For many of us, this is a particularly difficult time to be a United Methodist clergy person. Even in the best of times, the work of ministry is inherently challenging and demanding. On top of that, we find ourselves in the midst of fracture, pain, harm, and uncertainty within our denomination and more broadly in our society. It is not uncommon for clergy persons to go through periods of exhaustion or burnout, and when we do, one of the most troubling symptoms can be compassion fatigue—a gradual loss of the ability to be empathic and compassionate with those we serve.
In this workshop, Katie will share what she has learned, as a mental health counselor and as someone who has experienced periods of compassion fatigue herself, how to build self-compassion alongside compassion for others so that we can tend to our own needs while also tending to the needs of those we serve. The work of caring for God’s people often stretches us beyond our comfort zones and invites us to cultivate an identity-based in serving others. Sometimes, this work feels deeply rewarding, and sometimes, it can begin to feel like too much. We may become overwhelmed by the suffering of those in our charge and unsure about what constitutes realistic expectations. We may find it difficult to prioritize our own needs in the face of the immensity of the need around us. Sometimes these challenges lead to compassion fatigue, which is a common experience for folks in caring professions.
In this shame-free workshop, we will explore how to prevent compassion fatigue, how to notice the signs of its approach, and what to do when we find ourselves in the midst of it.
Rev. Katie Stickney is the Deacon at Redmond United Methodist Church and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in trauma and abuse. In addition to her private practice, she has been a teacher, chaplain, and domestic violence advocate. Katie is passionate about self-care, tea, and being near (or in) water as often as possible. Contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-407-9675.
This is part of an ongoing series of web-based ZOOM workshops on clergy wellness, hosted by the Formation Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry. A minimum of 10 participants are required to register for this event to take place; a maximum of 25 participants may register. Registration will close on Friday, July 12.