault case reviews and frequently consults in hospital based domestic violence research studies.

Dr. Brian Bride, MPH, MSW, is a Distinguished University Professor and Director of the School of Social Work at Georgia State University. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of behavioral health care, primary and secondary traumatic stress, health services research, HIV/AIDS, and workforce well-being. Dr. Bride is the developer of the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale and has received a number of honors as a result of his research on secondary traumatic stress.

Dr. Ginny Sprang, is a Professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky and the Executive Director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children. She has published extensively in the area of child traumatic stress, commercial sexual exploitation of minors, victimization, and secondary traumatic stress.