How to Overcome Burnout and Compassion Fatigue


For those in helping professions or providing care for a family member or friend, being a caregiver is a hazardous occupation that some 43.5 million Americans take on. Sadly, caregivers are at risk for more serious health problems than people who don’t have such responsibilities. They are also at risk for burnout and compassion fatigue, notes Sheila Collins, Ph.D., and Christine Gautreaux, MSW, coauthors of Stillpoint: A Self-Care Playbook for Caregivers to Find Ease and Time to Breathe, and Reclaim Joy (Earth Springs Press).

An updated edition of a previously published book, Stillpoint offers stories, whimsical songs, poems, quizzes, meditations and affirmations to aid professional and family caregivers alike in unlearning self-defeating habits and changing mindsets. A stillpoint refers to a person’s creative somatic center, the body as perceived from the inside.

Says Collins, “Self-care continues to be all but neglected in the professional programs that train people in helping careers and is an essential skill for caregivers to master for their own health.”

Collins and Gautreaux can answer such questions as:

  • What makes self-care so hard for caregivers?
  • Why is caregiving so dangerous?
  • What are some rituals that caregivers will find helpful?
  • What is healthy anger and how is it expressed?
  • What are some interesting trends in caregiving?

Praise for Stillpoint

“My radio audience filled with caregivers from all walks of life will treasure each page.” – Joel Markel, host of Preferred Company, president and founder of Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services

“If you are weary from caring for others and humbled by what it takes, open this book. Sheila K. Collins and her co-author Christine Gautreaux both walk this walk.”— Cynthia Winton-Henry, InterPlay co-founder, and author of Move: What the Body Wants and Dance: the Sacred Art

“In this comprehensive guide, the Stillpoint authors creatively address a neglected component of professional social work education – self-care! … Stillpoint could be a helpful textbook for social workers serving others in what turns out to be a hazardous occupation.” – Lynn Coghill, LCSW, retired director of University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work MSW Program

About the Authors

Sheila K. Collins, Ph.D., is a writer, keynote speaker, organizational consultant, and career social worker who brings the perspective of a dancer and theater artist to her work. In addition to Stillpoint, Collins is the award-winning author of Warrior Mother: Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss, and the Rituals that Heal, which describes her experience of providing caregiving to her two adult children and her best friend. Her TEDx talk, When Death Threatens highlights the joys and sorrows of the caregiver role. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Wayne State University School of Social Work and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She directs the improvisational InterPlay troupe Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players.

Christine Gautreaux, MSW, is the helper’s helper. Through individual coaching, collaborative workshops, and women’s retreats she helps women maintain self-care, manifest their dreams, and learn artful ways to make a difference in the world. Her social justice work includes teaching InterPlay tools to incarcerated women and people living with mental illness and homelessness. She received her master’s in social work from the University of HoustonTexas, with a specialty in clinical services. She performs as a founding member of the InterPlay-based performance company SoulPrint Players in Atlanta.

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