Keeping the behavioral health team healthy: compassion fatigue, communication, conflict and coping

Keeping the behavioral health team healthy: compassion fatigue, communication, conflict and coping



One of the occupational hazards of professionals working in the behavioral health field is that caring and compassion can fade with the pressures of daily, relapsing, distressed clients. The treatment team is only effective if each member takes personal responsibility to stay healthy and work together for the well-being of the people we serve.

This workshop is designed to heighten participants’ awareness of the need for self-care and suggest ways to approach difficulties that arise in communication, conflict resolution and personal coping.  Concepts and strategies will be offered to improve the functioning of the whole team, whether clinical, supervisory, fiscal, or administrative.  Participants will have the opportunity to discuss obstacles to and strategies for healthy team functioning.  The workshop will also focus on how to convert frustrations into systems solutions that can empower, encourage hope and improve personal and team functioning.


Participants will

  1. Identify when compassion fatigue and poor team functioning are affecting the quality of care.
  2. Review communication, conflict resolution and coping strategies that promote team cohesiveness and improve self-care.
  3. Apply methods for dealing with personal, interpersonal and system frustrations.


8:30 AM         Registration

9:00 AM         A.  Complex, Challenging Clients and Compassion Fatigue

  • Changing client populations and decreased funding
  • The effects on compassion, caring and competence
  • Occupational hazards of the helping professions

B.  Impact on Communication, Conflict Resolution and Coping

  • Productive and counter-productive communication
  • Violence and harassment in workplace
  • Boundaries and ethical issues

10:30 AM       Break

10:45 AM       C.  Caring for Yourself and Others

  • Self-care – what it is and why it is important
  • Balancing personal needs with those of the team

D.  Finding Systems Solutions to Key Frustrations

  • Types of frustrations
  • Converting self and outer-directed frustrations into systems solutions
  • Translating the Self- or Other-Directed Frustrating Condition

12 Noon          Lunch

1:00 PM          E.  Self Care as a Conscious Choice and Process

  • Development of personal aim and mission
  • Relationship to the agency’s mission and focus
  • Regaining compassion and healthy detachment

2:30 PM          Break

2:45 PM          F.  Communication and Conflict Resolution

  • Addiction affects all involved, including the treatment team
  • Compassionate and non-violent communication techniques

4:00 PM Adjourn