Full Course Description

Certification Training for Compassion Fatigue Professionals (CCFP)

Program Information

Target Audience

Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Therapists, Addiction Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Case Managers, Nurses, Other Mental Health Professionals


  1. Describe the principles of compassion fatigue and resiliency practices to other professionals and your clients to accelerate treatment
  2. Develop a comprehensive knowledge of compassion fatigue by discovering the causes, symptoms/effects, treatments and resiliency strategies for potentially debilitating condition
  3. Explain the neuro-physiology of compassion fatigue and the role that the autonomic nervous system plays in creating, exacerbating and maintaining the negative effects from our work
  4. Implement skills to self-regulate your autonomic nervous system and immediately eradicate the effects of stress
  5. Develop a mastery of the concepts, principles and practices of prevention and resiliency with compassion fatigue and woe-related stress sufficient to train other professionals
  6. List the five (5) evidence-based resiliency skills proven to lessen compassion fatigue symptoms and prevent future symptoms


The course is presented stepwise through the 16-certification criteria using didactic and experiential methods.

Criterion 1

  • Understanding of the historical developments in the field of caregiving that gave rise to the concept of compassion fatigue (e.g., diagnosis of PTSD being included in DSM-III, Yael Danielli, vicarious trauma, burnout research, Beth Stamm, Charles Figley, etc)
    1. Review of the history and seminal contributors to the development of compassion fatigue

Criterion 2

  • Ability to articulate the etiology of compassion fatigue through its two primary components: secondary traumatic stress and burnout
    1. Discussion of secondary traumatic stress and work-related stress developed through patient/client interactions
    2. Discussion of burnout and work-related stress developed through professional’s interaction in the high-demand health care environment

Criterion 3

  • Clear understanding of the potential symptoms and effects associated with compassion fatigue
    1. Review of the spectrum of symptoms/negative effects associated with compassion fatigue

Criterion 4

  • Skilled administration and interpretation of compassion fatigue assessment instruments for self and others with primary focus upon the Pro-QOL (Stamm, 2005)
    1. Experiential processing through the administration, scoring and interpretation of the Pro-QOL 5

Criterion 5

  • Awareness of and ability to narrate one’s own personal/professional history that has lead to negative effects associated with professional and/or volunteer caregiving
    1. Discussion of the use of personal compassion fatigue narrative as a process of resolving symptoms for self and others
    2. Exercise: Writing personal compassion fatigue narrative

Criterion 6

  • Understand the role that perceived threat and sympathetic nervous system dominance play in the generation of compassion fatigue symptoms and, conversely, the role of self-regulation in the amelioration of current effects and prevention of future effects
    1. Watch DVD "Tools for Hope"

Criterion 7

  • Identify the process (i.e., “infection”) of secondary traumatic stress-how does a professional become gradually symptomatic when working with traumatized and suffering others?
    1. Didactic presentation on the process by which witnessed trauma produces stress symptoms in the observer

Criterion 8

  • Be aware of how to use (a) Connection/Support; (b) Relaxation, and (c) narrative to resolve current symptoms and to prevent future effects associated with secondary traumatic stress
    1. Active ingredients for resolving traumatic stress
    2. Application if these ingredients to secondary traumatic stress

Criterion 9

  • Knowing methods to resolve current and prevent future effects of burnout in professional caregiving contexts
    1. Discussion of how the perceptual reality (instead of the empirical reality) is the cause of burnout symptoms
    2. How to mature perception to lessen negative effects and to heighten resiliency

Criterion 10

  • Skilled application of CBT tools (e.g., relaxation, exposure and perceptual change) to lessen the effects of compassion fatigue in one’s own life
    1. Discussion of utilization of CBT tools to lessen effects of compassion fatigue
    2. Experiential: Learning of specific applications

Criterion 11

  • Appreciate the role of intentionality and principle-based caregiving (i.e., internal locus of control) as a method for symptom amelioration and resiliency
    1. Didactic presentation on understanding how increased compassion fatigue symptoms produce increased reactivity in care professionals
    2. Discussion of shifting from reactivity to intentionality as key skill for resiliency
    3. Experiential: Development of Personal Mission Statement

Criterion 12

  • Ability to understand and articulate the effects of compassion fatigue as being failed or thwarted professional maturation
    1. “Making sense of symptoms” and appreciating this process of maturation and resiliency as primary treatment for compassion fatigue

Criterion 13

  • Ability to understand and articulate the specific processes, trajectory and tasks associated with professional maturation and how developing these skills enhance resiliency
    1. Discussion of the difference in practices and perceptions of an “adolescent” care professional vs. a “mature” care professional

Criterion 14

  • Comprehend and articulate a model of professional resiliency that allows the care provider to be healthy and maximally functional independent of environmental “demands” (internal vs. external control)
    1. Discussion of this important concept of moving control from external (victim) to internal (resiliency) as primary mechanism for professional maturation

Criterion 15

  • Recognize five (5) key resiliency skills for the prevention of compassion fatigue and how to implement these skills towards the prevention of negative work-related effects
    1. Self-regulation
    2. Intentionality
    3. Perceptual Maturation
    4. Connection/Support
    5. Self-Care/Revitalization

Criterion 16

  • Demonstrate to ability to design a self-directed professional resiliency plan
    1. Experiential: Complete self-directed resiliency plan coordinated with the five resiliency skills

Copyright : 07/26/2016

Bonus: Trauma Defined: Bessel van der Kolk on The Body Keeps the Score

Researchers are increasingly finding that the body is the key to trauma treatment. Trauma is about the body becoming immobilized, feeling helpless or numb. Often traumatized people either don’t feel their body at all, or they feel it all the time.

In this compelling one-hour discussion, world’s leading trauma researcher and author of the The Body Keeps the Score, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk discusses his research and the influences on his life work with trauma. During the hour, he succinctly and descriptively draws the picture of trauma, the brain, and how various treatments work (and don’t) on the trauma client.

This hour will leave you, and those with whom you share this information, with the best understanding on the nature of trauma, its impact on the brain, how our brains work and most of all, the important new treatments that promise hope to those suffering from PTSD and trauma.

Bessel has spent 40 years working with and learning from traumatized clients. In this video, he shares insight into a bold new paradigm for healing from trauma. You won’t want to miss this personal account of Dr. van der Kolk’s work.

Program Information


  1. Evaluate how trauma influences the activity of the key areas of the brain and how that dictates behavior patterns in clients.
  2. Articulate the clinical research surrounding the effectiveness of yoga, mindfulness meditation, and theater in healing trauma in clients.


The Latest Clinical Research Surrounding:

  • The impact of trauma on brain activity
  • Neurofeedback, EMDR and “body work” on symptom reduction
  • The effectiveness of movement, mindfulness and theater activities in trauma treatment

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers and other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 09/02/2014

Bonus: Overcoming Trauma-Related Shame and Self-Loathing with Janina Fisher, Ph.D.

Shame has an insidious impact on our traumatized clients’ ability to find relief and perspective even with good treatment. Feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy interfere with taking in positive experiences, leaving only hopelessness. This 60-minute recording was webcast live from the office of Dr. Janina Fisher and introduces shame from a neurobiological perspective—as a survival strategy driving somatic responses of automatic obedience and total submission.

Learn to help clients relate to their symptoms with curiosity rather than automatic acceptance, discriminate the cognitive, emotional, and physiological components of shame, and to integrate somatic as well as traditional psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral techniques to transform shame-related stuckness.

Program Information


  1. Discriminate the clinical implications of physiological and cognitive contributors to shame.
  2. Determine cognitive-behavioral, ego state, and psychoeducational interventions to address shame in clients.


The Neurobiology of Shame

  • The role of shame in traumatic experience
  • Shame as an animal defense survival response
  • Effects of shame on autonomic arousal
Shame’s Evolutionary Purpose
  • Shame and the attachment system
  • Rupture and repair in attachment formation
Making Meaning of Shame
  • Feelings of disgust, degradation, and humiliation are interpreted as “who I am”
  • Cognition and the body
  • Internal working models predict the future and determine our actions
Working from the “Bottom Up”
  • The role of procedural learning and memory
  • Physiological effects of mindful dual awareness
  • Using mindfulness-based techniques to inhibit self-judgment
A New Relationship to the Shame: Acceptance and Compassion
  • Re-contextualizing shame as a younger self or part
  • Bringing our adult capacity to our childhood vulnerability
  • Healing shame through compassionate acceptance
The Social Engagement System and the Healing of Shame
  • Social engagement and the ventral vagal system (Porges)
  • The incompatibility of shame and social engagement
  • The therapist’s own social engagement system as a healing agent

Target Audience

Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Case Managers, Addiction Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, and other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 12/09/2013