, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 207-214
Date: 16 Jun 2007

The Social Psychology of Compassion

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Abstract

This article places social work clinicians’ compassion fatigue, burnout, and other negative consequences in a broader context of positive social work. We argue for a paradigm shift towards identifying the factors that lead clinical social workers toward human flourishing in their field. We introduce a model for creating “compassion satisfaction” or feelings of fulfillment with clients, rooted in positive psychology and expanded to incorporate the social work perspective. The model suggests that affect, work resources, and self-care influence clinicians’ positivity–negativity ratio, which in turn can result in compassion satisfaction. To maximize compassion satisfaction, research, education, and training should consider how classroom instruction and workplace policies can promote the most success among clinical social workers.