Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 408–419 | Cite as

Vitality as a Moderator of Clinician History of Trauma and Compassion Fatigue

  • Ashley Martin-CuellarEmail author
  • David T. LardierJr.
  • David J. Atencio
  • Ryan J. Kelly
  • Marcel Montañez
Original Paper


Vitality is an understudied protective mechanism within the psychotherapy literature. This study explored the impact of vitality on the relationship between a counselor’s past traumatic experiences on their compassion fatigue. The sample consisted of 113 licensed counselors from a variety of disciplines (e.g., social workers, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists) and represented an international sample. Findings showed that vitality is significant as a protective mechanism for the development of compassion fatigue for counselors with a history of trauma. The ego depletion hypothesis is provided as a context to describe this relationship and the role vitality plays. Implications for the practicing clinician are provided within this context.


Compassion fatigue Counselor trauma Vitality 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Ethical approval

This study received University of New Mexico IRB approval (reference number 18116) before conducting the research.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was provided to each of the participants before they engaged in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Individual, Family and Community Education, Family and Child Studies ProgramThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Consumer Science, Family and Child StudiesNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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