Managing Compassion Fatigue Workshop

Every International Development worker, volunteer and student will experience predictable patterns of frustration, stress, burnout, direct and vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue leading to illness, rapid job turnover, negative effects on careers and personal life, and too often, leaving the profession. This workshop explored the often ignored and always present occupational hazard of Compassion Fatigue (CF), explaining the early signs and symptoms of CF, and accompanying trauma, depression, and burnout factors. Participants learned how to identify risk, increase resilience, initiate self-care plans in the workplace and beyond, find available therapeutic resources, develop appropriate agency care policies, and increase organizational loyalty, and career longevity.

The workshop was geared towards international development staff, volunteers, Board Directors, and students.


  • Learned to identify signs of compassion fatigue, burnout, vicarious trauma, and career risk
  • Reviewed personal and social techniques and strategies to increase resilience
  • Learned the essential elements of personal self-care plans and create a personal plan
  • Learned to identify and recognize agency policies and support for career longevity
  • Identified local, national and world resources to reduce compassion fatigue and increase resilience

When: Thursday, May 26, 2016
Where: Alterna Savings Room, 4th Floor, Centre for Social Innovation – Spadina, 215 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON.

Facilitation: This workshop was facilitated by William Sparks, MSW, RSW, CATSM. Bill Sparks, is a Compassion Fatigue Specialist trained in CF Education & ARP Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He is a veteran civil society organization leader, skilled in capacity building, retired Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Ontario, current Sessional Instructor of the Humber College Post Graduate Certificate Program, International Project Management Program, and past Program Coordinator for the Management Advisory Service (MAS). Bill, currently sits on the Board of Directors for Defence for Children International Canada (DCI), and Canadian Feed the Children. He is a past President of the Board for the Ontario Council for International Cooperation, and past Board Treasurer of CUSO.

Bill has led workshops on Compassion Fatigue Education and Intervention, and safeTALK Suicide Alertness to various agencies. A frequent contributor, trainer and panelist to many conferences and training workshops, Bill’s areas of expertise includes teaching, training, counsellor supervision, agency and staff Compassion Fatigue education, resilience and recovery, voluntary sector board governance, policy development, strategic and annual planning, participatory program development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, public engagement and sustainable funding. He is an exciting and thought provoking leader, known to many in the OCIC family.

To learn more about Bill and hear some of his presentations, check out:

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